Giving Thanks for Leftovers: 10 Great Recipes


None of the following recipes are this gross.


If you are anything like me, then the week leading up to Thanksgiving involves multiple trips to the grocery store.  Each grocery run finds my car riding a bit lower on the way home, stocked with enough food for a small army.  The funny thing is, I’m only feeding 3 or 4 people.  I love my family and i show that love with food, but secretly, it’s all about the leftovers.  I’ve been to the store no less than 5 times for this one meal, I’m not going again for another week, so this meal is going to feed us for many, many days.  About two weeks before Turkey Day I start to fantasize about open face turkey sandwiches on toasted sourdough bread and casserole dishes of turkey tetrazzini.  But maybe you aren’t like me, maybe you stare into the refrigerator stuffed with leftovers and your mind goes blank.  How will you feed your family the same meal for a week and not have a riot? Breathe deeply, with very few additional ingredients we can help you make creative use of all your delicious, delicious leftovers.

Let’s start with breakfast Black Friday morning, you’re going to need protein and carbs to make it through the pushing and shoving to come. Then there’s lunch, and dinner, cranberry sauce on ice cream for dessert….mmmmmm…..


Thanks Benedict on Stuffing Cakes


Prep: 40 min   Cook: 25 min   Yield: 6 servings


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Stuffing Cakes:

  • 2 cups leftover stuffing
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 thin slices pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature

Directions for the hollandaise:

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat or in the microwave. Combine the yolks, sage, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse to incorporate. Carefully drizzle the hot butter into the processor and keep blending until the sauce is thick and creamy. Pour the sauce into a small bowl and set aside.

For the stuffing cakes: Place the stuffing in a large bowl, breaking up any large clumps. Add the eggs and breadcrumbs and stir to combine, making sure all of the stuffing is evenly coated with the eggs. Scoop 1/3 cup of the stuffing into your hands and shape into a patty, about 3-inches wide and 1/2-inch thick. Repeat to make 6 stuffing cakes. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and cook the cakes, two at a time until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining cakes. Loosely cover with foil to keep the cakes warm.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook the pancetta until browned and crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

To assemble, fill a small saucepan with 3 inches of water, and add the lemon juice and salt. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Crack an egg into a small heatproof bowl and use the bowl to slowly slide the egg into the water. Use a wooden spoon to carefully stir the water around the egg. Cook the egg until the white has set and the yolk is still soft, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs. To serve, place one stuffing cake on a plate. Top with 2 slices of pancetta, a poached egg and a generous drizzle of hollandaise sauce.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network

Savory Hand Pies


Prep: 30 min   Cook: 20 min    Yield: 18 pies


  • 1 cup finely chopped roasted turkey
  • 3/4 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup cut green beans, cooked
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 (14.1-oz.) packages refrigerated piecrusts
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Poppy seeds (optional)
  • Turkey gravy, warmed


  1. Stir together first 6 ingredients. Season with desired amount of salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°. Unroll each piecrust. Lightly roll each into a 12-inch circle. Cut each piecrust into 6 circles using a 4-inch round cutter. Place about 3 Tbsp. turkey mixture just below center of each dough circle. Fold dough over filling, pressing and folding edges to seal.
  3. Arrange pies on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with egg, and, if desired, sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  4. Bake at 400° for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with warm gravy.

Note: Unbaked pies can be frozen up to 1 month. Bake frozen pies 30 to 32 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe courtesy of

Chunky Turkey Vegetable Soup


Prep: 15 min     Cook: 20-25 min    Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound cooked turkey breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small head escarole (about 8 ounces), trimmed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces and washed well


  1. In a large saucepan with a lid, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste.
  2. Stir in turkey; add escarole in two batches, waiting for the first batch to wilt before adding the second. Cover, and simmer just until turkey is heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
  1. Add sweet potato, tomatoes and their juice, broth, 1 cup water, and rosemary; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until potato is tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of


Fried Stuffing Bites with Cranberry Sauce Pesto


Prep: 10 min    Cook: 4 min    Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • Leftover stuffing
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • Oil, for frying


Preheat oil to 350 degrees F.

Cut leftover stuffing into bite-sized cubes and set aside. In a small bowl whisk eggs and milk. Coat each stuffing bite with this egg wash, then dredge in the bread crumbs until fully coated and set aside. In a food processor blend cranberry sauce, pepper and walnuts and set aside. Once oil is at temperature fry each piece of stuffing until golden brown about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and serve with cranberry pesto.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network


Turkey Melt Sandwich


Surprise Mashed Potatoes make this sandwich something special.


  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sliced cheddar
  • Sliced turkey
  • Whole-wheat sandwich bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Layer mashed potatoes with sliced cheddar and turkey on whole-wheat sandwich bread. Pan-fry with a tablespoon butter until sandwich is browned on both sides.

Recipe courtesy of


Cheesy Thanksgiving Tamales


Hands on: 45 min    Total Time: 2 hours, 20 min    Yield: 24 tamales


  • 24 dried corn husks
  • 2 cups leftover cooked dressing
  • 1 (4-oz.) block pepper Jack cheese, cut into 12 sticks
  • Kitchen string


  1. Soak corn husks in warm water to cover 1 hour or until softened. Drain and pat dry.
  2. Press 2 Tbsp. dressing into a 3- x 5-inch rectangle along 1 long side of 1 husk, leaving borders along other 3 sides of husks. Place 1 cheese stick in center of dressing. Roll up dressing, starting with long side and using husk as a guide. Press dressing edges together to form a seal, enclosing filling. Fold long side of husk over tamale to enclose.
  3. Fold ends toward center to seal. Repeat procedure using remaining husks, dressing, and cheese.
  4. Place 6 tamales side by side on work surface, with seam sides inward; tie tamales together with kitchen string, securing bundles at both ends. Repeat procedure to make a total of 4 bundles.
  5. Stand tamale bundles on end in a steamer basket; place basket over boiling water in a large Dutch oven. Cover and steam 35 minutes or until dressing is set, adding more boiling water as needed. Serve hot with Spicy Cranberry Salsa.

Turkey Tamales: Omit cheese. Prepare recipe as directed, spooning 1 Tbsp. chopped cooked turkey down center of dressing before rolling in Step 2.

Sweet Potato Tamales: Omit pepper Jack cheese. Prepare recipe as directed, spooning 1 Tbsp. leftover sweet potato casserole down center of dressing before rolling in Step 2.

Recipe courtesy of


Turkey Croquettes


Yield: 20 servings


  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh savory or thyme
  • 2 cups finely chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground fresh breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Cranberry sauce, for serving


  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, 1 teaspoons salt, and teaspoon pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Stir in sage and savory or thyme, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in turkey and cream, and cook until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl, and let cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes, flour, and egg to turkey, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Drop 2 tablespoons turkey mixture into a shallow bowl of breadcrumbs, turn to coat, and pat into 2-inch disks. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat 1/4 inch oil in a skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook croquettes in a single layer until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately with cranberry sauce.

Recipe courtesy of


Thanksgiving Leftovers Shepherd’s Pie


Yield: 6 servings


  • 3 cups cooked stuffing
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce, plus more for topping (optional)
  • 1 pound sliced cooked turkey
  • 10 ounces glazed carrots, (or another leftover vegetable)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons gravy
  • 3 to 4 cups mashed potatoes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9- to 10-inch pie plate, mound stuffing on bottom; layer with cranberry sauce, turkey, and carrots. Drizzle with gravy; spread potatoes over surface to sides of dish. Top with more cranberry sauce, if desired.
  2. Place pie on a baking sheet, and bake until heated through and potatoes are golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Recipe courtesy of


Turkey Tetrazzini


Hands On: 50 min      Total: 1 hour, 15 min    Yield: 8 to 10 servings


  • 12 ounces rotini pasta
  • 1 (8-oz.) package fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (12-oz.) package fresh baby spinach
  • 3 cups shredded leftover cooked turkey
  • 2 cups stuffing mix, divided
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (5-oz.) packages buttery garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms 4 minutes in 2 Tbsp. melted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in wine, and cook 4 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add half of spinach, and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted; repeat with remaining spinach. Stir together shredded turkey, mushroom mixture, cooked pasta, and 1 cup stuffing mix in a large bowl.
  2. Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Whisk in milk and chicken broth, stirring until combined and smooth. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, whisking often, 10 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble. (Do not boil.) Whisk in salt, pepper, and 1 package garlic-and-herb cheese; simmer, whisking often, 4 minutes or until thickened. Add milk mixture to pasta mixture; stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a well-greased (with butter) 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Dot with remaining package garlic-and-herb cheese; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup stuffing mix.
  3. Bake at 350° for 20 to 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Note: We tested with Boursin Garlic & Fine Herb Gournay Cheese and Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Turkey.

Recipe Courtesy of


And, I saved the easiest for last!


Curried Turkey Sandwich



  • Mayonnaise
  • Curry powder
  • Chopped turkey
  • Pumpernickel bread
  • Stuffing


  1. Mix mayonnaise with curry powder to taste. Toss chopped turkey with curry mayonnaise, then place on pumpernickel bread and top with stuffing.

Recipe courtesy of


That should take care of most of your leftovers, if not, I see turkey milkshakes in your future.  Everyone here at Inkhead wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving full of love, family, and tasty food. We can’t help you with all the dishes, but i hope we were at least able to help you free up some space in your refrigerator. Let’s face it, Holiday parties are about to begin, and we’ve got a lot of cookies and fudge to make.  Let us know in the comments below if you’d like those recipes too.



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