When Thanksgiving dinner is only a memory, your refrigerator will be bulging with leftovers. It's time to think about putting all that gravy, roast turkey, stuffing and cranberries to good use or they'll end up in the garbage. Here are some ideas for using up all those holiday leftovers in the days to come:
Heat leftover whole-berry cranberry sauce or jellied sauce and use as a warm topping for ice cream.
Don't forget that diner favorite, warm turkey sandwiches. Place white bread on a plate. Top with warmed sliced turkey and leftover gravy. Add a layer of turkey dressing or cranberry sauce to this open-faced sandwich, if you wish.
Whisk some whole-berry cranberry sauce into your favorite vinaigrette to use over greens.
Do the mash:
Form cold mashed potatoes into patties (you may have to add an egg so they hold together) and brown in some bacon drippings or other fat until golden. Serve in place of home fries at breakfast or as a side dish at dinner.
Use those leftover mashed potatoes to top a shepherd's pie using your favorite recipe.
Mix cream cheese with leftover whole-berry cranberry sauce or jellied cranberry sauce to make a spread for bagels, muffins or toast.
If you have a little bit of everything left over, and want to reheat it as a meal, turn the oven to 450 degrees. Then for each portion, take a 12-by-18-inch sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Center cup stuffing and cup mashed potatoes on the foil. Top with 3 or 4 slices turkey. Combine some gravy, dried sage and fresh-ground black pepper and spoon over the turkey. Sprinkle with dried cranberries. Bring up foil sides. Double fold top and ends to seal packet, leaving room for heat to circulate inside. Place on a baking sheet and bake 15 to 18 minutes.
Turn leftover jellied cranberry into a basting sauce for any poultry. Just melt the sauce over low heat, add a oil or melt in a little butter and use to baste chicken, duck, turkey or rock Cornish hens during cooking.
Here are a few other quick ideas from chefs nationwide:
Turkey and Stuffing Cakes:
Use leftover stuffing and shredded turkey to make patties. Stir in 1 beaten egg, shape into patties and fry on both sides in oil. Serve with turkey gravy. Recipe from chef Gary Danko of Gary Danko, San Francisco.
Caribbean Vegetarian Sweet Potato Salad:
Combine cooked sweet potatoes, corn cut from the cob, chopped peanuts, diced cucumbers and sliced red onions. Dress with vinaigrette made from 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, salt and pepper. Recipe from Danko.
Dice leftover turkey into 1/4-inch cubes and place in a medium bowl. Add leftover mashed potatoes and stuffing; mix. Heat in microwave 1 to 2 minutes on high power until warm. Mix again. Spread mixture in center of flour tortillas and roll up. Place, seam-side down, in shallow baking dish. Spice up leftover gravy with a little hot sauce or chili paste. Top the rolled tortillas with leftover gravy and heat in a 350-degree oven 15 minutes or until heated through. Recipe from chef Jim Hoveke of Ben Pao, Chicago.
Dice turkey into 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes and measure 2 cups. Mix with mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Gently mix in 1/2 cup each stuffing, peas, chopped celery and pearl onions. Serve cold, at room temperature or slightly warmed. Try it on toast. Recipe from chef Armen Jeghelian of McCormick & Kuleto's, San Francisco.
Sam's Turkey Pot Pie:
Mix diced cooked turkey and ham with vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, peas, corn, etc. Stir in a light cream sauce and stuff into individual puff pastries baked according to package directions. Top with more cream sauce. Recipe from chef Sam Castro of Threadgill's, Austin, Texas.
Everything But the Pumpkin Pie Soup:
Prepare soup stock using a turkey carcass and/or the non-prime parts of the turkey left from the holdiay meal. Add leftover bite-size pieces of turkey, stuffing (or breadcrumbs) as well as vegetables such as peas, pearl onions, carrots and sweet potatoes to stock. Almost any holiday leftover other than cranberry relish or pumpkin pie can be included in the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until heated through and serve. Recipe from chef Steven Levine, of Cosmopolitan Cafe, San Francisco.
Breakfast of Champions:
Mix diced leftover turkey with leftover butternut squash, potatoes, onions and stuffing. Form into patties. Pan fry in butter and top with two poached eggs. Recipe from chef Jak Mitchell, Beach Chalet, San Francisco.