Thanksgiving Planned-Overs

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Chances are that you have containers filled with leftovers in your refrigerator. A large gathering with friends and family can be lots of fun but it can also mean lots of excess food. And we all get tired of eating our Thanksgiving meal over and over, even if we enjoyed it the first time when it was fresh. Therefore, we want to make sure you have a plan for those leftovers. And that is something that we can help with so you don’t get bored of the same leftover meal for days. First thing we recommend is freezing some of the leftovers that are able to be frozen. If not, here are some suggestions pulled together by the University of New Hampshire Extension. You can use the turkey to add to a salad, soup or chili; make a sandwich or wrap, make tacos, turkey pot pie, and even incorporate it into omelets or a casserole, like the one below. Mashed potatoes can be used to make potato cakes, potato candy, topping for shepherd’s pie, or make homemade potato bread or gnocchi. Sweet potatoes can be used to make pancakes, used as a filling for quesadilla, or substitute instead of pumpkin into pumpkin bread. Cooked vegetables can also be used on the top of salads, in casseroles such as quiches, or even in soup. There are so many different recipes  out there to make healthier meals using your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Below is a sample recipe from USDA MyPlate to help you use up some of that Thanksgiving leftovers. For more information on our Food for Thought programs, activities and recipes, check us out online.

Leftover Turkey Casserole

USDA My Plate
– serves 6

  • 6 slices bread, whole wheat
  • 4 oz cubed turkey
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups milk, 1%
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup, low-sodium
  • 2 slices bread, whole wheat
  • 2 tsp margarine
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, low-fat shredded
  • ½ cup mayonnaise, light

Lightly coat a 9x9x2 inch baking dish with vegetable spray. Cut 6 slices of bread into 1-inch cubes and place half into the bottom of a baking dish. In a bowl, combine turkey, onion, celery, mayonnaise, and pepper. Spoon mixture over bread crumbs. Place remaining bread cubes over turkey mixture and press down slightly with spoon. Combine eggs and milk and pour mixture over cubes. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spoon soup over top of casserole. Spread one tsp margarine on side of each slice of bread. Cut buttered bread into ½ inch cubes and sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese over top. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Check out this video for a demonstration on how to prepare the Turkey Casserole.