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Healthy meals to use up Thanksgiving leftovers

By Wendy Ruopp, November 14, 2012 - 10:08am

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Healthy meals to use up Thanksgiving leftovers

We have an open-door policy when it comes to Thanksgiving: we welcome in anyone who turns up. Especially this year, when the wild fall weather has made travel planning difficult and unpredictable, chances are a lot more people will be staying closer to home. Their last-minute plans mean I’ll want to cook a big turkey, to make sure we have enough. Chances are good that I’ll go overboard (Thanksgiving math always trips me up—is it 20 ounces per person or 20 minutes per pound?) and that means leftovers.

Good—I love leftovers. They call for creativity and resourcefulness so it doesn’t taste like you’re eating the same thing night after night. Here are 5 dinner recipes that use leftover turkey in deliciously new, healthy ways.

Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice SoupTurkey Soup: My mom always ended Thanksgiving Day with a big pot of soup simmering on the back of the stove and I like to do that too. This year, try using your leftovers in this healthy recipe for Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup. After all the cooking you’ve been doing lately, an easy dinner that’s ready in 35 minutes is something to celebrate.

Warm Winter SaladTurkey-Topped Winter Salad: Sometimes (especially after a few days of pie at every meal), I’m just craving more vegetables. That makes this recipe for Warm Winter Salad a welcome way to turn turkey leftovers into a healthy main course dinner salad.

Sweet Potato-Turkey HashTurkey Sweet Potato Hash: If you didn’t get your fill of sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving (or if you have some leftover sweet potatoes as well as leftover turkey), may I suggest this delicious Sweet Potato-Turkey Hash for dinner tonight?

Crispy Turkey TostadaCrispy Turkey Tostadas: When I’m ready to change things up, I take my leftovers south of the border for Crispy Turkey Tostadas. The creamy avocado, zesty salsa and crisp tortillas make for a snappy supper that’s also ready in a snap—just 35 minutes.

Turkey & Leek Shepherd’s Pie: I like to keep the cozy Thanksgiving feelings going with a classic comfort-food casserole like this Turkey & Leek Shepherd’s Pie (pictured above). It helpfully combines your leftover turkey with healthy vegetables (leeks, carrots, peas) in a creamy sauce. It’s also a great excuse to eat more mashed potatoes!

Don’t Miss: Cheesy Pasta and More Recipes with Leftover Turkey

Turkey & Leek Shepherd’s Pie
The mashed potato–covered shepherd’s pie was originally created to use up the leftovers from a festive roast. This version blends peas, leeks and carrots with diced turkey, all in a creamy herb sauce. The dish is a perfect way to create a second meal with the holiday turkey but if you like, use leftover roast chicken, duck or goose.

This Recipe is Part of Food Network's
Communal Table: Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving Communal Table

In honor of Thanksgiving, Food Network is getting the entire food community together to celebrate a Virtual Thanksgiving, called The Communal Table, on Wednesday, November 16 at noon EST. EatingWell is bringing the ever-popular healthy version of Green Bean Casserole.

See what our friends are bringing to the table and tell us what you would bring to the table on Twitter by using the hashtag: #pullupachair.

Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads:

Devour: Maple Pecan Baked Brie Spiced Thanksgiving Cocktails


FN Dish: Black Pepper-Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey


YumSugar: South-Meets-West Squash Casserole
Food Republic: Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Macaroni and Cheese
Healthy Eats: Kid-Friendly Gluten-Free Honey-Cherry Stuffing
Fox News: Sweet Potato Grits


Food52: Meta Given's Pumpkin Pie Maple-Frosted Pumpkin Bars
BlogHer: Pumpkin Spice Caramels

Thanksgiving Leftovers:

EatingWell: Turkey and Leek Shepherd's Pie
The Daily Meal: Ultimate Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich
Eatocracy: Stuffpuppies

What do you make with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Wendy Ruopp, Food Blog, Dinner, Entertaining, Family meals, Holidays, Quick meals, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Countdown

Wendy Ruopp
Wendy Ruopp has been the managing editor of EatingWell for most of her adult life. Although she writes about food for the Weeknights column of EatingWell Magazine, her husband does the cooking at home.

Wendy asks: What do you make with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

Tell us what you think:

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