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Recipes To Transform Thanksgiving Leftovers Into New, Delicious Meals

Some may argue that the day-after-Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich is just as good as (if not better than) the Thanksgiving meal. But there are usually more leftovers than can fit in one tiny sandwich. Don’t let that delicious food go to waste! Instead, repurpose it all in these day-after-Thanksgiving leftover recipes.

Leftover Turkey And Wheat Berry Salad With Cranberry Vinaigrette

Photo by fANNEtastic food.

Sadly, an estimated $282 million of uneaten turkey winds up in the garbage bin on Thanksgiving night, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Rather than throw out the bird that you spent so much time preparing, recreate it into a delicious whole grain salad. Wheat berries are the base of this salad, offering a nice and chewy texture. Mixed into the whole grains are leftover turkey, apples, pecans and parsley–all topped with a cranberry vinaigrette. It has all the tastes of Thanksgiving, but it’s way healthier!

Leftover Mashed Potato Puffs

Photo by Simply Sissom.

While warm and buttery mashed potatoes are amazing on Thanksgiving night, they never taste the same the next day. That’s why this creamy treat is a great ingredient in a new recipe. This creative version combines mashed potatoes, spices and eggs to make a delectable portion-controlled breakfast option. That way, you can start your mornings with mashed potatoes all week long.

Cranberry Orange Relish

Photo by Nutrition Starring YOU.

The thing about cranberry sauce is that it’s usually loaded with sugar. This treat is a nutritious alternative to that cranberry sauce for Turkey Day or any day thereafter. The recipe calls for ground ginger, which adds a pop of flavor. Add it to everything from turkey sandwiches to cottage cheese and Greek yogurt.

Turkey And Stuffing Waffle

Photo by 360 Family Nutrition.

Yup, you read that right. This amazing concoction combines turkey and stuffing and puts it in a waffle press for a savory breakfast treat. Bonus points if you top it with cranberry sauce. Eating Thanksgiving dinner for breakfast may just become your new Black Friday tradition with this recipe.

Thanksgiving Breakfast Frittata

Photo by Kara Lydon.

Technically, this recipe is all about using leftover Thanksgiving vegetables to make a veggie frittata. But the best thing about this is that you can make it any time of year. Brussels sprouts and squash are abundant in the winter months, making this a great thing to throw together for a weekend brunch. No one needs to know it’s healthy and simple to make (besides you).

Leftover Turkey And Quinoa Soup

Photo by Living Well Kitchen.

If your Thanksgiving food coma lasts three days, you might find yourself on a self-inflicted soup diet. This is just the recipe for you! It combines leftover turkey meat with a hearty broth and good-for-you quinoa. The best part about soup is how quickly it comes together in a big batch–so you have food all week long.

Cinnamon Sugar Pinwheel Cookies

Photo by Mom’s Kitchen Handbook.

If you were brave this year and made your own pie dough, don’t throw out the leftovers. Instead, make these cinnamon and sugar pie dough cookies. What’s more fun than baking some delicious goodies during a long weekend?

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Photo by Nutrition à la Natalie.

Your Thanksgiving or Black Friday plans probably include a run, so you’re going to need fuel. Use your leftover canned pumpkin in this subtly sweet granola. Bonus–it makes your whole house smell like pumpkin pie without baking an actual pie. And, if you’re feeling really ambitious or if you’re gearing up for a race, go a step further and make these SunButter Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars. Your taste buds will thank you.

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Natalie Rizzo

Natalie Rizzo

Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and nutrition communications expert, specializing in sports nutrition. Natalie has written for many food and nutrition publications, such as Eating Well, Spright and Food & Nutrition Magazine, and she has been featured in Fitness Magazine, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. Natalie received her Masters of Science in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. When she’s not writing, she’s creating delicious recipes, running and helping other runners reach their peak potential through food. To learn more about Natalie and read about sports nutrition topics, visit her blog, Nutrition à la Natalie or follow her on Twitter.