9 Ways to Put Your Holiday Leftovers To Use

by Victoria Le Maire, RD, LD

Last Updated: December 9, 2020

Knowing that the holiday season is looking different for many this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, we know that regardless of where you have your meal—leftovers shall appear! We’ve rounded up our top nine favorite ways to use holiday leftovers. Whether you have stuffing, potatoes, turkey, or pie, these recipes will be sure to bring you a whole new reason to be thankful for leftovers.
  1. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
    Think of this as an innovative way to repurpose your favorite dessert or to use leftover pumpkin puree. Use one 2” slice of pumpkin pie to the recipe if you no longer have any puree. To make this into a milkshake, add one to two scoops of vanilla ice cream for a truly decadent treat!
  2. Turkey Cranberry Sandwich
    This classic method of using leftovers will feel like having Thanksgiving but repurposed as a quick weeknight meal! Pro tip—swap out the mayonnaise for 1/4 of smashed avocado to get a boost of heart-healthy fats. The recipe also includes a butternut squash soup recipe to help round out your meal with a bright, vegetable-based item. Did you know that butternut squash has over 450% of our recommended daily value of Vitamin A? Vitamin A is vital for eye health and is involved in immune function, reproduction, and cellular communication.
  3. Cranberry Meatball Skewers
    Put that remaining cranberry sauce to good use and try out this savory dish that can either be served as an appetizer or included in your entrée. We recommend using a lean source of protein, like ground chicken, to make these meatballs. The American Heart Association recommends aiming for only 5-6% of our calories to come from saturated fat, as it can put individuals at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Ground chicken has 2 grams of saturated fat per serving, which makes it an optimal choice to help you live your healthiest life!
  4. Slow Cooker Turkey, Spinach and White Bean Soup
    This slow-cooker soup explodes with flavor and uses an easy, hands-off method to prepare a nutrient-packed meal that will taste as good as it looks! We recommend shredding your turkey breast and adding it to the crockpot in the last couple of hours of cooking.
  5. Sweet Potato Hummus
    You can thank us later for this inventive way to make hummus with all those leftover sweet potatoes. Whether they’re mashed, sliced, or diced you can use them in this recipe. This hummus is a combo of sweet and savory will surprise you and your taste buds. Try adding this hummus to a veggie wrap, or create your own hummus flatbread pizza!
  6. Individual Turkey Pot Pies
    This is a great way to make use of not only your turkey but also your leftover mashed potatoes. Swap out the puff pastry on top for mashed potatoes. These personal-sized pies will help with portion control without sacrificing flavor. Pro tip: Include your leftover green beans in here to transform into an entrée.
  7. Bell Peppers with Stuffing
    Stuffing is arguably one of the most popular items on the Thanksgiving table, but you may be left with more than enough the next day. Try filling up some bell peppers for a satisfying spin on a classic side dish.
  8. Bone Broth
    Even if your family gobbled up all the turkey meat, you could make a clever dish out of the bones and carcass. Broth is a key player in many recipes like chili, soups, and even to trade out water for when cooking rice. Broth can also be for sipping, to warm the soul on a frigid winter day. The recipe keeps for ~5 days in the fridge; however, we recommend freezing it to enjoy it year-round.
  9. Festive Cranberry Water
    This can be served day-of or anytime thereafter for a fruity and hydrating beverage that is not only delicious but also an eye-catching addition to any table. This four-ingredient recipe consists of unsweetened cranberry juice, lime juice, fresh cranberries, and sparkling water.

    Directions:

    In a stemmed glass, combine ¼ cup of cranberry juice, 1 tbsp. of lime juice, 1 tbsp. of fresh or frozen cranberries and 1 cup of sparkling water. Serve over ice and enjoy!

The holiday season includes some of the most anticipated meals of the year. Why not transform the extra food into satisfying plates that keep giving for days after the holidays are over. Happy holidays to all!

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.


Victoria Le Maire, RD, LD

Victoria Le Maire, RD, LD

Victoria is a dedicated dietitian with a love for helping others develop a positive relationship with food, while setting realistic goals. Victoria has professional experience with various conditions such as strokes, diabetes and weight management. She strives to make a nutritious lifestyle attainable for all. You can catch Victoria scratch-cooking at home, trying new workouts at her local gym or spending time with her dog, Jack.