The tastes of a holiday needn’t be gone when the day is done: Think leftovers.

In some households, hello “always hungry teens”, leftovers from especially festive meals are unheard of. But one of the best time-honored traditions in many homes is the chance to eat the holiday meal all over again.

It’s one reason experienced cooks make more of a holiday dish than is able to be finished in one sitting. Next day’s open-face turkey (or ham, roast beef, pork…) sandwich with gravy relives the holiday and stretches the budget.

Be prepared as you plan for the seasonal festivities and deliberately add a little extra of the sure-fire favorites just so you can try the following leftovers recipes. Easy and adaptable for any meal or occasion


As tasty as the main meal itself, yet different.

1 pkg. (6 oz.) stuffing mix

 4 C coarsely chopped leftover roasted turkey

 2 C leftover or frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, peas), thawed

 3/4 C mayonnaise

 3 C leftover mashed potatoes

 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

 1/8 tsp. paprika

Heat oven to 375ºF. Prepare stuffing as directed on package; spread onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Combine turkey, mixed vegetables and mayo; spoon over stuffing. Mix potatoes and cheese; spread over turkey mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Serve with cranberry sauce or mix the cranberry sauce with leftover applesauce. Makes about 10 servings.

Note: This casserole can be made with almost any sort of main meat, like ham, roast beef, chicken. You will still need the stuffing, or substitute coarse, rather than fine, bread crumbs. Not enough potatoes? Add rice; brown and long-grain are especially nice with a meat casserole.


A bisque is more festive than soup, and perfect for company

2 C cooked turkey or any holiday leftover meat

1/4 C onion, diced

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 C carrot, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 Tbsp parsley

4 C turkey or chicken or vegetable stock

4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbs butter, softened

4 Tbs flour

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 C half and half

1 C sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

In a large soup pot, heat oil and add onion, green pepper and carrots. Cook for 3-4 minutes to blend. Add meat and garlic to the pot and stir together, then cook until garlic is fragrant and softened, stirring once or twice.
Add stock and bring soup to a boil. Cook until all veggies are heated through but not limp. In a separate pan, heat butter to very warm and add flour a tablespoon at a time to the heated butter, stirring with each addition. Continue heating over medium heat, whisking to combine flour with heated butter. You don’t want lumps. Remove from stove when flour and butter are blended, but don’t let cool too much.

Add the half and half, the sour cream or yogurt, the flour blend, and parsley and Worcestershire sauce to the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring several times. Serve with added sour cream garnish, if desired. Makes about 6 servings and stores well, covered, in fridge.

Note: This bisque, stuffed with veggies from leftovers, is just as festive and delicious with any vegetables on hand, not just those from the holiday. Great for potluck suppers or lunches the next day or so from the holiday.


A great use of leftover sweet potatoes

1 3/4 C cold, cooked sweet potato leftovers, mashed

1/2 C light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. grated orange rind

1 3/4 C milk

2 eggs, well-beaten

Pastry for a one-crust pie (from store or home-made)

3/4 C heavy cream, whipped or canned whipped cream product

1 C orange sections, peeled

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Force the cooled mashed sweet potatoes through a sieve, into a bowl. Add sugar, salt, ginger and orange rind and stir to blend well. Mix the milk and eggs with the potato blend and stir until smooth and lumps are gone.

Roll pastry crust to 1/2 inch thickness and line a 9-inch pie pan with it. Brush with melted butter and turn the potato filling into the crust, smoothing it out to the edges. Bake for 10 minutes in the 450 degree oven, then reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Bake pie 30 minutes longer, or until the filling is like a firm custard. Set aside to fully cool.

When cold, top with whipped cream and garnish with orange sections (remove any membranes) and serve cold.

By Jean Redstone

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Swedesboro NJ
October 2, 2022, 12:57 pm
real feel: 44°F