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Whether it’s Sunday dinner or Thanksgiving, you’re going to have leftovers. That’s good.  It means easy meals the next day, sandwiches in front of a football game, and, if you’re a little more ambitious, casseroles, salads, or soups.

Here are some of the things you can do with your leftovers—meat, potatoes, or gravy—everything from a quiche to mashed potato salads. (By the way, you’ll love those mashed potato salads.)

Recipes for Leftover Meat

Sandwiches. Everyone loves a cold turkey sandwich or a beef sandwich.

Years ago, I discovered that cranberry sauce, especially whole berry, made a great condiment for turkey sandwiches.  Lingonberry Jam is even better.

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I like cold beef sandwiches.  I usually grind it or chop it, mix it with some mayo and relish—I prefer dill—and make it like a chicken salad sandwich.  Dips and sandwich spreads can change an everyday sandwich into a special occasion.

  • Turkey Salad Sandwiches: We have always been partial to chicken salad sandwiches. This is a version made with leftover turkey meat. The dried cranberries are a terrific addition–bright red, sweet nuggets of flavor.
  • Open-Face Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches: This is a hot sandwich topped with a cheese sauce. The surprise ingredient is some of your leftover chip dip, spread on the bread as you would mayonnaise.
  • Turkey Supreme: This is a traditional turkey dish, turkey in a white sauce served over rice. We added slivered almonds and peas. This is easy-to-make comfort food.
  • Turkey White Bean Chili: This soup is so good that it’s worth cooking up another turkey. It’s hearty, spicy, and full of flavor–and easy to make with canned beans.leftover 3
  • Turkey Enchiladas: When I was growing up, my mother made this dish often. She would freeze her leftover turkey and use it later for this dish that was always a favorite with the family.
  • Turkey Tacos: You can make traditional tacos with leftover turkey meat. This is an excellent recipe for the dark meat from the turkey.
  • Turkey Club Salad: This beautiful salad is simple to prepare. It is made with leftover turkey, bacon bits, and tomato and lettuce–just like a club sandwich.
  • Turkey and Broccoli Quiche:This is a favorite around our test kitchen and a great recipe and dish to serve to guests.

Leftover Mashed Potatoes Recipes

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Thanksgiving dinner usually includes mashed potatoes and when cooking for a crowd, you always have leftovers. What do you do with them?

It’s always cool to make a mashed potato salad.  We live in Idaho where potatoes are almost a way of life.  You’ll never go to a church supper without finding potato salads but I’ve never found a mashed potato salad.  That’s a shame.

Mashed potato salads are close cousins without the work.  It’s a lot of work to peel and boil the potatoes and then make the salad.  If you are using leftover potatoes, you left the peeling and boiling behind.  All you have to do is add the inclusions and the seasoning and you have something that is remarkably similar to an everyday potato salad.  Take that to a church supper.

How to make mashed potato salads See how to make mashed potato salads with recipes.

Learn More about the Free Kitchen Library and the Holiday Dinner Collection:

Holiday Dinner Collection

Free Kitchen Library

What to do with leftover gravy

Leftover gravy seems to be problematic.  It shouldn’t be.  It will keep for a week in a cold refrigerator.  Here are three things you can do with that gravy:

  • Potatoes and Gravy.  That’s obvious.  But what if you’ve run out of leftover mashed potatoes?  I always keep some dry potato packets on hand.  They are super quick and then I have mashed potatoes and gravy in minutes.  Fry a pork chop, chicken breast, or hamburger patty, make a salad, and add a vegetable and you have a great meal in less than a half hour.
  • Make a soup.  Gravy makes a good substitute for stock.  You can follow a recipe; I usually freelance it—add some leftover meat, sautéed onions and celery and a few vegetables and I have a soup. Soup is a great opportunity to explore spice blends.  Put a little soup in bowl or cup, add a spice blend and see how you like it.  Try it again with another spice, and then another.  Choose the one that you’ll like best.

Make an open-faced sandwich.  An open-faced sandwich is a sandwich eaten on a plate with a knife and fork.  Put a slice of bread or toast on a plate.  Stack thin slices of meat on the bread, and ladle hot gravy over it.  Add a vegetable or a salad for a meal.

For more dinner tips and ideas check out our free e-book, Holiday Dinners.

Leftovers are an opportunity, not a quandary.  I hope you enjoy these recipes.


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About the Author

Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon.

Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and five beautiful granddaughters.