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10 Ways to Turn Your Thanksgiving Leftovers into Planned Overs

With Thanksgiving, there typically are plenty of leftovers, sometimes so much so that you don’t know what to do with all of it! Unfortunately, maybe some of that food goes to waste before you can eat it. But don’t worry, today I will share 10 ways you can repurpose those leftovers into something new for your loved ones to enjoy.

  1. Turkey Sandwiches/Wraps– Okay so this one you’re probably well versed on, but there are a few ways you can spruce up your sandwiches and add nutrients! First start with whole grain bread, either store-bought or homemade to add dietary fiber and other nutrients. Next choose your spread(s), which could be that leftover cranberry sauce, your favorite mustard, hummus, avocado, or another choice of your liking! Some of my favorite sandwich toppings are fresh tomatoes and sprouts but get creative and use your leftover relish tray to doctor that sandwich up as well! Pair the sandwich with any leftover casseroles on the side and you’re off to a tasty meal.
  2. Turkey Noodle Soup– Late November in Wyoming typically isn’t the warmest, so warm up with some turkey noodle soup the day after Thanksgiving! Pair it with those leftover rolls and you have yourself a meal!
  3. Thanksgiving Egg Rolls– A great way to use up turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and stuffing as well! Roll everything up in an egg roll wrapper and bake or fry depending on your preference. Serve with some turkey fried rice for a delicious meal!
  4. Turkey Casserole– Turkey can be substituted for chicken in any chicken casserole recipe or create your own and add in your leftover green beans and potatoes as well!
  5. Turkey Enchiladas/Fajitas/Tacos– Fill those tortillas up with shredded turkey instead of chicken and add cheese and any other leftovers you think would be good in there!
  6. Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers– stuff your favorite color of bell pepper with leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and sprinkle some cheese on top for a tasty combination!
  7. White Turkey Chili or Turkey Tortilla Soup– Chop up some leftover vegetables, turkey and broth and you’re on your way to another easy yet tasty meal!
  8. Turkey Salad– Utilize your leftover vegetable tray to give your salad a makeover! Add your favorite homemade dressing and you’re off to a healthy meal or side dish.
  9. Turkey Curry– Grab the spices out of the cupboard because this dish will definitely need them! Chop up leftover veggies from the relish tray and throw those in too with the turkey! Add brown rice or quinoa on the side for the addition of whole grain.
  10. Freeze Your Leftovers– If you have a vacuum sealer, you’re in luck because this tool will allow you to freeze your leftover turkey the longest. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer no worries, just make sure you use freezer storage bags, and try to get out as much air as possible. Once frozen, you can pull out turkey as needed to enjoy in recipes, on sandwiches, and more!


Whatever planned over option(s) you choose, whether from the list above or not, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends eating or freezing turkey and other leftovers within three days, which for Thanksgiving that means you should eat or freeze the food by Monday.


Written by University of Wyoming Extension- Cent$ible Nutrition Program Educator Shelley Balls, MDA, RD, LD

roasted turkey on the table

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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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