Turkey Day Leftovers

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I could eat turkey and dressing with a side of cranberry sauce for two weeks straight, but if you’re sick of dousing everything in gravy and throwing it in the microwave, here are a few creative solutions for the loads of leftovers!

 

Breakfast: Sweet Potato Hash

I make this hearty and nutritious breakfast all the time, but it sure is easier when you’ve already got most of the ingredients already prepped in your fridge!

Ingredients:
1-2 eggs per serving
Leftover roasted sweet potatoes, cubed
Leftover sausage or bacon, cooked and crumbled (I had bacon leftover from an appetizer, or turkey would work here too—dark meat would be best!)Fresh or leftover veggies—I love mushrooms, brussels sprouts would be fabulous as well. Toss in some onions and whatever else you’ve got in the fridge!

Throw veggies and meat in a hot, oiled frying pan. Heat thoroughly, making sure not to stir too often so you get some delicious caramelization. Portion onto plates, throw a little butter in the pan. Fry your eggs over easy or medium—you want a runny yolk to create a delicious sauce for your hash. Top each plate of hash with an egg or two and enjoy!

Want to make this dish but no cooked sweet potatoes to be found? Cube one up, cover with water and microwave for about 7 minutes, or until you can pierce the cubes with a fork. Much faster than the oven!

 

Lunch: Cranberry Turkey Panini

A little savory, a little sweet, all covered in melty cheese. What could be better? In my family, we make my grandma’s cranberry-orange relish from scratch, but this recipe might work even better with the canned stuff.

Ingredients:
2 pieces of bread, buttered
2 slices of cheese: whatever you’ve got hanging out in the fridge will work2 slices of turkey—I think I’d go light meat for this one
A hefty scoop of cranberry sauce or relish, drained of any extra liquid

Layer in a frying pan or panini maker in this order: Bread (buttered side down), cheese, turkey, cranberry, turkey, cheese, bread (buttered side up) to prevent the bread from getting soggy. You’ve made a grilled cheese, you know what to do.

Looking for a little more flavor? Try a smear of dijon mustard on the inside of the bread, or mix a little balsamic vinegar into the cranberry sauce (extra points if you cook it first to make a reduction).

 

Dinner: Turkey Tortilla Soup

My aunt gave me this recipe a few years back and I make it all the time. I usually pick up a rotisserie chicken because I’m too lazy to roast one myself, but you’ve already done the work so you can go scratch all the way after turkey day!

Ingredients:
2-4 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (I use the pre-prepped stuff in a jar or tube, but garlic powder powder will NOT work here)
1 jalapeno, minced—WEAR GLOVES! I’ve burned my eyes more than once while taking my contacts out, several hours and several hand washings after cutting up a pepper
1 bunch of cilantro, plus more for topping
1/2 t. cumin (I usually eye ball it and end up using more)
6 oz. can of tomato paste
32 oz. (or more) chicken broth
Leftover turkey—I never measure the meat, but I basically pull a small rotisserie chicken. Dark meat is best in this recipe, so start with two drumsticks and add in some breast meat if you need it.

Toppings:
4+ tortillas, sliced and baked till crispy
1 avocado, cubed
shredded cheddarlime juice (optional, I don’t use it, but my mom says it makes the soup!)

In a large soup pot, saute the veggies in olive oil. When they’re soft, add the cumin and hit them with a stick blender to make a puree. Cook for another minute or two, then add the stock and stir in the tomato paste. Let it simmer for a bit, then add the turkey, continuing to simmer until it’s warm. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve and top with whatever ingredients appeal to you—but definitely tortillas and cilantro!

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