What To Do With Leftover Turkey & Cranberry Sauce?

I can handle one or maybe two meals of the leftovers after Thanksgiving but after that I am so ready for some new flavors! Turkey is a fairly neutral flavor so it lends itself well to other cuisines. Go ahead and substitute it in any of your favorite recipes that call for cooked chicken. We had a 21 pound turkey on Thursday and there is no way we can eat up all the leftovers this week. No problem – turkey freezes really well. I prefer to bag it up in 4 ounce freezer zip lock bags. That way I can defrost however many bags I need for a given recipe. It makes for some easy meal prep in the busy weeks leading up to Christmas. We can all benefit from that!

Some of my favorite tried and true favorite recipes for using up that leftover turkey and cranberry sauce include:

If you like a little something spicy Turkey Jambalaya is your dish. See the recipe here. You can make this spicy or mild depending on your taste buds.

After all that bland food I’m ready for some Mexican flavors with this easy to prepare White Chili. This recipe came from my friend Judy and I have been making it for years. It is quick and easy using pantry items. You probably have everything in stock to make this right now. What are you waiting for?

Italian food is always a crowd pleaser and this Pasta Bake with Basil is quick and easy to prepare with a delicious Alfredo sauce. Sub your leftover turkey for the chicken. The Alfredo sauce from this recipe works well with any combination of pasta and vegetables. Creamy and cheesy – need I say more?

You won’t believe the transformation that takes place with that leftover cranberry sauce and turkey until you take your first bite. This salsa made with cranberry sauce, fresh pear, cilantro and a jalapeno pepper is amazing! Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa is going to be on your list of favorites!

This Creamy Chili – Corn Soup makes use of pantry items but it is super flavorful and tastes like you went to a lot of work to make it. Canned creamed corn adds flavor and thickens the chili. The Cornbread scones are also one of my favorite side dishes with soup, chili and stew.

This salad dressing uses some of  your leftover cranberry sauce transforming it with the most wonderful combination of flavors. The sweetness of the dressing is the perfect contrast to the sharp flavor of blue cheese. Toss in some walnuts or pecans, pears, red onions and if you want to make this a main dish salad add some diced leftover turkey as well. Pear Walnut Blue Cheese Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette should be on your menu today! Seriously it is that good – trust me you are going to love this salad. Have I ever let you down?

Nutmeg Notes

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. We enjoyed an amazing day with our daughter’s boyfriends family. They are from Honduras and it was an honor for us to treat them to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the dishes and flavors were new to them. Everyone seemed to enjoy making their own butter and it was a nice ice breaker activity to keep everyone busy while we put the finishing touches on the meal. The big hit of the day food wise for them I would say had to be the Praline Yams. A special treat for us was the incredible Flan, Anna brought to share. It was silky smooth with a rich caramel sauce. I can’t wait to try making one myself. After dinner we played bingo and a card game called spoons. It was a day filled with joy, laughter and good eats! We can’t wait to have them over for dinner again.

I would share photos with you but it seems that my computer died overnight and it appears to be for good this time! I am working on Hubby Tom’s computer this morning and of course I don’t have access to my photo gallery! This afternoon we will be computer shopping. What a pity we missed out on the Black Friday computer specials! Oh, well that is how things go sometimes.

We decided not to cook the ribs for Thanksgiving and so we invited some friends to come over tonight for smoked ribs. I will be making an easy polenta side dish and some oven roasted broccoli. We have cheese and crackers and a veggie tray for appetizers. Our guests are providing a salad and dessert. One more big meal and then it’s back to healthier eating for us!



Add Your Thoughts

What was the highlight of your Thanksgiving meal?

Do you have leftovers and if so what are you doing with them?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


No ping yet

  1. Kiri W. says:

    Crazily enough, the turkey was! I don’t know how my hostess managed, but it was the juiciest, moistetst, tastiest bird ever!
    We do have leftovers, but since I’m not hosting, they aren’t my responsibility 😉

    1. Tami says:

      Awesome! Our turkey was super moist too – even the breast meat!

  2. Jan says:

    Thanks again for enticing recipes.

    Our hostess sent us home with some leftovers. We can’t even finish off our doggie bags!

  3. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    From what I’ve read, the best computer deals are yet to come!

    No leftovers here–that’s the advantage/disadvantage of eating Thanksgiving Day dinner out. 🙂

    1. Tami says:

      We actually got a pretty good deal so I am happy.

  4. Carol says:

    It sounds like your Thanksgiving was perfect…good food, good company and new friends!

    It seems so long ago that we had our Thanksgiving! One of my favorite meals of leftovers is Turkey Shepherds Pie…a Martha Stewart recipe that I tweaked. And I cook up the bones for broth and enjoy soup made from it during the winter.

    Tami, I made your breakfast egg muffins again with greater success…I bought new muffin tins but Ii decided to try using cupcake liners..actually they are extra large parchment cups from Safeway and I sprayed them well. Nothing stuck to them and they turned out perfect! Oh,I did add about 1/2 cup of thawed hash brown potatoes to the mix..very nice!
    I thank you again for a great recipe and my sister also sends her thanks…. these are her favorite work breakfasts!

    1. Tami says:

      Carol I have not seen those parchment cupcake liners you talked about. I will have to look the next time I’m in Safeway.

      Do you have silicone muffin pans? I don’t have any but I think they would work great for the egg muffins.

      I’m so glad that you and your sister are enjoying that recipe! Good to know that the hash browns work – Katy wants me to try that too.

  5. Tiff says:

    After all the food I’ve eaten lately, I should choose something lighter. However, it’s the pasta bake that really looks great to me!

  6. Sharon says:

    The highlight of our meal was the turkey. It was one of the most moist and juicy I can every remember.

    She would throw all leftovers away (this is a family trait which has always been a source of frustration to me as I can’t tolerate such waste), so we bring all the leftover turkey home with us including the carcass. I freeze the turkey as you do, but make broth from the carcass which I also freeze.

    Your day sounds delightful. What a kind and generous family you are with such a heart for hospitality!

    1. Tami says:

      I don’t understand not using the leftovers either Sharon! Such a shame. At least you get to have them!

      Several of us had turkeys that were moist and delicious this year. My mom said the turkey breast she made was amazing and so moist, ours was delicious too.

      I have never made soup from the carcass – I know- can you believe it? One more thing to add to my list of things to make.

  7. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving! I think the “make- your-own-butter project” is such a brilliant idea! Sorry your computer died for good… Hope you found a good replacement.

    I’m not too crazy about Thanksgiving leftovers “as is.” I made a pot of turkey soup and mini turkey pot pies with a mashed potato crust (http://www.andreaswellnessnotes.com/2011/11/what-to-do-with-thanksgiving-leftovers.html) which is my favorite way to eat Thanksgiving leftovers.

    Have a great dinner with your friends tonight!

    1. Tami says:

      Andrea the make your own butter was a hit! It was a nice ice breaker and got everyone to laughing and talking right away. I saved the jars and will do it again some time.

      Thank you for the link to the recipe I am off to check it out.

      I did get a good deal on a computer – now the work of transitioning everything over to it begins. It’s a process for sure.

  8. Tami says:

    I hear you about the good being no dessert – we are left with pie, flan, cookies and a huge bowl of freshly whipped cream!

    We got a good deal on a computer so I am happy! 🙂

  9. Roz@weightingfor50.wordpress.com says:

    Hi Tami. OOOH…amazing looking leftover turkey recipes. So sorry to read that your computer has finally succumbed to whatever was ailing it! However, sounds like it has been replaced though, so all systems go! (literally and figuratively) Have a great week ahead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.