Comforting, bubbling casseroles such as this down-home comfort Turkey Tetrazzini have long been prepared by the ladies of the Methodist church in the south Georgia town where I grew up. They were taken to the families in celebration. As different as most faiths seem to be, they all share some sort of ceremony at key moments in human life: the union of two people, the birth of a child, the celebration of adulthood — whether that be a bat mitzvah, a confirmation or a hunter killing his first antelope — and the celebration of death. Food is more than keeping the family fed. Food is the adhesive that binds the community. This sentiment is especially clear at Thanksgiving as friends and family gather together in gratitude.
You’ve planned for your Thanksgiving dinner, prepared the meal and hosted the holiday party, and you’re now looking at a refrigerator full of leftovers. While simply reheating the fixings and enjoying a next-day feast is surely a can-do approach to tackling what remains, try reinventing the turkey, potatoes and vegetables into all-new dishes, like an easy-to-make frittata or over-the-top sandwich. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five Thanksgiving leftovers ideas, then head over to Thanksgiving Central for more leftover inspiration.
5. Turkey Pot Pie — Made with leftover turkey meat instead of the traditional chicken, this comforting pot pie boasts a buttery premade pie crust, so it’s a cinch to prepare.
4. Turkey Frittata — An all-in-one breakfast featuring creamy eggs, boiled potatoes and bell peppers, this potato-studded frittata is topped with a blanket of cheese and turns fluffy after just a few minutes in the oven.
Summertime means grilling time. It also means you might find yourself with an excess of cooked burgers from hosting family and friends. Instead of tossing those leftovers, turn them into chili, tacos, sloppy joes, a 20-minute Bolognese sauce and even wontons. Before we get to the leftovers, though, do you ever wonder what goes into making the perfect burger?
For starters, fat matters if you want juicy burgers. Eighty-five percent is a good blend, and if you have a butcher who will do custom grinds, a mix of sirloin, short rib and brisket is worth the splurge. One last tip: Don’t fuss with your burgers when cooking them. Lay the patties on the grill, and turn them only once, after the underside is cooked. Resist the urge to press the patties flat on the grill. All you’ll do is squeeze the juices out of them.
Breakfast for dinner is a family favorite in my house, and I’m not just talking about plain ol’ scrambled eggs or pancakes. Leftover roasted vegetables are the secret to a fancy-looking, but very easy to make, frittata. Last night’s marinara sauce gets a makeover with red pepper flakes and a couple of strips of cooked bacon — put an egg on it, and you’ve got a riff on an Italian classic. When it comes to waffles, skip the fruit, and put a savory twist on them with cheese and leftover sauteed onions.
This time of year, parents are divided into two camps. School calendars vary, so while some are excited to finally get started with summer vacation, others are digging deep to get through the last days of the school year. Whether celebrating at the beach or shuffling kids off to school, moms and dads are still faced with the lunchtime conundrum. After all, there’s only so many PB&Js one can eat. Lunch is a great opportunity to put leftovers to good use, as you’ll see from the recipes below. To go along with them, here are 5 tips for packing a picnic, or the last few school lunches of the year.
That all changed once I took them a step further, beyond the reheat-and-eat approach. I cooked more white rice than expected one night, and discovered a few days later that cold, cooked rice is the best kind to use for making a tastier homemade version of Chinese takeout.
Easter is tomorrow, and for my family that means one thing: lots of hard-boiled eggs. We love to decorate them (see some of my fun ideas here), hunt for them and, of course, eat them. We always have a ton leftover, and over the years I’ve developed a number of strategies for breezing through even the most copious of hard-boiled-egg inventories. As Monday morning rolls around, take that basket full of colorful hard-boiled eggs sitting in your fridge and try these recipe ideas ranging from classic to never-before-seen.
Traditional Ideas, with a Twist:
— Deviled Eggs: Try some new flavor profiles such as an all-time favorite, Barbecue Ranch, or top deviled eggs with an upscale ingredient like a dab of caviar or some tuna tartare.
If you overdid it on the holiday spread this year (ham AND prime rib, anyone?) and ended up with a fridge packed full of leftovers, never fear. We’ve got five ways to turn them into delicious new meals.
1. Ultimate Ham Sandwich
Whether your Christmas centerpiece was honey-baked or cherry-glazed, pile thick slices on crusty bread with lettuce, tomato, dill pickles, cheddar and whole-grain mustard, and you’ll have a renewed appreciation for the holiday ham.
Even though Thanksgiving has come and gone, the feast continues to give as you find ways to grant the leftovers a second life in made-over dishes all weekend long. Turkey soup and sandwiches are timeless choices, but there are indeed ways to dress them up this year, plus other ideas for making the most out of the side dishes as well. Sunny recommends frying the stuffing into eat-with-your-hands bites, while Rachael creates a casserole out of the meat and mushrooms. Check out Food Network’s top-five recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers below to find the how-tos for making these next-day favorites and more.
5. Second-Day Fried Stuffing Bites with Cranberry Sauce Pesto — It doesn’t matter whether you’ve made stuffing with sourdough, cornbread or another bread variety on Thanksgiving; put what’s left to work in Sunny’s two-bite beauties pictured above. They’re crispy on the outside with a tender center of stuffing, and they’re best served with a pestolike mixture of tangy-sweet cranberry sauce and crunchy walnuts.
4. Turkey, Mushroom and Corn Mexican Casserole — Not only does Rachael’s cheesy, comforting casserole feature leftover turkey, but it also incorporates some of the miscellaneous items — like chicken stock, cream, mushrooms and onions — that you have in your refrigerator after the holiday.
Fast-forward to tomorrow, when you’ll be ladling heaps of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and cranberry sauce on your plate. Try as we might, your fridge is likely to be stacked to the brim with Thanksgiving leftovers, no matter how many rounds you and your guests enjoy. Rather than simply serving Thanksgiving on repeat — again and again and again — reinvent your favorite sides with recipes that won’t leave a drop to waste.
Start with the classic Open-Faced Thanksgiving Sandwich, the timeless stacking of turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing. Chances are, you’ll whip one of these up before bedtime tomorrow.
Even the biggest meal of the year will leave you hungry the next morning. Crack a few eggs and load up Food Network Magazine’s Extra-Veggie Frittata with your leftover sides, like stuffing, seasonal broccoli, cauliflower and more.
The decadence of the holidays is only just beginning. Keep things light with a Turkey Waldorf Salad laden with shredded leftover turkey, crisp in-season apples and red grapes.