3 Ways to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers
After Thanksgiving dinner ends, it’s common to have a lot of food left over. After all, you’re usually making enough food to feed a large family — complete with a full turkey, a large bowl of mashed potatoes, and enough sides to keep everyone from going hungry for a week. Now, you could just reheat plates of these foods in the microwave over the next few days, but with a little creativity, you could make them more exciting. You could take these cold leftovers and turn them into three delicious dishes that may even top Thanksgiving dinner!
Creamy Cranberry Gnocchi
We’ve written on gnocchi a few times, and for a good reason — they’re incredibly tasty. It’s also a creative way to reuse mashed potatoes, one of the most central ingredients to a classic Thanksgiving dinner. We’ve actually already looked at how you can take mashed potatoes and turn them into gnocchi, but now, we’ll add a few other flavors. With Thanksgiving, you have two options. First, you can go the savory route by cutting up some turkey and then reheating it in some left-over gravy and mixing in the gnocchi. Pretty straightforward, right? The second (the one we’ll focus on) utilizes your cranberry sauce for a creamy, tart sauce that really transforms the ingredients into something new!
When making the gnocchi dough, it’s important to add the flour little by little until it gets the proper feel. Since it’s impossible to know exactly how much flour you’ll need, it can vary greatly. Your flour usage will differ depending on how much mashed potatoes you have left over, how much cream or butter you used in making the mashed potatoes, or even the size of the egg. Just make sure you slowly mix in flour and use your sense and judgement. The same goes for the cranberry sauce. Depending on the type of cranberry sauce you have, you may use very little milk or mozzarella to achieve your desired taste. Just keep tasting your sauce until it gets to a place you’re happy with. Finally, you have two choices with the final steps of this dish. You can bake it to help everything combine a little more and thicken or serve it fresh. If you choose to serve it fresh, simply skip steps 1, 12, and 13. Instead, serve the gnocchi and pour a little sauce over top the dumplings in the bowl.
Creamy Cranberry Gnocchi Recipe
- Leftover Mashed Potatoes (roughly 2 cups)
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 large egg
Creamy Cranberry Sauce Ingredients
- ½ cup of leftover cranberry sauce
- 1 cup of finely shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup of ricotta cheese
- ½ cup of milk
- 2 tbsp of flour
- 2 tbsp of butter
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- In a large bowl, mix one egg and two tablespoons of flour into the leftover mashed potatoes.
- Place the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin kneading the dough.
- Add flour to mashed potato mixture two tablespoons at a time until it reaches a proper doughy texture. It should be firm with a little give, almost to the texture of Playdough.
- Divide the dough into quarters and roll each quarter into thin tubes.
- With a floured butter knife, cut the dough tubes into 1 to 1-1/2-inch pieces. As you cut, make a small indent in the center of each dumpling and set them aside.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the gnocchi to the pot. When they float, they’re cooked. Remove the cooked gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon.
- While the gnocchi are cooking, melt two tablespoons of butter in a large, deep pan over low heat. Once the butter is melted, mix in two tablespoons of flour.
- Add half a cup of milk flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
- As the sauce mixture heats, add the shredded mozzarella and ricotta cheeses and stir the mixture gently until it all combines into a sauce.
- Add the cranberry sauce into the mixture. Taste, and add more if you want a stronger cranberry flavor. If you wish to thicken the sauce, add more ricotta or cranberry sauce. If it’s too thick, add more milk.
- When the sauce is ready, place the gnocchi into a large greased baking dish (a 9”x13” should work). Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and stir so that the dumplings are thoroughly covered.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and allow it to cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Let it cool, then serve!
This next recipe is a play on the classic Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. Traditionally, a leftover sandwich is just taking whatever you have left from Thanksgiving and piling it on two pieces of bread. Turning this classic into a wrap helps make everything a little more cohesive and cleaner. Also, unlike the previous dish, this one can be made in about 10 to 15 minutes and is perfect for lunch on Black Friday!
Thanksgiving Wrap Recipe
- ½ cup of turkey breast meat, chopped
- ¼ cup of leftover stuffing
- 2 tbsp of mashed potatoes
- 2 tbsp of corn
- 1 tbsp of green beans
- 1 tbsp of cranberry sauce
- 1 tbsp of leftover gravy
- 1 10” to 12” wrap shell
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- In a large sauté pan, lightly reheat the turkey, stuffing, corn, and green beans over medium heat.
- Add the gravy and stir until everything is coated.
- On a plate, place the wrap and a lightly damp paper towel over it.
- Microwave the wrap for about 30 seconds.
- Spread the mashed potatoes on the wrap so that it makes a thin layer before adding the reheated turkey filling.
- Spread the cranberry sauce over the filling, and roll the wrap closed.
- In a small pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Place the wrap in the pan with the wrapped side down.
- Lightly brown the wrap shell for a minute or so before flipping and repeating for the other side.
A hash is a classic breakfast dish usually involving a meat, potatoes, onion, other vegetables, and an egg. It’s a really simple and flexible dish that you can enjoy year-round. It also rounds out our recipes to make a delicious post-Thanksgiving breakfast, lunch, and dinner! In this case, many of the ingredients lend themselves well to a breakfast hash. The turkey can serve as the meat and there is a veritable plethora of vegetables you can choose from. Most Thanksgiving meals also have some roasted potatoes. All that’s left is a bit of onion and an egg, and we’re all set on the ingredients.
In this recipe, we’ll be picking out a few ingredients we’ve had at our Thanksgivings, but the beauty of this dish is that you don’t have to follow it exactly. Want to try a different meat or different vegetables? Go for it! Don’t be afraid to try something a little different. It’s important to remember that most of these ingredients will be already prepared, since they’re leftovers. This means you’ll mostly be reheating and recooking them slightly. If you’re starting from scratch, please read our article on roasting vegetables to learn how to do that!
Harvest Hash Recipe
- 1 cup of turkey meat (white and dark meat)
- ½ an onion, finely diced
- 1 cup of roasted potatoes
- ½ cup of sliced mushrooms, sautéed
- ½ cup of corn
- ¼ cup of roasted matchstick parsnips
- ¼ cup of roasted matchstick carrots
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium and lightly fry the turkey meat until it begins to crisp.
- Remove the turkey meat with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a plate.
- Add a tablespoon of oil and the onions, and sauté them until they’re softened and slightly translucent.
- Add the mushrooms and potatoes and lightly fry them (adding another tablespoon of oil if you need it) to crisp the ingredients slightly.
- Add the corn, roasted carrots, and roasted parsnips and sauté all the ingredients together until they’re heated.
- Make two wells in the hash, where the bottom of the pan is exposed, and crack an egg in each.
- Allow the egg to fry until the whites are set, but the yolk is still runny, only about three minutes.
- Serve for two, each person getting an egg.