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Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we all know what that means. Food! Heaps of delicious, savory, comfort food. This year we want to remind our customers that you can have a large luxurious meal without letting those leftovers go to waste.
Reducing food waste not only saves you money and time, it can also help save the planet. Every year, over 1.4 billion tons of food is wasted, and America contributes more than any other country. It’s important that we all do our part as a community to change our habits for a brighter future.
Leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner are often even better the next day, but we are usually sick of eating leftover turkey sandwiches by day 3 or 4. Surely there must be a better way to avoid wasting all of that delicious food? Thankfully, there is! If you find yourself turkey-d out at the end of Thanksgiving week, try transforming some of those classic leftovers into something new. Read on to learn seven fun ways you can use your Thanksgiving leftovers and prevent food waste.
Meal Ideas for Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
1. Turkey Pot Pie
Pot pie is the ultimate comfort food, and it's even better when made with savory Thanksgiving leftovers. If you have leftover turkey, veggies, and pie crust, you can make this dish!
Start by picking a couple of cups worth of turkey off of that huge carcass you probably have stuffed in the fridge. Once the turkey is shredded, chop up some leftover veggies into bite-sized pieces. Peas, green beans, carrots, corn, and even yams will work great in this pot pie. If you don't have enough leftover veggies you can use a cup or 2 of fresh or frozen vegetables.
Combine the shredded turkey, veggies, and some gravy to make the filling. The gravy can be leftover or made fresh. Put a pie crust on a pie plate and put the filling in. Top with the top pie crust. Brush with egg wash or melted butter if you wish. Bake at 350 degrees for around 30-40 minutes.
2. Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole
One of the easiest ways to reuse any kind of leftovers is to make a casserole. Who doesn’t love the wholesome goodness that delicious layers of casserole bring to the table? Here’s an easy way to make a Thanksgiving leftover casserole.
First, butter a casserole or baking dish. Combine a couple of cups of shredded turkey with 3 or 4 cups of leftover stuffing. Spread the mixture evenly in the bottom of the dish. Top with leftover mashed potatoes. Any leftover veggies you have can be added to the casserole as well.
Bake at 350 degrees until mashed potatoes are golden brown and serve with gravy when done. There are many variations of this casserole, such as this recipe from Favorite Family Recipes which includes additional ingredients like cranberry sauce and corn.
3. Turkey Soup
Thanksgiving happens during soup season, so it makes total sense to make some warm, comforting soup from leftovers! To make a flavorful soup, start by sauteing some chopped veggies in butter. You can add any leftover veggies you have. Peas, carrots, green beans, corn, potatoes, celery, and onions will all work well.
Add some minced garlic for an extra layer of flavor. Add approximately 6-8 cups of chicken or turkey broth or stock. Season your soup to taste with salt and pepper. Also consider adding thyme, rosemary, and sage.
Allow everything to simmer together for at least 20 minutes. Add in a package of egg noodles to make turkey noodle soup or made some white rice to add to each bowl of soup. A green salad and some crusty bread make this a complete and balanced meal.
4. Thanksgiving Dinner Balls
This meal idea is an enjoyable way to use up some Thanksgiving leftovers! What are Thanksgiving Dinner Balls? Basically, they are a mixture of leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and an egg or two (for binding) rolled into balls and deep-fried. When they’re done, you can dip them in gravy or cranberry sauce. Sounds amazing, right?
They are fairly popular, probably because they are simple and a lot of fun to make and eat. There are a lot of recipes for this post-Thanksgiving treat. Some variants include different vegetables or shredded cheese. Check out this recipe from Brown Sugar Food Blogfor one version of this meal.
5. Breakfast Casserole
One of the best ways to use up leftover ham is in a breakfast casserole. There are a lot of easy ways to make this casserole. One simple method starts with putting a layer of chopped ham and veggies like pepper, onion, and potatoes in a 9x13 baking dish.
Next, whisk 8-10 eggs and add a splash of milk if you want. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the eggs over the ham and veggies. Top with about 1 cup of shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until the eggs are done and the cheese is crispy.
Serve with some buttered toast or with a side of fruit salad for a filling breakfast.
6. Reuse Leftover Pumpkin Pie Filling
If your family is like so many others out there, you may end up with a few too many pies on Thanksgiving. Thankfully, there are a few ways to use up leftover pumpkin pie filling in new and yummy ways.
Leftover pumpkin pie filling can be used in recipes for cakes, donuts, and cookies. Try making something new with your leftover pumpkin pie filling this year, like these cookies from Sugared Strawberries.
7. Steak Roll-Ups
Are you sick of turkey but still have a lot of stuffing left? Try using your leftover stuffing to make steak roll-ups! A streak roll-up is a thin-sliced steak rolled up with a filling inside. Lucky for us, stuffing is a common filling!
What kind of steak do you use? Any thinly-sliced steak will work; a top-round steak is a great option. Season the meat to taste with salt and pepper or your favorite steak seasoning.
Scoop 2-3 Tbsp of stuffing onto one end of each steak. Roll the steaks up, securing them with a toothpick if needed. Brown the roll-ups on all sides in a skillet with butter to the desired doneness. Enjoy with some leftover mashed potatoes!
Bonus Idea: Share the Love!
If there is truly more turkey, stuffing, or pumpkin pie that you need, you also have the option to share. Why not pack up the leftovers (or these recipes) for friends, family, charity organization, or those in need? Make sure you pack those leftovers using eco-friendly compostable takeout containers!
Use some of the meal ideas outlined above to make the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers this year and help reduce food waste.
Speaking of reducing waste, consider using sturdy compostable tableware this year for your Thanksgiving Dinner instead of paper or styrofoam plates! learn more about compostable tableware by visiting our blog.