Goodbye, Holiday Leftovers!


Say goodbye to your holiday leftovers with these seven recipes plus a bonus idea!
Goodbye, Holiday Leftovers

Since we are gearing up for a pretty big food holiday, I figured it would be useful to share some ways to use up those holiday leftovers. This is the first year in a long time that my family is going to have a small Thanksgiving. All my husband’s siblings won’t be able to come into town and, unlike our tradition for seven years where we had a military Thanksgiving with lots of our friends, it’s just going to be my little family and our moms. However, I have no self control with Thanksgiving, so we will most definitely have leftovers.

I don’t think it’s possible to have Thanksgiving without leftovers, which is definitely something to be thankful for, right?!

The first thing I want to share is our personal Thanksgiving tradition. We typically eat Thanksgiving dinner in the early afternoon between 1pm and 3pm. This is exactly how it was when I was a kid too. My favorite thing to do was snatch pieces of turkey as my mom and grandma put all the leftovers up. My husband and his brother came up with an entirely different tradition and since our first Thanksgiving as a married couple 12 years ago, we have done this tradition every year (minus deployment years).

We call it “Tray It Up” and it involves making a tray of leftovers and pairing it with crackers, cheeses, pickles, banana peppers, and olives on Thanksgiving evening. We typically do turkey and ham, but include cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, or whatever leftovers you want. The next part is important. Choose a long anthology movie series and watch as long as you possibly can. My husband and his brother tried to marathon Lord of the Rings their first year doing it and we tried LOTR for many years before moving onto others like Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Star Wars. As long as you have at least a trilogy, binge it while you eat your Thanksgiving Leftovers charcuterie tray. It’s always fun to see how far you can make it — we rarely get past the first movie before falling asleep!

You can do way more than a leftovers charcuterie tray and a movie marathon with your holiday leftovers though. Here are some ideas:

  1. Turkey Tetrazzini from The Wicked Noodle – I cannot tell you how many times I have made leftover turkey tetrazzini. It’s one of my favorite pasta dishes anyways, so to have it after all the goodness that is Thanksgiving is just icing on the cake!
  2. Cheesy Ham Pot Pie from The Gunny Sack – My kids absolutely love pot pie, so this recipe which you can make with leftover ham (what’s that?), is definitely a keeper.
  3. Leftover Turkey Frittata from Diethood – Here’s your breakfast recipe to fuel your Black Friday shopping!
  4. Deviled Ham from Spicy Southern Kitchen – I grew up eating deviled ham. In fact, my grandma made it with Easter ham leftovers a lot. I would also love this for the Leftovers charcuterie tray…just sayin’!
  5. Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Ramen from The Woks of Life – My family is currently obsessed with ramen and I would have never thought to make ramen from Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s genius!
  6. Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup from Spend with Pennies – This recipe is also wonderful for Black Friday because you just throw everything into the crockpot and dinner is good-to-go.
  7. Best Thanksgiving Leftover Lasagna from Delish – I saved the best for last. This lasagna uses leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green veggies, and gravy. Isn’t that awesome?!

What is your favorite way to use up holiday leftovers? Do you have any fun traditions to eat up leftovers?

Last year, Crystal shared three amazing Healthy Holiday Side Dishes that are something you definitely want on your holiday menu! Not related to food, but I adore Carly’s post about Avoiding Holiday Burnout, which is so important!


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