With all the preparation that goes into Thanksgiving, one of the biggest challenges is how to motivate the family…especially the kids, to enjoy and look forward to meals for the next couple of days using… you guessed it.. Thanksgiving leftovers. Now, like most families, our holiday dinner of 5 is served with enough turkey and sides to feed at least double that amount; so, what to do to keep it interesting and not only continue post holiday family dining involvement, but also not to waste all of that food. Here are a few ideas that our family and friends have done over the years, and they are a hit.

The preparation of these items are simple. No real recipe needed. If you have more of one item than another just wing it (no pun intended). But by all means do not lose sight of the goal, which is to make a delicious meal item and use up the leftovers. If you don’t have an ingredient, there is no need to prepare something else, that would be defeating the purpose. So search your refrigerator and get creative. Chances are your creation will wow the family and continue the holiday atmosphere in your homes, at least at meal time, throughout the post Thanksgiving Day weekend.

Here are some tried and true favorites.

Turkey Pot Pie: This is a fan favorite for sure..Combine a bit of everything: diced turkey, leftover vegetables, stuffing, yams and gravy in a pie crust or casserole dish, top with another pie crust, and bake until golden.

Hot Open Face Turkey dinner: simple enough, bread piled with turkey and smothered in gravy, served open face and hot. Add a side stuffing to complete this meal in itself.

Stuffing Balls: Mix leftover stuffing with chopped spinach, roll into balls and bake in the oven until golden brown. They will vanish as quickly as you make them.

Leftover Casserole: Layer stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes, and vegetables in a baking dish, top with cheese, and bake until heated through.

Turkey Skillet Breakfast: Combine diced potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, and vegetables in a skillet. Top with fried or scrambled eggs for a hearty breakfast.

Cranberry Ranch Turkey Salad: Mix chopped turkey with leftover cranberry sauce, nuts, greens, and a little mayo to hold it all together and then add peppercorn ranch dressing to taste.

Mashed Potato & Stuffing Pancakes: Shape mashed potatoes and a bit of stuffing into patties, fry until golden brown, and serve with a dollop of sour cream or applesauce sauce as a topping.

And the most common, being the Turkey Sandwiches: Use leftover turkey slices in sandwiches or wraps with cranberry sauce, stuffing, and even a bit of gravy for a condiment. But to spice this traditional leftover meal, try using toasted garlic bread, or set up the sandwich and grill it with some added cheese.

And for whatever is left, throw it all in a pot and make some of the best Turkey Soup you will ever have. Make sure to start with simmering whatever remains of the turkey carcass, bones, skin and all, then strain and discard everything and what you will find is the best broth you have ever had. Add everything else, simmer and you are ready for a real treat.

And not to forget leftover desert creations:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie: Blend pumpkin pie filling or leftover pumpkin puree with yogurt or milk, and a dash of cinnamon for a delicious smoothie.

Pumpkin Pudding Surprise: Blend leftover pumpkin with vanilla instant pudding. After a few hours in the refrigerator, this treat will become a standard year after year.

So, try some of these, and certainly create your own. If you would like to share with everyone visit Share a Recipe or Thought

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