For many, the holiday season officially starts the day after Thanksgiving. There are lights to be hung, sales to shop, and gifts to wrap. All that remains of the Thanksgiving holiday is an endless amount of leftover food that will probably go bad before you can finish it.
But those leftovers don’t have to go to waste this year. They can actually be an important time-saver as things get busy. There’s no need to go to the grocery store or spend a lot of extra time cooking up meals the week after Thanksgiving. Let the leftovers do the work for you! Check out the ideas below to see how easy it is to transform traditional Thanksgiving food into a brand new dish or meal that the whole family will love!
Make soup! Simply dice up some extra turkey breast and let it simmer in some low-sodium broth along with leftover veggies (carrots, broccoli, green beans, potatoes – whatever!). Add in some herbs and whole-wheat noodles too! You can also use brown rice or whole grain barley in place of the noodles. Cover your soup and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes on the stove and you’ll have lunch or dinner for the whole family with very little effort!
Make turkey tacos! Shred and heat leftover turkey meat on the stove with a little bit of taco sauce. Serve it on a whole wheat tortilla with lots of lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. You can also add a small dollop of plain Greek yogurt, a healthy substitute for sour cream.
Make Thanksgiving sliders! Cut extra dinner rolls in half length-wise. Heat up some turkey meat and serve it on the roll to make a slider. You can also add some shredded cabbage or leftover greens and tomato slices. Instead of mayo, use a bit of barbecue sauce or even some leftover cranberry sauce to add extra flavor!
Leftover salad? Add some turkey, walnuts, and sliced apples to it and you’ll have a complete meal to pack for lunch when you’re on the go. On Thanksgiving Day, serve salads with dressing on the side. That way, your family members have more control over how much they serve themselves and you can save extra greens to eat the next day.
If you’ve got extra stuffing, use it to make stuffed mushrooms or stuffed portabellas. Just be careful of the carbohydrate content… you might want to add some additional lightly sautéed non-starchy veggies to your stuffing like onions, mushrooms, or spinach.
Extra potatoes? Serve leftover mashed potatoes with a totally different entrée. Perhaps you keep some frozen fish filets or frozen chicken on hand in your kitchen. Cook them up and serve the potatoes as a side. Add some leftover non-starchy vegetables or salad too and you’ve got yourself a great meal!
Other ideas for sweet potatoes… You can use mashed sweet potatoes as a spread on toasted whole-wheat English muffins or on a turkey sandwich. If your leftover sweet potatoes aren’t in mashed form, but are diced and roasted, use them to make a sweet potato hash. Lightly sauté some onions and peppers and then add your diced sweet potatoes to heat them up. Season everything with some cumin and chili powder. You can also add some left over turkey to your hash instead of sausage or ham.
There are plenty of creative ways to enjoy traditional Thanksgiving foods after the holiday. Use your leftovers to your advantage - it will save you time and money!
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