November in the kitchen – Cooking For Leftovers

I love leftovers; they might be my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. Don’t misunderstand, I enjoy Thanksgiving, but what I really love about that day are the people. Our family lives some distance away, so our Thanksgiving get-together has always involved wonderful friends and their family. After so many years they have become my family as well. I am so grateful for their open arms and hospitality.

Leftovers have endless possibilities. In contrast to the meal on Thanksgiving, which is fairly traditional in most homes, leftovers let your creativity take flight. For example, in her book “The Complete Turkey Cookbook” (now out of print) published in 1971, S.I. Reese describes “The Soup”. The Soup consists of turkey stock (made from the carcass), leftover gravy, leftover creamed onions, leftover stuffing, chestnuts (if you have them), plus sautéed fresh celery and mushrooms. I’ve made a much simpler version for my family. The trick is using leftover stuffing to thicken the soup. This is a “stand your spoon up” soup, filling comforting, and warming.

I start thinking about leftovers even before the turkey goes in the oven. What is your favorite way to use them?

What about a stuffing Panini? Use a mild cheese such as Muenster, mozzarella or Monterey jack; I added a little thinly sliced red onion and some cranberry sauce. You could, of course, add some leftover turkey as well. I’m continuing in the loaded carb tradtion of Thanksgiving.

Panini with stuffing, mozzarella cheese, and cranberry sauce

Panini with stuffing, mozzarella cheese, and cranberry sauce

Panini with stuffing

Stuffing Panini

Stuffing Panini

Stuffing Panini

In case you are curious, my stuffing contains raisins and cornbread in addition to the usual sausage, onions, celery, and bread. The originial recipe came from my ex-mother-in-law who was from Germantown, Wisconsin. It’s changed over the years, but the raisins are always an essential ingredient.

Leftover pie for breakfast is always a winner. I’m usually too full by the end of Thanksgiving dinner to really enjoy it. But, the next morning with coffee it gets my full attention.

Salads are welcome after the day of feasting. Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad is easily adapted to suit whatever leftovers you have on hand. Brussels sprouts, leftover bread turned into croutons, turkey, chopped veggies from the raw vegetable plate, some pickles, cranberry sauce stirred into the dressing, what about a few raisins or grapes or chopped apple or candied nuts? Endless possibilities!


I’ve seen recipes for turnovers made with chopped turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, and leftover cooked vegetables. Even simpler, what about old-fashioned turkey croquettes? They were one of my mother’s ways of using up leftover turkey. They consist of chopped turkey and mashed potatoes mixed together, well-seasoned, formed into patties, dipped in egg then breadcrumbs, and fried in butter. They were yummy! I remember them as soft in the middle and crispy on the outside. A simple salad completed the meal. They would be even better with a poached egg on top! I think I’ve talked myself into making them…stay tuned for a future post.

I’ll be sharing my leftovers with at Angie’s Fiesta Friday party at the Novice Gardener. Come join the fun and see what others are cooking.


14 thoughts on “November in the kitchen – Cooking For Leftovers

  1. I love leftovers too. I have a few “kitchen sink” type recipes that work with leftovers. Leftovers in fried rice or on noodles, in sandwiches or on top of a salad. Leftovers for lunch the next day is great too.

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich | Fiesta Friday #44 | The Novice Gardener

  3. Happy Fiesta Friday!! I love leftovers..and I’m loving this sandwich. It looks so SO delicious! Raisins and cornbread to the traditional stuffing..I need to try that. An everything but the kitchen sink salad looks fab, and that soup? I’ve never heard of adding stuffing to soup, I need to find that. Thank you so much for sharing such a great post with all of us.. some really great ideas here. <3

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