I love Thanksgiving and here in the South, we generally cook enough to feed a small army when we get together. So what in the world do you do with all those leftovers? Especially if you don’t want to pile on a ton of calories?
I pulled together a few of my favorite healthy recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers to help you put that extra turkey (and trimmings) to use over the holiday weekend!
- Turkey Quesadillas: This recipe calls for brie cheese and Spiced Cranberry Jam, but we’ll just sub almond cheese for my kiddo (since he’s dairy-free) and the cranberry sauce we have leftover from Thanksgiving dinner. I think mozzarella, gouda or provelone work work here too.
3. Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potato Frittata: I love the idea of using leftovers to make a breakfast dish or even doing breakfast for dinner with a big green salad.
4. Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup: Toss some of that leftover turkey into a freezer bag and save it to use later in this yummy soup recipe.
Other quick & easy ideas that don’t require a special recipe:
5. Use turkey in place of chicken in your favorite creamy chicken salad recipe. A chef friend taught me a few years ago that the trick is to add an ounce or two of cream cheese into your recipe when you’re using turkey. I also like to use half Greek yogurt/half mayo instead of all mayo to lighten up the calorie load. This time of year, I’ll also add chopped apples and pecans with some fresh dill to really make it fancy!
6. Make fruit dip with leftover sweet potato casserole or pumpkin pie. Just scoop out some of the sweet potato or pumpkin filling and mix with whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon to make a fluffy dip for sliced apples or pears. (I like Skinny TruWhip or CoCoWhip instead of Cool Whip, but use whatever you like.)
7. Toss leftover turkey and veggies onto a salad. (It really doesn’t get any easier than this. If you’ve got leftover green beans, chop these up into bite size pieces, and add some slivered almonds for extra crunch.) My absolute favorite “leftover” salad includes chopped turkey with chopped apples, pecans, sliced red onion and some shredded parmesan cheese with honey mustard vinaigrette. (I use this recipe, and add in a tbsp of honey. It’s AMAZING.)
8. Freeze leftover turkey to toss into soups later. Although I don’t LOVE the texture of pre-cooked, frozen turkey by itself, it works beautifully in almost any soup where you would traditionally use chicken. Easy peezy!
9. If you’ve got big plans to watch football on Thanksgiving weekend, try swapping turkey for chicken in your favorite buffalo chicken recipes. If you’re trying to lay off carbs after over indulging on Thanksgiving, make buffalo turkey lettuce wraps. Just mix the turkey with some hot sauce or wing sauce, stuff it into a big leafy piece of romaine, and top with chopped green onions and some of my skinny blue cheese dressing. I also love this Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe, and I think turkey would work here too.