Want something better than just heating up your Thanksgiving leftovers, making a boring sandwich, or soup? Or Pinterest recipes that only use leftover turkey so that you’re still stuck with a bunch of leftover sides? These are 3 no-waste recipes for your Thanksgiving leftovers – turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, gravy, and even cranberry sauce. You’ll be licking the plate all weekend long!
I hate to waste food. Ok, I just admitted it. I’m one of those people who could have all of the money in the world but still not want to waste food. We rarely eat processed food, so the majority of our meals come from the “store perimeter” with fresh produce and meat. My stepson even built a compost bin for me so that I cam compost food scraps for my Victory Garden. I’m not perfect. But I really do try to give back to the bounty that our Creator gives to us.
So back to what we were talking about. Enter Thanksgiving 2021. It was a very different Thanksgiving than we were used to. Growing up, we always had 20-30 people around our table – not just family, but foreign clients of my Dad’s, and friends who didn’t have anywhere to go. Fast forward, the dining room in our home seats 8 comfortably, and 10 squished, with nowhere to expand. So we are space-limited, but we always try and make sure our table is full. We were hoping for 8 this year, but we ended up with 5. I had already purchased a 15-pound turkey… plus with all of the prices going up and supply chain issues… that was my lightbulb moment.
It’s time to be efficient.
And efficient I am. I’m a trained and certified Project Management Professional and I still love dusting off that hat and putting those skills into practice.
Like I said at the beginning… I didn’t want a traditional “fridge blast” – the term we use to just heat up leftovers. I didn’t want boring sandwiches or deal with a turkey carcass to make soup. And I didn’t want to find a bunch of leftover turkey recipes on Pinterest and leave all of the sides sitting in the fridge like the forgotten redheaded stepchild (err…. forgotten redheaded stepmother??? lol).
And let’s not forget the elephant in the room. With planning and executing Thanksgiving, even for a small group, this Mamma is #TIREDAF. Efficiency is fatigue’s best friend.
My plan was perfection but before we get into the Thanksgiving leftover recipes, I’ve got some tips and tricks for you…
Leftover Prep Tips
Before we get started, it’s important to plan ahead. The last thing I would want is for you to have to run to the store at the last minute. The whole point is to plan, prep, be efficient, and not wasteful, right?!?!?
- Be sure to check out my Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide to help you prep your entire Thanksgiving meal.
- Make sure you have all of the extra ingredients that you need.
- Check out the recipes below and then be sure to add leftovers into your planning. So basically… instead of making enough for everyone at your table, make enough for that + leftovers. Double the batch or whatever. It’s easier to make a double batch all at once, right!
- The two dinner recipes call for carrots and celery, which are typical prep veggies for Thanksgiving dishes. Make sure you buy enough. And if you have leftovers even after the bonus meals, cut them up for afternoon snacks with your favorite hummus.
- Don’t forget legit leftovers. As you can see below, Sunday night’s meal is the leftovers from the 3 previous nights. Use your time and ingredients efficiently and make enough for leftovers from the leftovers. Cuz Mamma is going to be a little tired! #winning
- BE CREATIVE! Don’t be afraid to alter the recipes below a little bit to use everything in your fridge… AND be true to your dietary requirements.
3 No-Waste Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers
Ok, so you are planned and prepped! Now it’s time to start cooking!
Friday + Saturday Breakfast
Now… I will not confirm nor deny if I finished off the pumpkin pie for breakfast on Friday. My MIL made a traditional pumpkin pie for everyone, but I made my own gluten and dairy free version so… yeah… I gobbled it up right out of the pan. In my PJs. Shopping the Black Friday sales. Boom. Multi-tasking in it’s finest.
Anyhoo… I am a wee bit obsessed with my Cranberry Sauce recipe. It’s not as tart and it’s soooo good! But not everyone is a fan, so my leftover Cranberry Sauce became Saturday’s morning smoothie. Now… I used frozen pomegranates instead of smashing up fresh ones. And then used the sauce as the base, along with dairy-free milk (cashew milk is currently my favorite, but I go back and forth with almond milk.)
Friday Night’s Meal
Friday night’s leftover meal comes from What a Girl Eats. This recipe uses your leftover turkey and mashed potatoes, along with the extra carrots and celery. The recipe doesn’t call for it, but if you have leftover green beans, you can throw them in here too! And I’m also smiling at the author of this recipe… she starts off by saying “My parent’s generation learned to use things more than once, they didn’t need “recycle, reuse” explained to them. They lived it every day. I definitely picked up that sensibility from both of them.” She is seriously a girl after my own heart!
Feel free to make the recipe as-is, or alter it according to your own dietary needs. These were my changes:
- I didn’t use individual Ramekins, I made the recipe as-is and added everything to a casserole dish.
- I didn’t add mushrooms because Stepson doesn’t like them.
- I used cassava flour (my gluten free go-to) instead of the cornstarch for the thickener.
- For Thanksgiving dinner, we had Brussels Sprouts instead of green beans, but if you have leftover green beans, they would be a perfect addition to this recipe.
Saturday Night’s Meal
Saturday night’s leftover meal comes from XOXO Bella. This recipe uses your leftover turkey and stuffing, along with the extra carrots and celery.
Now… I don’t have an Instant Pot (oh the shame!!!), plus I wanted this recipe to be both gluten and dairy free. Feel free to make the recipe as-is, or alter it according to your own dietary needs. These were my changes:
- I made the wild rice while I was softening the veggies and prepped the meal as the recipe states.
- Instead of Instant Pot, I just added everything to a casserole dish and baked at 350 for 30 minutes.
- I left out the lentils – I’m not a fan (although Hubby loves them).
- I used a dairy-free butter and dairy-free milk instead of cream.
- I left out the corn and bay leaf.
- We also had a little leftover gravy, and that was added in nicely.
Sunday Night’s Meal
Sunday night’s meal is what I affectionately call a “Fridge Blast.” It’s where you take leftovers from previous nights and heat them up. So it’s a little of this and a little of that. And by Sunday night, I know that Mamma REALLY needs a break… so… YOU. ARE. WELCOME.
Are you Inspired?
Love, hugs, and Happy Efficient Thanksgiving Weekend to you!
This article and website contain affiliate links and ads which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Any information on this website is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult your doctor for medical advice. We believe in conscious capitalism and the American Dream. Full Disclosure Policy, Legal Clause, and Terms and Conditions – Click HERE.