After the Feast: 15 Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

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FROM SOUP TO SAMOSAS

Meals made from Thanksgiving leftovers are such a treat that some cooks actually make extra food to ensure that plenty gets packed into the fridge afterward. Yes, there are sandwiches to be made, but also a world to discover beyond that post-Thanksgiving staple. Everything left over can be used to make something else, from soup to dessert. And these recipes are all fairly easy -- because after putting together a Thanksgiving meal, no home cook has the energy to go through it all again.

TURKEY SOUP

The carcass of the turkey, plus any bits left clinging to it, can be made into either soup or the base for other soups. In the morning, throw those bones into a big Dutch oven or soup pot and fill it with water. Add two diced onions, three chopped carrots, three chopped celery stalks, six diced cloves of garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer all day long. At dinnertime, add rice or noodles for a flavorful soup, and maybe serve with leftover dinner rolls.

FIESTA TURKEY SOUP

Let's face it: Thanksgiving fare can be a little bland. Spice up the next day's dinner with a Mexican-inspired soup. A recipe from Southern Living uses leftover turkey along with chiles, cumin, and beans. For the broth, use the previous turkey soup and strain out the vegetables.

TURKEY SAMOSAS

These could be a very filling snack, a small meal with a salad, or an appetizer if another dinner party is in the offing. Wrap leftover turkey and a bit of mashed potatoes in a pie crust with some chutney, and then bake. The real simple recipe comes from Real Simple.

TURKEY, SWEET POTATO, AND WATERCRESS SALAD

For something light that incorporates a few Thanksgiving treats, try a salad from Martha Stewart. It calls for roasted sweet potatoes but can be made with sliced-up pieces of already baked sweet potato. Roast them till crispy and toss with watercress, radishes, feta cheese, and lime juice.

TURKEY BOLOGNESE

When there is more turkey in the fridge but the thought of another turkey dish is unbearable, make it into something that can be frozen for another time. A Bolognese sauce, made with a pound of the bird instead of with the classic beef, veal, and pancetta, is just the thing. A recipe from Giada De Laurentiis makes sauce that can be kept in the freezer for up to a month and used over spaghetti or fettuccine.

TURKEY AND STUFFING PIE

One of the more common uses for leftover turkey is in a pot pie. Although the stuffing is typically one of the first edibles to disappear, it can become a savory crust if as much as 3 cups remain. A pie suggested by Michael Symon of The Chew uses leftover gravy instead of a creamy sauce. If you have some cooked string beans lolling around in the fridge, toss in those, as well.

BRUSSELS SPROUT, POTATO, AND TURKEY HASH

In some households, Brussels sprouts are adored, and in others they get bypassed for more delectable veggies. If this maligned vegetable didn't get eaten on Thanksgiving, Serious Eats proposes a breakfast hash of Brussels sprouts with leftover roasted potatoes and turkey, fried up and nicely charred. Further recommendations: Put a fried egg on top. And pour some leftover gravy over it all.

STUFFING FRITTATA

For a nice brunch on the lazy day after, a frittata is satisfying and a snap to make. Just heat up the stuffing and cover with an egg and cheese mixture from the Food Network. Cook it a bit on the stove and then under the broiler until bubbling.

SWEET POTATO PANCAKES

Although pancakes are usually for breakfast, there's no reason they can't be eaten for lunch or dinner, particularly when made with healthy sweet potatoes. A recipe from Serious Eats incorporates mashed-up baked sweet potatoes and maple syrup mixed in for an extra hit of flavor.

SWEET POTATO AND BRIE GRILLED SANDWICHES

Leftover baked sweet potatoes are one thing, but what to do with leftover sweet potato casserole? The food blog How Sweet It Is has an almost sinfully fatty idea to use it in a grilled sandwich with Brie and bacon. Choose a hearty bread that will hold up to the tastes and the mess.

CRANBERRY-GLAZED WINGS

Cranberry sauce is sweet and kind of sticky -- just the thing you'd want to use for a glaze. Wings made from cranberry sauce (canned or fresh), spiced up with jalapeños, and dipped in a creamy feta sauce, per the Daily Meal, might hit the spot if football games are on tap for Thanksgiving weekend.

SWEET POTATO FLAN

If baked sweet potatoes were on the Thanksgiving menu, mash them up and make a flan for dessert. A version from Cooking Light makes the caramel coating easy: Just heat sugar and water until golden and pour into an oil-coated cake pan. Whip together the rest of the ingredients in a blender, pour over the caramel, and bake. Although this recipe has rum in it, vanilla can always be substituted.

CRANBERRY SAUCE AND APPLE CRISP

Leftover cranberry sauce can be made into an autumnal dessert crisp from the food site Just a Taste. Mix the cranberry sauce with tart apples and bake with a crunchy crumble topping. The recipe suggests serving with vanilla ice cream, but whipped cream originally intended for pumpkin pie would work just as well.

CRANBERRY TURNOVERS

Country Living says these turnovers are for breakfast, but they would do equally well as a next-day dessert. Assemble pre-made puff pastry, a spoonful or two of a sweetened cream cheese mixture, and a dollop of leftover cranberry sauce and bake. Top with a squiggle of icing.

CRANBERRY CULPRIT

For a bit of hair of the dog, Chowhound suggests mixing a bit of languishing cranberry-orange relish with amaretto, bourbon, and ginger ale. Add a twist of lime, imbibe, and go back into the post-feast stupor.