Thanksgiving Leftover Recipe Ideas for the Suncoast

It’s that week of the year as we gear up for Thanksgiving later this week. Food is always the labor of love that goes into Thanksgiving feasts around the country. Seldom can we plan to have just the right amount of turkey, potatoes, greens, and such to eat it all up? If your home is anything like mine, there will be leftovers galore following the big day. Eating the same thing day over day might not appeal to your family, so we compiled a great list of a few ideas on how to use those leftovers in dishes for days after Thanksgiving – take a look:

Leftover Mashed Potato Pizza

Pizza is one of those comfort foods that come in so many flavors. There is one for everyone. To add to your catalog of pizza options this holiday, we are throwing in a mashed potatoes pizza recipe. Mashed potatoes are a staple of many holiday dinner tables, but we are going to bet you haven’t had them done up this way before.


  • 5 ounces slab bacon, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 pounds prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
  • All-purpose flour
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes, slightly warm
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 leek (white and light green parts only), very thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 ounce)
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional


  • Put a pizza stone on the bottom rack in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat a small skillet over medium heat, add the bacon, cook until the fat renders but is short of being crisp, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal portions; form each into a ball.
  • Roll a portion into a 12-inch round on a floured surface (cover the other piece with a kitchen towel).
  • Lightly dust a pizza peel with flour and put the dough on the peel, drizzle lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Slip the dough onto the preheated stone and cook until just set, about 4 minutes.
  • Using the peel, remove the dough from the oven and spread half of the mashed potatoes over the top, leaving about a 1-inch border around the side.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Then sprinkle half of the cheese on top and top with half of the bacon, leek and garlic.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil.
  • Return the pizza to the stone and cook until the crust is golden and the cheese melts, about 5 to 7 minutes more.
  • Remove the pizza, top with half the grated Parmesan and scatter with some basil leaves and pepper flakes, if desired.
  • Serve. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.

Day After Thanksgiving Turkey Pho

This amazing option is sure to give that leftover turkey new life. With amazing fragrant spices, rice noodles, and such, this soup is sure to be a great addition to those after-Thanksgiving recipe ideas. Great for the cooler weather and all ages to enjoy.

Turkey Pho
Photo courtesy of AllRecipes Magazine


  • 1 whole cardamom pod
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seed
  • 1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
  • ½ onion, peeled (Optional)
  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 8 cups water, or more as needed
  • 1 (16 ounce) package dried flat rice noodles
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup shredded leftover cooked turkey
  • 1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil leaves (Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (Optional)
  • ¼ onion, thinly sliced (Optional)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chile-garlic sauce (such as Sriracha®), or to taste (Optional)


  • Toast the cardamom pod, cloves, star anise, fennel, and coriander in a small skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Place the spices onto the center of a 8 inch square piece of cheesecloth.
  • Gather together the edges of the cheesecloth, and tie with kitchen twine to secure.
  • Sear both sides of the ginger and 1/2 onion in the same skillet until lightly charred, about 3 minutes on each side.
  • Place the turkey carcass, water, sachet, ginger, and onion in a large pot over medium-high eat.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2 hours.
  • Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
  • Once the water is boiling, stir in the rice noodles, and return to a boil.
  • Cook the noodles uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the noodles have cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Drain well in a colander set in the sink.
  • Remove the carcass, sachet, ginger, and onion from the soup.
  • Strain the soup to remove any meat that may have fallen off the bones, if necessary.
  • Season with fish sauce and salt.
  • Divide the rice noodles and turkey meat evenly into 4 large bowls.
  • Scatter the basil, cilantro, and sliced onion on top.
  • Ladle the soup on top.
  • Serve with a wedge of lime and hot sauce.

Fried Stuffing Bites with Cranberry Sauce Pesto

Stuffing goes great with that succulent turkey for Thanksgiving, and now we have found the perfect way to use it for someday after snacks. Additionally, this savory bites recipe can use the leftover cranberries for a unique dipping pesto sauce that is sure to have your mouth watering.

Cranberry recipe
Photo by Tara Donne, courtesy of Food Network


  • Oil, for frying
  • Leftover stuffing
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnuts


  • Preheat oil to 350 degrees F.
  • Cut leftover stuffing into bite-sized cubes and set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk eggs and milk.
  • Coat each stuffing bite with this egg wash, then dredge in the bread crumbs until fully coated and set aside.
  • In a food processor blend cranberry sauce, pepper and walnuts and set aside.
  • Once oil is at temperature fry each piece of stuffing until golden brown about 4 minutes.
  • Drain on a paper towel and serve with cranberry pesto.

Anytime Turkey Chili

Chili is such a versatile food. Is it a soup, or is it a stew – it defies all definitions. This week though, we are going to use that leftover turkey to create a new take on this old favorite with this recipe. Add your own seasoning or vegetable choices and enjoy.

Chili Thanksgiving
Photo courtesy of Taste of Home


  • 2/3 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups cubed cooked turkey breast
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, optional


  • In a large saucepan, saute the onion, green pepper, oregano and cumin in oil until vegetables are tender.
  • Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Stir in the beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, broth, water, brown sugar, chili powder and pepper; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add turkey; heat through. If desired, top with cheddar cheese.

Are your taste buds watering yet? Maybe some of you have a few of your tried and true recipes on this list or found a new one you are going to try this year. Whatever the case, we hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and some amazing leftover surprises for the days afterward. Enjoy!

Feature photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

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