Editor’s note: Sign up for CNN’s Eat, But Better: Mediterranean Style. OOur eight-part guide shows you a delicious, expert-backed food lifestyle that will improve your health for life..
Once the last plate has been cleared from the table and everyone – except for the person stuck washing the dishes – has migrated to the couch, it’s time to start the next part of the Thanksgiving tradition. .
Yes, it’s time to split up and work on the leftovers.
These recommendations are not intended to reinvent the wheel. We’ve got you covered with a few options that will give you something to look forward to on your post-holiday meal plan. These are foods we already love, with Thanksgiving dishes baked into familiar recipes.
Sorry, same old day after sandwiches and turkey tetrazzini. We are going in a different direction this time.
Many of us turn to ground turkey as a healthier option in a variety of recipes. But it’s just as easy to chop up leftover Thanksgiving turkey and slip it into comfort food. Start by adding it to your favorite enchilada (or taco or burrito) recipe.
Try these turkey and black bean enchiladas and feel free to substitute a quality canned or jarred enchilada sauce if you don’t have it on hand after the big day to make your own from scratch .
Still have turkey to ship after making a skillet of enchiladas? Freeze extra servings of leftover meat and use it in any recipe where you typically turn to roast chicken.
Along the same lines as a burrito bowl, grain bowls are a versatile blank slate for using up leftover turkey and vegetables. Specifically, we recommend Brussels sprouts and roasted sweet potatoes here.
While any grain will work as the base for a bowl of cereal, farro, quinoa, and brown rice are some of the most popular. Top a generous spoonful of cereal, hot or at room temperature, with the leftover vegetables. Add other greens like kale and a protein like chickpeas.
For dressing ideas, raid the fridge or make something new — try a lemony Dijon for extra brightness or a maple tahini version that’s nutty and sweet.
Will it waffle? Yes it will! Leftover stuffing mixed with eggs and a splash of broth or gravy is all you need to turn Thanksgiving stuffing into a tasty breakfast the next day.
Whether you like white bread or cornbread stuffing, the process for making stuffed waffles remains the same. Serve the egg-topped waffles any way you like them — poached, scrambled, or fried — and toss them over a sausage patty or a few strips of bacon if you want to do it all.
If you’d rather bake instead of breaking out the waffle maker, grab a standard muffin tin and make some stuffing – that’s the cute term for muffin stuffing. Eggs, turkey or ham, and frozen spinach or other chopped vegetables mixed with leftover stuffing make this a breakfast option or a midday snack.
Stuffings and stuffed waffles can be frozen to reheat later – up to three months later, when you might be thrilled to eat Thanksgiving foods again.
Even the most ardent fan of mashed potatoes has to admit that after a few days the idea of eating a pile of reheated potatoes loses its charm. Step into the donut to sizzle things up again.
Corn and Cheddar Mashed Potato Fritters are a two-in-one way to use up leftover corn from the feast. If you also want to finely chop any extra roasted cauliflower and add it to the mix, that works too.
Or go for the indulgence and make poutine-style potato fritters by topping them with hot gravy and small cubes of white cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese.
Here’s a tip: buy an extra frozen deep pie crust, then bring it out over the weekend to make a quick quiche with the rest of your green bean casserole.
Follow the basic quiche ratio of 4 large eggs, 1 cup dairy (whole milk, half and half, or cream), 1 cup shredded cheese, and 2 cups vegetables or other mix-ins to fill your pie crust.
Pre-bake pie crust according to package directions, then fill and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes, until quiche is no longer moving in center. Let stand at least 15 minutes before slicing.
This one’s for people looking for a twist on the post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich piled high with all the leftovers — turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce — on a leftover Parker bun. House or soft bread.
If that kind of post-holiday meal sounds good to you, make this leftover Thanksgiving pizza and enjoy the classic flavors on a slice instead of between bread.
Chilled pizza dough can replace the homemade pizza crust here, and if you want to try something even heartier, turn your pizza into a calzone with a few dollops of ricotta. Serve with sauce on the side for dipping.
Why does there always seem to be more cranberry sauce after the meal than there was at the start? Use it in these two quick cocktails inspired by Cosmopolitan and Manhattan.
For two cocktails: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, then add 2 ounces of vodka or gin, 1 ounce of Cointreau or other orange liqueur, and a dollop of cranberry sauce. Close and shake, then strain into two chilled martini glasses or coupes.
Or substitute bourbon or rye for vodka and maple syrup for Cointreau and make it extra-seasonal.