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Thanksgiving Leftovers: Beyond Turkey Sandwiches

by Jane Wangersky | November 28th, 2014 | Cooking Basics
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leftover turkey (400x400)Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially turkey sandwich time in the U.S. In fact, I read about one family that put bread and mayonnaise on the dinner table at Thanksgiving, because sandwiches were their favorite way to eat turkey, so why not go straight to it?

But even a small turkey is enough for more sandwiches than your family’s likely to want, so what do you do with the rest of the meat? And then there are the side dishes. Well, here are some uses you may not have thought of.

All-in-one gravy loaf lets you use up turkey and gravy without seeming like a replay of Thanksgiving dinner. There are several good recipes for this cooked turkey meat loaf — one is here. You could try substituting leftover stuffing, or even extra stuffing you’ve bought or made, for the bread crumbs, but reduce or leave out the salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning if you do, especially with commercial stuffing.

If you don’t have leftover gravy, just make more. Use the turkey neck and/or bones, simmered in a lot of water for a couple of hours, to make stock for a base. If you don’t have it, just use instant or canned chicken broth. But it’s worth it going to the effort of making your own stock, which puts you only a few minutes away from having gravy. The second simplest way to use leftover turkey is just heating it in gravy and serving over rice or bread. If there are leftover mashed potatoes, see here for some of my earlier advice on turning them into a turkey pie.

You can also mix mashed potatoes with eggs — one egg to every two cups — and grated cheese, and bake in well-greased muffin tins till they brown. To make them puff up more, separate the eggs first and whip the whites. Hmm, I need to write about how to do that soon . . . Sweet potatoes would work in this too, but obviously leave out the cheese.

With leftover cranberry sauce or relish, you have to think outside the box. Ask if anyone wants some in their turkey sandwich; some people like that. Try some on your cereal in the morning, or in recipes that call for a little jam or pie filling.

When all else fails, there are freezer bags. Home freezers are really something to be thankful for; they save us from eating leftover turkey for weeks straight.

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