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Get the Most of Thanksgiving with Leftover Turkey Recipes

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday of the year. I mean, as a food person, how can I not love Thanksgiving, as the holiday’s primary focus is a huge meal chock full of tasty dishes.

When I say a huge meal, I mean huge. Even if the dinner itself turns out to be small, my family gobbles up all of those pre-Thanksgiving grocery store sales and cooks up mountains of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. However, cooking up so much food for Thanksgiving inevitably leaves us with lots of leftovers.

While reheated turkey leftovers are great, sometimes you need to be a little creative in order to use up all of those turkey leftovers. Here are my top 6 ideas for cooking with leftovers.

Soup

This is definitely a classic in my house, as nothing beats a good bowl of soup on a cold day. Simply dice up some leftover roast turkey and add it in instead of chicken in your favorite soups. Here are two great leftover turkey recipes for soup:

Broth

Did you know that you can use even the roast turkey bones? Bones are the base for delicious homemade broth or stock. Simply toss your bones into a big stock pot with some onions, carrots and celery (known to chefs as mirepoix). Cover everything with water, and let simmer all day. Strain out the water, and now you have homemade turkey stock. Homemade stock is one of the most versatile turkey leftover recipes, as you can use it to make flavorful soups, sauces, and even for making rice.

Sandwiches

This one is a universal classic, especially of my childhood. The week after Thanksgiving would be nothing without the standby leftover turkey sandwich. I like to toast up some multigrain bread, then layer on the leftover turkey. Top with some romaine lettuce, leftover cranberry sauce and mustard to make things delicious. For something a bit more creative, try out these sandwich ideas:

Breakfast

Yes, you can even reuse your leftovers in the morning. When you make eggs or an omelet in the morning, simply toss in some chopped turkey or some roasted vegetables left over from the meal. The add-ins are already flavored, plus they don’t need to be cooked for very long. Easy and tasty is always a winning combination in my book. For the mornings after Thanksgiving, try making:

Dessert

My family is big on fruit salads for Thanksgiving, and I like to use leftover fruit salad in Jell-O like this Fresh Fruit Gel recipe. Of course, leftover fruit salad is also great paired with yogurt or frozen yogurt.

Casserole

Adding in leftover turkey meat or leftover vegetables to your favorite casserole dish is a great way to really stretch your post-Thanksgiving dollars. Here are some healthy casserole recipes for using leftovers:

Your turn: What are your favorite ways of using up Thanksgiving leftovers?

Matthew Kaplan is the Editor for FaveDiets.com, a free online resource featuring hundreds of free healthy recipes, healthy cooking tips and loads more. Be sure to check out FaveDiets on Facebook and on Twitter.

November 19th, 2011

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