How to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers

Yesterday, you hopefully spent the day surrounded by family and wonderful food. Your loved ones left the home with satisfied stomachs and likely left you with a great deal of leftovers. For many seniors, this is ideal. Coming up with meals, cooking, and cleanup is an exhausting challenge as you age.

However, eating the same meal every day for several days in a row quickly loses its charm—even if it’s delicious Thanksgiving food. If you’re wondering how to use Thanksgiving leftovers creatively, try one of these recipes.

How to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers

Turkey Pot Pie

Pot pies are easier to make than one might initially think, especially when you have many of the components already made. You could cook new vegetables or use the vegetables you prepared for your Thanksgiving dinner. Everything is cooked together on the stove before going in a casserole dish. Then, cover the top with prepared pie crust and cook for about 30 minutes.

Soup with leftovers

Making soup is a great way to use up and transform your leftovers. There is an endless number of soups you could try, but here are a few ideas.

  • Bird to the Last Drop. Don’t throw away the carcass once you’ve finished carving the turkey. Simmer the carcass in vegetable stock for an hour to make the base of your soup. Add the remaining ingredients, cook for 20 minutes, remove the bones, and the soup is ready to serve.
  • Turkey Vegetable Soup with Stuffing Dumplings. Once more, the turkey carcass is put to use to make the broth for the soup with vegetables and spices. This recipe uses up your leftover stuffing too by turning it into dumplings. Alternatively, the same could be done with mashed potatoes.

Turkey shepherd’s pie

It can be hard to find a dish that uses up your leftover mashed potatoes, but this dish does the trick! Shepherd’s pie comes together quite easily. While this recipe uses ground turkey, it can easily be substituted with the turkey you already have, as can the vegetables. Cook it all together in this lovely sauce, cover with mashed potatoes, and bake in the oven until golden.

Winter salad

You may want something lighter after the weighty Thanksgiving dinner, and this winter salad is a great answer to that problem. Using shredded vegetables, squash, apples, pomegranate, and homemade dressing, this salad is as full of flavor as it is good for you. This would be a great side dish or lunch.

Make delicious meals out of your Thanksgiving leftovers

Leftover fried rice

It only takes a few new spices to transform the flavors of your Thanksgiving dinner into a fried rice dish. With a sauce mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and more, your leftovers will be unrecognizable over a bed of rice. Once the rice is made, the dish only takes about 15 minutes and one pan to come together, making cleanup a breeze.

Cranberry salsa turkey wrap

Wraps are a great option for a fast, easy lunch for seniors. Cranberries, onions, cilantro, ginger root, and jalapeno create a sweet and spicy flavor combination that pairs well with turkey and lettuce. If spice doesn’t agree with you, don’t worry. You can easily substitute the jalapeno for poblano or even bell pepper.

Turkey tetrazzini

Pasta is a dish that pleases everyone. And while this turkey tetrazzini is a little more involved than the previous recipes, it is still quite easy. Creamy, warm, and delicious, tetrazzini is a great winter meal that is a little indulgent.

Leftover sandwich

This list wouldn’t be complete without the quintessential post-Thanksgiving food: leftover turkey sandwiches. All the flavors of your Thanksgiving dinner go together wonderfully, so what could be better than a sandwich of your favorite dishes? Some even argue leftover sandwiches are better than the big meal itself.

Use your Thanksgiving leftovers

Cranberry turnovers

To round out this list, you may want a dessert. It’s hard to find a use for one’s leftover cranberry sauce, but this recipe does the job. For a sweet treat, cut puff pastry into squares, place two tablespoons of cream cheese in the center, and then cranberry sauce on top of that. Fold the pastry over, seal it, and bake it. It is simple and delicious.

Your at-home caregiver can help with meal preparation

If you’re left with all the Thanksgiving leftovers but find the prospect of transforming them into new dishes exhausting, your at-home caregiver can help. Caregivers gladly take over the activities of daily living you struggle with, including meal preparation. They’ll happily prepare healthy and delicious meals that keep you satisfied throughout the winter.

In addition to meal preparation, our caregivers assist with:

  • Personal care
  • Medication reminders
  • Light housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Errands
  • Brain games
  • Companionship

If you think you may benefit from the assistance of an at-home caregiver, call Home Care Powered by AUAF at 773-274-9262. We would be happy to help.

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