4 Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftover Meals

Welcome to the Friday after Thanksgiving. The guests have gone, the house needs a little cleaning, and in the fridge, there’s 12 pounds of turkey, a bowl of mashed potatoes, and half a ham, with no one but you to scarf it down. Some say Thanksgiving dishes, in the same vein as chicken soup or Chinese takeout, taste even better the day after they’re prepared. And even if you disagree, that turkey in the refrigerator isn’t going to eat itself. Here are a few ideas for how to take advantage of a once-per-year stocked fridge.

Thanksgiving Leftover Meals


Texas Club Sandwich

This is for those homes who don’t finish the Thanksgiving turkey and who take care to have enough good bread to survive until Friday, preferably sourdough. If you remind the last Thanksgiving errand runner to make sure there’s tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise in the pantry before Thursday evening, you’re all set for a Friday lunch delight. To start, crisp up two pieces of Wagyu beef bacon on the stove (maybe you can even find some good fats from the night before to add some flavor to the pan). Toast your bread, apply mayonnaise, lettuce, and a few slices of tomato, a few chunks of cold turkey, and finish with hot beef bacon from the pan. For extra decadence, warm up some of Thursday’s gravy and drizzle over the sandwich before topping with another slice of bread.

Turkey Cranberry Special

Another take on the day-after turkey sandwich, the turkey cranberry combines the flavors of the holiday with a lesser-known but totally delicious spread: cranberry cream cheese. For this sandwich, make sure to have a few bagels around the house, or get yourself out of bed and to the bagel shop to get the day the started right. While you toast your bagel of choice, find the cranberry sauce from last night’s feast, and mix equal parts cranberry with pain cream cheese. Apply a liberal portion to each half of the toasted bagel, and form a sandwich by stuffing a heaping portion of roast turkey between them. If you can find a fresh jalapeño, slice it very thin and add for a kick that works great with the sweet cranberry spread.

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks

This favorite fills the house with welcoming aromas all day, and makes for a cheap way to feed whoever walks through the door. After rinsing and soaking peas, brown last night’s ham (or make sure to grab some smoked ham hocks) in a stock pot. Remove the ham, sauté onions and garlic, then add peas, chicken stock, ham hocks, and spices. Bring to a simmer and let the flavors meld for about two hours. By lunchtime, the neighbors will be flocking for a taste. Remove ham hocks before serving.

Stuffed Quail with Whatever’s Left

For the gourmet leftover experience, head over to the shop and pick up a pack of semi-boneless Texas quail. Weeks ago we released a recipe on stuffing quail with leftovers, and there’s no better day on the calendar to have a stuffable quail around than the Friday after Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes, stuffing from the turkey, or Grandma’s egg noodles (or a mix of all three) all make for ideal stuffings for the delicate quail from Diamond H Ranch. With a raw egg, the possibilities only depend on whether you remembered to hide a plate with supplies for Friday morning. Read the stuffed quail recipe here.

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