In the days after Thanksgiving every year, many fridges are filled to the brim with leftover turkey. Beyond sandwiches and soup, food columnist Mike Green has a list of tips to help you make the best of the rest of the big bird, cranberry sauce, potatoes and more.
1) Re-cook white meat in gravy
Dark meat stays moist longer and is probably going to taste better in the days after Thanksgiving, Green says.
But let’s say you happen to have mountains of white meat left. Green suggests re-cooking it in a sauce pan with gravy or turkey stock.
“You can almost re-braise it. Avoid the microwave, too.”
Whatever is left can be frozen and used down the road in a stock.
2) What about non-turkey leftovers?
Mounds of mashed potatoes in the fridge? Turn it into a small roll or croquette.
“If you want to be really fancy, when you’re putting away your leftovers you can … press some mashed potatoes into pucks and freeze them over night,” Green says.
When you take the pucks out the next day, dip them in an egg wash, dust them with panko and repeat. Then, deep fry or toss them in the oven.
“It will be golden on the outside and mashed potato gooey in the centre,” Green says. “On top of that, maybe just sauté some kale and crack an egg and put it on top — and you can totally Instagram it.”
3) Lighten it up
Green suggests giving your body a break and chasing all those heavy Thanksgiving items with a wintry salad.
“Look for something like kale, some Swiss chard, maybe even roast some cauliflower,” Green says.
Combine all those together with a “very Thanksgiving-y” dressing that includes cider vinegar, olive oil and mustard. Add pomegranate seeds for colour.
“And then you can just strip the turkey off and throw it right in there. Serve it cold.”
Cranberry sauce can also be re-purposed and used in the dressing. Add about one table spoon of cranberry sauce, half a table spoon of mustard, a little olive oil and a bit of cider vinegar for a single serving, Green says.
4) Ham it up
If you’re ham rich in the days after Thanksgiving, Green recommends re-cooking and using it in breakfast sandwiches.
“Or just freeze that ham because you might be a little hammed out. It’s not as forgiving as turkey for the leftovers or as versatile.”
Another option: chop up and use the ham on pizza.
5) Shelf life
In terms of the shelf life of the leftovers, Green says turkey and other Thanksgiving meats generally only last two to three days after they were originally cooked. So eat up!
Cabbage rolls, on the other hand, may keep for about five days, he adds.