Beyond the Turkey Sandwich: 7 Delicious Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers

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For the past couple years, I’ve made it a point to help procrastinating Thanksgiving cooks with easy, affordable menu ideas to get their Turkey Day festivities going. As much as I love it this holiday sneaks up on me every year, and I know I’m not alone in this. (Which is why I’ve created a special Thanksgiving Menu Ideas Pinterest board just for you, in case you still haven’t gone shopping. You might want to get started on that soon, lol.)

This year, however, I thought it would be fun to look ahead to the day after Thanksgiving. No, not that evil, ridiculous display of overblown consumerism that’s starting to seep into the last precious moments of Thanksgiving time with loved ones, and which people have the nerve to consider a “holiday” now (can you tell I’m not a Black Friday fan?) – I mean LEFTOVERS DAY. That wonderful time of the year when the ginormous meal that made you pass out during Uncle Fred’s 897th retelling of the time he taught a squirrel to play fetch, becomes even better the next morning.

Thanksgiving leftovers often get a bad rap because people don’t think outside the box enough and stick with boring things like dry turkey sandwiches. Now, I’m a huge fan of turkey sandwiches (good ones, not the dry, bland kind), but come on now… there’s a lot more you can do with such a fantastic bird. And all the rest of those leftovers like stuffing and mashed potatoes.

I like to start Leftovers Day with a smaller repeat of my T-Day spread, and always have plenty of my mom’s Arroz con Pavo on hand (a great way to use up a lot of that leftover turkey meat), so I actually eat really well the first couple weeks after the big feast. But after that, I’m pretty much in food math mode and start putting things together in new ways. Not only does it help to clear out some much needed fridge space, mixing it up a bit also keeps things far less boring.

If you like these recipes, awesome! If not, I hope they will, at the very least, inspire you to think beyond the turkey sandwich and come up with your own fantastic leftover creations. I have a couple more ideas that I’ll be posting once I actually have leftovers to work with, so be sure to stay tuned for those this weekend!

And now for some tasty li’l leftovers… (Title links to recipe.)

Spicy Turkey & Chipotle Pepper Soup

Warm, spicy chipotle-flavored broth with tons of veggies and plenty of tender turkey makes this a fall and winter favorite at Chez Poor Girl!

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Get rid of turkey and mashed potato leftovers in one delicious, comforting swoop! A perfect excuse to prepare more gravy from those tasty turkey drippings, too.

Creamy Mashed Potato & Turkey Soup

Another great way to turn classic comfort food into another warm & cozy winter meal.

Candied Orange Yam Empanadas

I really need to re-shoot these (this was from a good 3 years ago, well before I had the practice I have now), but trust me, the end result is phenomenal! It’s a rather lengthy post since there are several recipes in it, so feel free to scroll down to the very end of the post for the recipe. Unless you have some time to check out the other ones… ; )

My Mom’s Arroz con Pavo

This has been a post-Thanksgiving staple in our family for as long as I can remember! It’s healthy and incredibly easy to prepare. To get the most nutrition bang for your buck, use brown rice instead of white. (Hint: it tastes even better with some pique on top, the recipe for which you can find in the previous post for the empanadas.)

Colcannon Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Uh, Poor Girl, St. Patrick’s Day is in March, not November. Yes, I know this, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have mashed potatoes any day of the year. Plus, colcannon is really just that: mashed taters with some bacon & greens mixed in. How much easier could it get? : )

Spiced Sweet Potato & Carrot Puree

Love your sweet potatoes but don’t have enough to last you a bit longer? Stretch them out with some carrots to create this deliciously spiced side that goes great with just about everything this season.


I hope you all have a wonderful, safe, and utterly delicious Thanksgiving holiday!

written by

singer. writer. artist. champagne taste, 2 buck chuck budget. good cook. kooky. chocoholic. patron saint of cats. talker. listener. thinker. sometimes to a fault.

4 Responses to "Beyond the Turkey Sandwich: 7 Delicious Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers"

  1. sarah says:

    The shepards pie looks delish! A good leftover idea for monday for lunch!

  2. Sherry Bailey says:

    Dang, girl, those first three pictures (in particular) look fantastic! I don’t even like chipotles, but that soup is making my mouth water! Your food photography is getting to be outstanding!

  3. Katie says:

    I made the Shepherds Pie for dinner and it was really tasty! Such a great idea to use up all the leftovers :)

  4. Deb says:

    Soup was one of the things I did with our turkey leftovers to use up the last bit. I was able to use up the last of the TG veggies as well, so it was cheap and delicious!


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