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November 25, 2022

Thanksgiving Leftovers

When I work with families and help them with menu planning, one of the most common phrases I hear is, "My family won't eat leftovers."- with a sigh. They are deflated; I am excited. I'm excited because I know when they learn the secret to repurposing leftovers, they will make meals so good their families won't think they are leftovers.

The secret to getting your family on board with leftovers is to think of your leftovers as ingredients instead of serving the leftovers exactly as they are. Unless we're talking about Thanksgiving dinner. Who doesn't love Thanksgiving leftovers, just as they are? But if you want to turn your turkey into a new and exciting dish, here are some delicious ideas for your turkey and more.

Turkey and Cheese Crêpes 

Make crêpes for Thanksgiving weekend breakfast and serve them with leftover turkey and cheese for lunch or dinner. You can store the crêpes in the refrigerator for the week or in the freezer for several months. Making crêpes is a fun family activity. Watch this video to learn how to cook and store crêpes.

Turkey Clafoutis 

Clafoutis is similar to a quiche but without dough. All you need are eggs, milk, and a few tablespoons of flour. You can prepare this classic French dish in minutes and transform your leftover turkey and vegetables into a Clafoutis. Click here for the recipe.

Turkey Sandwich - French Style 

Take your turkey and mayo sandwich to the next level by making homemade mayonnaise. You can make mayonnaise in under 5 minutes, and the taste is unrivaled compared to the jar. Your mayonnaise becomes aioli when you crush garlic into it. Once you make your own mayonnaise, you'll never go back to the jar again. And, of course, you can use the leftover aioli in many ways. Click here to learn how to make aioli.

Turkey and Aioli

Serving cold meat and aioli is a traditional dish in France. Leftover turkey with aioli is so delicious you'll want to add aioli with leftover chicken and leg of lamb to your family menu.

Mimosas

French deviled eggs made with aioli

Not to be confused with the cocktail, although it would go nicely with this French version of the deviled egg. The French named mimosas after the mimosa tree, which has small yellow flowers. The grated egg yolk resembles the yellow flowers on the mimosa tree. To make mimosas, remove the yolk from hard-boiled eggs, fill the egg with aioli, and grate the egg yolk on top of the eggs.

Aioli is also a fabulous dip for steamed vegetables.

Vegetables

Sauté leftover vegetables in olive oil and garlic and add new ingredients like tomatoes, fresh herbs, or bacon. Serve as a side dish or as a main dish paired with a salad and leftover pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Flan

Every time I make pumpkin pie, I have leftover pumpkin pie filling. There isn't enough for another pie, so I bake it. My kids call it Pumpkin Flan. You can make this with leftover pumpkin pie filling or as a gluten-free version of pumpkin pie. Click here for the recipe.

Herbs

Burro e Salvia

A plate of pasta with sage and butter sauce

Make sure your leftover herbs don't go to waste. Use leftover sage for Burro e Salvia pasta. A simple and elegant Italian classic made with butter and sage, Burro e Salvia is quick and easy to make. It's perfect for a weekend lunch or dinner with soup. Click here for the recipe.

Herbed Butter

Freeze your sage in butter and store it in ice cube trays or these Souper Cubes. Use sage and butter to garnish a pan-seared steak, as a sandwich spread, and of course, more Burro e Salvia for when you need a quick last-minute dinner idea.

Homemade Croutons

homemade croutons on a baking sheet with a can of French Olive Oil and garlic cloves

Make homemade croutons with sage. Freeze your croutons and use them over the next few months in soups and salads. Sage croutons pair well with butternut squash soup. 

Dried Herbs

If you have leftover rosemary, make pesto for meat or roasted vegetables, or dry it and store it in a jar to use over the winter. Freshly dried herbs are more flavorful than store-bought. You'll taste the difference.

Turkey Pasta

You can toss anything with pasta, including leftover turkey. Chop up leftover turkey, add it to a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, and warm. Add fresh garlic, herbs, and even leftover vegetables. Rosemary is divine in pasta. I also like to add a splash of white or Marsala wine to the pan and let the alcohol cook off. This adds a delicious layer of flavor to the dish.

Tartines

Tartines on a wooden board topped with pesto, ham, and cheese

Tartines in France and bruschetta in Italy mean serving something delicious on top of toasted bread that's rubbed with fresh garlic. You can make tartines with leftover turkey or vegetables. And you have a delicious lunch for the kids or a course to serve with a big salad and soup for a light weekend dinner. Click here to learn how to make tartines.

School Lunch 

Leftovers are perfect for school lunches. Having thermoses on hand for your leftovers is key to sending a fresh homemade meal with your kids to school. Warm up the leftovers in a pan, put them in a thermos, and your children will delight in another Thanksgiving feast. And don't forget the pumpkin pie and whipped cream.

Bentgo Insulated Thermos
Pumpkin Pie and Whipped Cream for School Lunch

Freeze It

If you have leftover pumpkin pie or turkey that wasn't gobbled up after Thanksgiving, freeze the leftovers and use the turkey for sandwiches or any other leftover idea. Pumpkin pie and a hearty bowl of soup make for an easy no-cook dinner. You'll be glad you have the leftovers next week or in two or three.

Do You Need More Ideas?

If you have leftovers and need an idea, send me a message. Repurposing what may seem like nothing is like a game, and you'll be surprised at what you can create. Click here to get help with your family dinners.

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