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Thanksgiving leftover recipes

Creative ways to use leftover turkey, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce and more.

Turkey and sweet potato quesadillas

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 2 (10-inch) flour tortillas 1
Photo Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

2 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes, divided
3⁄4 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese, divided
1 cup shredded cooked turkey, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled jalapeños (optional)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt
Cranberry sauce for serving (optional)

HOW TO:

1. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet for 2 minutes, turn, and heat for another minute. Transfer to a work surface and repeat with remaining tortilla.

2. Spread half the sweet potato over half a tortilla. Sprinkle with half c the heese and half the turkey. Sprinkle with jalapeño if desired. Fold other tortilla half over top and press to flatten. Brush both sides with oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside. Repeat with remaining quesadilla and filling ingredients.

3. Place both quesadillas in skillet and cook until undersides are crisp and well-browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until both sides are browned and cheese is melted, another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, let stand 2 minutes, cut into wedges, and serve with cranberry sauce on the side if desired. Makes 2 servings.

Thanksgiving 'Everything' Sandwich

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 2 (1/2-inch-thick) slices of country
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
2 (1/2-inch-thick) slices of country bread
2 tablespoons mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons mashed sweet potatoes
2 to 3 ounces sliced turkey
1/4 cup cooked string beans
1/4 cup leftover cornbread stuffing

HOW TO:

Between 2 slices of bread, arrange mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, turkey, string beans and stuffing. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut in half. Makes 1 sandwich.

Pasta alla ringraziamento (Thanksgiving pasta)

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: Olive oil 1 shallot, thinly
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan, Recipe by Massimo Fedozzi

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
Olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded turkey (dark meat preferred, but white meat will work)
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
4 sage leaves, stacked, rolled into a "cigar" and finely sliced
1 cup cooked, halved Brussels sprouts (if there's bacon or nuts, that's OK)
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 cup gravy
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups cooked penne or other short macaroni
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted in a skillet for 5minutes, until fragrant

HOW TO:

1. Film a large skillet with olive oil. Over medium, heat saute shallot until soft and translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn heat to medium-high, add turkey, 1/4 cup wine (or broth) and sage. When liquid is almost evaporated, add Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, gravy and broth to pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to combine.

2. Add pasta and toss for a few minutes, until everything is well integrated and hot throughout. Transfer to serving plates and garnish each with nuts. Makes 2 servings.

Turkey nachos

Serve with guacamole, sour cream and tomato salsa
Photo Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

Serve with guacamole, sour cream and tomato salsa on the side.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

8 ounces corn tortilla chips, divided
1 cup shredded cooked turkey, divided
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1⁄4 cup drained pickled jalapeño slices, divided
2 scallions, chopped

HOW TO:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Spread half the chips in even layer in a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish or 11-inch round dish. Sprinkle evenly with  1⁄2 cup turkey, 2 cups cheese and half the pickled jalapeños. Repeat with remaining chips, cheese, turkey and jalapeños.

3. Bake until cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions and serve immediately.

Post-Thanksgiving pizza

WHAT YOU'LL NEED 4 slices center-cut bacon 1
Photo Credit: Marge Perry

WHAT YOU'LL NEED
4 slices center-cut bacon
1 (15-ounce) premade pizza dough
1 1⁄2 cups part-skim ricotta
3 cups leftover Thanksgiving vegetables
1⁄2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella

HOW TO:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Cook the bacon; transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and drain. Chop.

3. Roll the dough into a rectangle to fit the sheet pan; transfer to the pan and prick in several places with a fork. Bake 5 minutes and remove from the oven.

4. Spread the crust with the ricotta, leaving a 1⁄2-inch border clear. Top with the vegetables and bacon; sprinkle with the mozzarella.

5. Bake in the center of the oven until the crust is golden and sounds hollow when tapped, about 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Grilled Mashed Potato and Creamed Spinach Sandwich

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1/4 cup mashed potatoes 2
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1/4 cup mashed potatoes
2 slices stale or lightly toasted brioche
1/4 cup creamed spinach

HOW TO:

1 tablespoon butter

1. Spread mashed potatoes over 1 bread slice. Top with spinach and second bread slice. 2. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat and grill sandwich until golden, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Makes 1 sandwich.

Turkey and red bean chili

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2
Photo Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1⁄4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 (32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups shredded cooked turkey
Shredded Cheddar cheese or sour cream for serving

HOW TO:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium high. Add the onions and pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, coriander and cayenne, if desired, and cook, stirring, for a minute.

2. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, oregano and  1⁄2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until slightly thickened, 20 minutes.

3. Stir in the beans and turkey and simmer, uncovered, until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with Cheddar cheese or sour cream on the side. Makes 6 servings.

Turkey Hoisin Rice Bowl

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 1
Photo Credit: Marge Perry

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup dry quick-cooking brown rice
23/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 cups baby spinach
12 ounces cooked turkey breast, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

HOW TO:

1. Toast the sesame seeds in a soup pot over medium heat until lightly browned; transfer to a bowl to cool.

2. Add the rice, 13/4 cups of the broth, hoisin and sesame oil; bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a gentle simmer and cover. Cook 8 minutes.

3. Stir in the spinach and remaining 1 cup of broth; place the sliced turkey and red pepper strips on top of the rice and cover the pan; simmer another 8 to 10 minutes, until the turkey is warmed and the rice cooked through.

4. Use a spatula to transfer the turkey and red peppers to a plate. Spoon the rice and broth into four bowls. Fan the turkey and red peppers over the rice; sprinkle with the scallions and sesame seeds and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Turkey enchiladas

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas 2
Photo Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups enchilada sauce, divided
1 1⁄4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1⁄2 cups cooked shredded turkey
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

HOW TO:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Stack tortillas, wrap in a clean, damp kitchen towel, and microwave until warm and pliable, about 1 minute.

3. Spread  1⁄2 cup enchilada sauce over bottom of prepared pan. Combine cheeses in a medium bowl, reserving  1⁄2 cup cheese for topping.

4. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, spread 3 tablespoons cheese across center of tortilla, sprinkle with turkey and onion. Roll tortillas tightly and place, seam side down, in baking dish, to form 2 columns across width of dish.

5. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining  1⁄2 cup cheese. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Maple Turkey Stuffed French Toast

Be patient and lower the heat if necessary
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

Be patient and lower the heat if necessary while cooking the French toast. A full 10 to 15 minutes in the pan will ensure that the sweet potatoes are heated through when you're ready to eat.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 (1 1/2-inch thick) slice brioche or challah
1/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes
2 ounces sliced leftover turkey
1 tablespoon butter

HOW TO:

1. Whisk together egg, milk and maple syrup in a shallow bowl.

2. Cut the bread slice almost in half lengthwise, creating two connected slices. Spread sweet potatoes in between bread slices. Stuff with turkey.

3. Add sandwich to bowl with egg and let stand 2 minutes. Turn and let stand another minute.

4. While bread is soaking, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add butter, melt and cook French toast until golden, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Makes 1 sandwich.

Gingerbread Muffins with Cranberry Swirl

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Photo Credit: Eve BIshop, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark (not blackstrap) molasses
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
1/4 cup coarse sanding sugar

HOW TO:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in molasses.

4. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk and finishing with flour.

5. Divide batter equally among 12 prepared muffin cups.

6. Place a teaspoon of cranberry sauce into center of each muffin. Use a skewer, moving it in a figure eight motion, to swirl cranberry sauce. Sprinkle each muffin with sanding sugar.

7. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes in pan. Remove muffins from pan and let cool completely on rack. Makes 12 muffins.

Turkey-Cranberry salad

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1/2 cup canola oil, divided
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan, Recipe by Elmer Rubio

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1/2 cup canola oil, divided
2 corn tortillas
3 tablespoons cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon rice (or wine) vinegar
Salt and pepper
4 cups mesclun greens
8 small slices turkey breast

HOW TO:

1. Pour 1/4 cup canola oil into a skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, fry the tortillas, turning occasionally, until they just start to brown around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Place on paper towels to drain.

2. In a small bowl, combine cranberry sauce and vinegar. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup canola oil and whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Toss greens with some of the dressing (you probably will have some left over).

3. To assemble the dish: Place a fried tortilla on each plate, top with half the salad mixture, then lay the turkey slices on top of the salad. Drizzle additional vinaigrette on top. Makes 2 servings.

Cheddar Melt with Cranberry Sauce and Mustard

Chevre or Brie may be substituted for the
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

Chevre or Brie may be substituted for the Cheddar if you like.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
2 slices whole-grain bread, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons or more cranberry sauce
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

HOW TO:

Preheat broiler. Spread mustard on 1 side of each bread slice. Place slices on a baking sheet, mustard-side up. Spread cranberry sauce over each slice. Top with cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbling. Serve immediately. Makes 2 open-faced sandwiches.

Bacon, Brussels Sprouts and Egg Muffin

If Brussels sprouts are not part of your
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

If Brussels sprouts are not part of your Thanksgiving meal, you may use any other green vegetable. Green beans or sauteed spinach would both be good.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1/4 cup chopped Brussels sprouts, room temperature
1 English muffin, split and lightly toasted
1 slice crisp-cooked bacon
1 teaspoon butter
1 egg
Salt
Ground black pepper

HOW TO:

1. Arrange Brussels sprouts on bottom half of English muffin. Cut bacon slice in half and place on top of Brussels sprouts.

2. Melt butter in a small skillet. Fry egg until white is set and yolk is warm. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, slide over bacon, and top with top half of English muffin. Makes 1 sandwich.

Turkey chilaquiles

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1⁄2 cup sour cream 1⁄4
Photo Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

1⁄2 cup sour cream
1⁄4 cup milk
1 (28-ounce) can peeled whole tomatoes, drained
1⁄2 to 1 canned chipotle chili in adobo
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1⁄2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups low-sodium canned chicken broth
8 ounces tortilla chips
1 1⁄2 cups shredded cooked turkey
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges

HOW TO:

1. Combine the sour cream and milk in a small bowl.

2. Combine the drained tomatoes and chipotle chili in a blender and blend until smooth.

3. In a saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil.

4. Stir the tortilla chips into the liquid. Cover, turn off the heat, and let stand 5 minutes.

5. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with turkey, drizzle with sour cream mixture, sprinkle with cilantro and serve with lime wedges on the side. Makes 4 servings.

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