For those who take their Christmas shopping seriously, the day after Thanksgiving is of utmost importance. They’re up at the crack of dawn to make sure they’re at stores' doors right as they open. But after six hours of shopping, they’re in dire need of refueling (and perhaps a bloody mary) come noon — brunch anyone? Invite all the shoppers back to your home for a midday respite and transform all your leftovers into brunch favorites, like pumpkin soup, cranberry cream-cheese crostini, sweet potato quiche, and even a turkey salad with cranberries. Just be sure to greet guests at the door with cocktails in hand — bubbly topped off with a spoon of cranberry sauce.
If you’re always looking for unusual ways of dressing up your leftovers, this is a party for you. Invite all your friends over for what they think is a night of board games and leftovers. But instead of serving up your traditional sandwich smorgasbord or chili fiesta, use all the leftovers in unpredictable ways to create a truly unique spread of dishes. Serve up stuffing balls, deep-fried until crisp like arancini. Reinvent the green bean casserole and roasted vegetables into a hearty salad studded with dried cranberries. For the star dish, chop up the turkey and use it to make a turkey cake. Simply mix the meat with a little stuffing and gravy and mold into large patties. Layer the turkey with a frosting of mashed potatoes and squash. Serve up slices of the layered creation drizzled with a bit of gravy "sauce." For dessert, use any leftover pumpkin to make pumpkin custards, and serve along with bite-sized tarts made with leftover cranberry sauce. Then challenge each guest to figure out which Thanksgiving dish went into the making of each item you serve.
If you’ve got a fridge full of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and potatoes, and a house full of cooks, add a healthy dose of competition to your post-Thanksgiving plans with a little cooking challenge. Instead of setting up a help-yourself buffet at lunch, have two teams of cooks recycle what’s leftover and present their dishes to the rest of the group. Teams earn points for creativity, taste, and of course, presentation. The award? Not having to clean up the kitchen.
Thanksgiving is a completely American meal, but that doesn’t mean you can't have a little fun when all is said and done. Employ a little creative license when making use of leftovers! For a festive get-together after all the family has left, serve friends a post-Thanksgiving feast with an international twist. Begin by reading our tips for setting the scene. Transform that turkey into Thai summer rolls and a West Indian turkey curry. Use the mashed potatoes to make Italian gnocchi and transform leftover squash and green bean casserole into Mexican-inspired enchiladas (with all the Thanksgiving flavors, of course).
In the wake of Thanksgiving and Black Friday festivities, the appeal of a night in is irresistible. There is a marathon of Christmas movies on TV, friends at home, and a fridge full of leftovers. So pull out those retro TV dinner trays and put them to good use — host a low-key turkey TV dinner night straight out of the '50s.
Thanksgiving leftovers don't need much dressing up here. Place the turkey with an ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes in one spot, peas in a second. And be sure to place a slice of pie in the third. Serve with a side of gravy in a jar with a faux Swanson label.
Everybody loves comfort food. So, instead of the same-old turkey sandwiches and turkey soup meal the day after Thanksgiving, invite friends over for a pot pie potluck. Have each guest bring along a pot pie featuring whatever leftovers they have, from a Southern-style sweet potato biscuit-topped pie or stuffing-topped pot pie to a Mexican-inspired variation on the classic turkey pot pie with a cornmeal crust instead of pastry. Whomever hosts is in charge of the booze (and if you have room, dessert). Click here for tips on hosting a potluck.