Every year, Americans throw out 200 million pounds of turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner wound to a close. That’s a startling amount of food being tossed out, and it doesn’t even include the leftover gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie, and other decadent dishes. Cut back on your food waste (and support a strong body, mind and immune system) with these healthy meal ideas that reinvent your leftovers and give your Thanksgiving dinner a second life.
Leftover Stuffing Muffins
Turn last night’s side dish into this morning’s healthy breakfast. You’ll get all the flavors of your favorite stuffing recipe, but we’ve powered it up with:
- Lots of protein to help turn your stuffing into a stand-alone, well-balanced dish
- A healthy dose of calcium and other key minerals
- Immune-enhancing antioxidants and compounds from herbs like fresh parsley
Enjoy these muffins on their own or take it to another level by dipping them in your sauce leftovers, such as gravy or cranberry sauce!
3 1/2 c leftover stuffing
1 c of leftover cooked turkey, cooked or shredded
6 eggs, ideally local and organic
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While your oven is preheating, whisk the eggs, milk, parsley and salt together into a bowl.
Grease a 12-cup muffin tin, then fill each muffin cup 3/4ths full with the stuffing. Sprinkle some turkey on top, then pour the egg-and-milk mixture on top before garnishing with shredded cheddar cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown on top.
One-Pot Easy Turkey Leftovers Soup
There are only so many times you’re going to want to eat that leftover turkey on its own or in a sandwich. Keep boredom at bay with this one-pot turkey soup using all your leftovers. Because it’s a one-pot dish, it saves you time and dishes (two things you’re probably short on by the time the Thanksgiving holiday is over).
Best of all, it’s a great way to add a heaping amount of immunity-enhancing vegetables to your diet. You’ll get a high dose of vitamin A from the carrots, digestion- and metabolism-enhancing fiber from the celery, and powerful antioxidants from the onions. The result? A steaming bowl of deliciousness that is tasty, cozy, and may even be a magical treatment if anyone in your family is struggling during this cold and flu season.
2 tbsp grass-fed butter
2 c thinly sliced carrots
1 c celery, chopped
1/2 c sweet onion, chopped
1 c water
43.5 oz chicken broth
1 c elbow noodles or macaroni noodles, uncooked
2 1/2 c leftover cooked turkey, shredded or cubed
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Place a large pot on your stovetop and melt the butter before sautéing the carrots, onion and celery. Saute for a couple of minutes or until the onions are soft and fragrant, then add the broth and water and boil for 10-15 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and boil for another 10 minutes or until the noodles are al dente. Enjoy!
Leftover Turkey Casserole
This is the perfect make-ahead-and-cook-later dish, ideal for prepping on Sunday and heating up on a hectic weekday morning. And it’s a true leftover recipe, incorporating not only the rest of your Thanksgiving turkey, but also your leftover gravy! Finally, its full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help balance out your holiday indulgences.
4 tbsps grass-fed butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 c turkey gravy
1 c whole milk
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups cornbread, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 c leftover turkey meat, chopped or shredded
1 c frozen peas
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped frozen green beans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and heat the butter. Whisk in the flour, gravy, milk and cheese, and whisk constantly to distribute the flour evenly.
Add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the gravy, mix well, and pour into a 9-inch by 12-inch baking dish. Pour the gravy on top of the casserole and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!