10 Kid-Friendly Ways to Eat All Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

Whether you’re in the “love Thanksgiving leftovers so intentionally made extra” camp or with the “made more food than we needed, just to be safe,” people, Thanksgiving leftovers are inevitable for many families.

Why not avoid food waste, save some cash and make leftovers your family will actually anticipate?

Create some new post-Thanksgiving family meal holiday favorites with these tasty twists:

For Leftover Turkey

  1. After one too many pieces of pie, a few veggies may be just what your body truly wants and needs. For a fresh, healthy meal, try making a salad with lettuce or greens as the base, layered with chopped leftover turkey and leftover roasted veggies. Create a salad station of toasted almonds, pecans, fresh berries or dried cranberries along with your favorite dressings. Your kids can pick and choose what to eat from the salad, and that’s OK!
  2. Are you a few days into Thanksgiving leftovers and experiencing a case of flavor fatigue? Try spicin’ it up! Make an unconventional stir-fry or curry sauce using coconut milk, curry paste or premade curry sauce with leftover turkey and veggies for an easy, flavorful and healthy dinner.
  3. Use leftover turkey to make a vegetable soup with carrots and celery. This is a mess-free way of creating a fast meal.
  4. Two words: Turkey croquettes. Season chopped-up turkey and spice it up with rosemary, thyme and veggies. Add some mayo or egg, roll in seasoned breadcrumbs and sauté.
  5. If you have a lot of leftover turkey, freeze it for use it in soups and casseroles. Try this Turkey Tetrazzini, an old favorite from the Joy of Cooking (this version has been lightened up from the original). Go “Tex-Mex” with the addition of black beans and some salsa, or add leftover butternut squash and wild rice for a nutritious casserole.

For Desserts or Sides

  1. For a fun way to serve leftover mashed potatoes, try serving mashed potato shooters in small, clear glasses. Add fun toppings like you would a baked potato – chives, plain Greek yogurt, chopped bacon pieces, cheddar cheese, roasted broccoli or a dollop of bean chili.
  2. Repurpose leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes into potato pancakes. Form into patties (you may need an egg mixed in), reheat on a griddle pan and serve with caramelized onions and your favorite fresh or dried herbs. Yum!
  3. Blend up leftover candied sweet potatoes with a few tablespoons of non-fat Greek yogurt and a half teaspoon each of curry and cumin. Heat and serve whipped up. It’s a vegetable dish that feels like dessert!
  4. Fill popsicle stick molds with vanilla Greek yogurt and leftover jellied cranberry sauce for a yummy, seasonal treat!
  5. For a seasonal, scrumptious yogurt cranberry parfait, give this recipe a try! You’ll need 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (low-fat or non-fat), three tablespoons of leftover fresh cranberry sauce, and three tablespoons of low-sugar granola. Using a small clear glass, spoon a quarter cup of the yogurt into the bottom of the glass. Top with one tablespoon of cranberry sauce and one tablespoon of granola. Repeat twice. Serve immediately as a satisfying breakfast or a hearty snack.

Holiday leftovers and all those extra condiments, milk and meat you purchased can be enjoyed safely, just be sure to freeze them or eat them before they’re past their prime. And for more tips and tricks in that area, click here to learn how to decode your food label and expiration date.

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