7 Football Foods That Tackle Thanksgiving Leftovers

Even the most avid turkey fans start to flag on the third or fourth day of Thanksgiving leftovers. Thankfully, watching football provides a perfect opportunity to use up those last bits of the meal in new and exciting ways. Have some friends over to watch the game and whip up some finger foods, snacks, and other munchies offering one last piece of Thanksgiving in every bite.

These 7 recipes using Thanksgiving leftovers make wonderful dishes to eat during the game.

1. Turkey Jack Quesadillas With Cranberry Salsa

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Use up the last of the turkey and cranberries with these easy-to-make Turkey Jack Quesadillas With Cranberry Salsa from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. Turkey, scallions, and gooey Pepper Jack are packed together in tortillas, then cooked to a crisp — but the cranberry salsa is what truly makes the dish special. It’s packed with flavors of cumin, cilantro, apple, and lime for a truly distinctive dipping sauce.


For salsa:

  • 1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 small apple, cored and finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced

For quesadillas:

  • ¼ cup sliced scallions
  • 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cooked turkey
  • sour cream, for serving

Directions: To make the salsa: Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the quesadillas: Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the scallions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Remove from the pan. Lay 4 of the tortillas out on your work surface. Top each with about 2 tablespoons of cheese, then ¼ of the scallions, about ½ cup turkey, and then 2 more tablespoons of cheese. Top each with another tortilla to finish assembling.

Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray again. One at a time, cook each of the quesadillas for about 2 minutes per side, or until the tortillas are golden brown and the cheese has melted. Cut into wedges and serve with the cranberry salsa and sour cream.

2. Cheesy Green Bean Casserole Sliders

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

These Cheesy Green Bean Casserole Sliders from Tablespoon can be whipped up in a snap using just a handful of ingredients. Melted brie cheese is draped over layers of green bean casserole and turkey (for the non-vegetarian option), all rested upon a buttery dinner roll. For extra texture, add a fresh layer of crispy onions — the type you’d find on the traditional green bean casserole — on top. The recipe takes 15 minutes to make and yields 4 servings.


  • 4 dinner rolls or slider buns
  • 1 tablespoon butter, per slider
  • 1 ounce brie cheese, sliced, per slider
  • ¼ cup turkey, per slider
  • ⅓ cup green bean casserole, per slider
  • 2 tablespoons french fried onions, per slider

Directions: Heat up turkey and green bean casserole in the microwave for about 30-60 seconds. Butter the outside of the dinner rolls or slider buns.

Assemble sandwiches in following order: bread, brie, turkey, green bean casserole, fried onions, more cheese, bread. Heat skillet over medium heat and grill until bread is brown and toasted and cheese has started to melt. Flip and repeat on the other side. Serve hot!

3. Buffalo Turkey Pizza

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

It just wouldn’t be game day without one buffalo-style dish. Turkey is the stand-in for chicken in Erica’s Recipes’ delicious Buffalo Turkey Pizza. Flavors of ranch dressing, onion, and hot sauce are melded with crunchy bell pepper and gooey, melted mozzarella cheese for an unbelievable dish to enjoy during the game. And if Thanksgiving didn’t already knock the wind out of your culinary sails, you can even make your own dough from scratch.


  • 1 store bought pizza crust
  • ¼ cup ranch dressing (original or spicy)
  • 1½ cup cooked turkey or chicken meat, chopped
  • ¼ medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ large green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
  • Hot sauce for sprinkling
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with the pizza stone (if using) on the middle rack. Once the oven is ready, continue to heat the stone in the oven an additional 10 minutes to make sure it is fully heated. Remove the pizza stone from the oven. Put the pizza dough or prepared crust on the stone.

Layer, in order, the ranch dressing, turkey or chicken, veggies, and cheese. Sprinkle hot sauce over top. Finish by grinding fresh cracked pepper over top. Put the stone with the pizza back in the oven and cook 10-20 minutes, depending on the crust you are using and its thickness, until cheese is melty and crust is toasty. Remove from the oven and serve.

4. Turkey Egg Rolls With Cranberry Dipping Sauce

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

For a low-maintenance makeover for the remains of your Thanksgiving feast, try these Turkey Egg Rolls With Cranberry Dipping Sauce from Fortune Goodies. Crispy egg roll wrappers cradle delicious turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, while leftover cranberries — with the added flavors of orange juice and maple syrup — make a wonderful complement to this savory filling. The recipe yields about 12 egg rolls.


For the egg rolls:

  • Egg roll wrappers, about 12
  • 2 cups stuffing
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1½ cups diced turkey
  • vegetable oil for frying

For cranberry dipping sauce:

  • 1 cup canned cranberry jelly
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions: Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat until it reaches 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare egg rolls: With an egg roll wrapper at a diagonal, top with about 2 tablespoons of stuffing, 2 tablespoons of mashed potatoes and a sprinkling of diced turkey.

With a small dish of water at the ready, roll the bottom corner of the wrapper over the filling and give it a little tuck. Fold in the left and right corners, dipping your finger in the water to brush the corners to seal them. Continue rolling up until closed and wet and press and seal the last corner down. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.

Once the oil reaches 360 degrees Fahrenheit, use tongs to drop in egg rolls for frying. Keep batches to 2-3 egg rolls at a time. Turn occasionally and fry until the wrappers turn golden brown and cooked throughout. Remove egg rolls from the oil when ready and transfer to a paper towel lined plate or cooling rack to drain and cool.

To make the cranberry dipping sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine cranberry jelly, orange juice and maple syrup. Cook sauce until bubbling, reduce heat and let simmer and reduce for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve alongside Thanksgiving egg rolls.

5. Thanksgiving Turnovers

Puff Pastry

Source: iStock

These Thanksgiving Turnovers are a great finger food for voracious football fans to enjoy without taking their eyes off the game. A Family Feast notes that you should feel free to add almost any combination of Thanksgiving side dish leftovers to this dish — odds are, you’ll end up with delectable results. It’s highly recommended that you do incorporate sweet-tart cranberry sauce into the mix, as it ties the flavors together beautifully. This recipe takes 50 minutes to make and yields 8 turnovers.


  • 4 ounces cold leftover cooked turkey, chopped
  • 4 ounces cold leftover stuffing, broken up
  • 4 ounces cold leftover turkey gravy
  • 4 ounces leftover cranberry sauce
  • 2 ready-to-bake puff pastry sheets
  • 1 egg

Directions: Preheat oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thaw both puff pastry sheets per box instructions for 40 minutes. While pastry sheets are thawing, in a small bowl, mix turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. Mix just to incorporate the ingredients

Once dough is thawed, take each sheet and cut into four squares, for a total of eight squares. Divide filling between the eight squares keeping the filling in a triangle to one side. One at a time, wet two sides around filling with a tiny dab of water with your finger. Lift the opposite unfilled corner and bring it to the filled corner to make a triangle over filling and pinch two corners together. Lift it up and cup it in your hand and gently pinch all sides closed. If the filling starts to squeeze out, push it back with a spoon or your finger.

Repeat for all eight, making sure they are tightly sealed and place on parchment lined sheet pan with tips slightly turned to each other making a “U” shape. You will likely need two sheet pans to fit eight in the oven.

Mix egg with a teaspoon of water and with a pastry brush; brush the tops of each turnover.

Place pans in the oven and bake until browned and puffed, somewhere between 15-25 minutes depending on your oven – rotating the pans halfway through the baking to ensure even cooking.

6. Turkey Enchiladas

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

If you’re getting tired of all the typical post-Thanksgiving flavors, break the mold by using La Creme de la Crumb’s recipe for Turkey Enchiladas. These enchiladas spice up your leftover turkey with a hint of cumin, adding flavorful black beans, irresistibly-melted cheeses, and enchilada sauce to the mix for flavor. This comfort food is the perfect simple solution to serve football fans, taking just 30 minutes to make and yielding 4-6 servings.


  • 2 cups cooked shredded turkey
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican style cheese (cheddar, colby jack, monterey, mozzarella)
  • 12 (8-10- inch) tortillas
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce
  • optional: chopped cilantro

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a casserole or baking dish.

Lay tortillas out on a clean flat surface. Distribute black beans and shredded turkey between each tortilla and lay it out in a strip right down the middle of each tortilla. Sprinkle cumin over black beans and turkey. Divide one cup of cheese between each tortilla, sprinkle the cheese right on top of the black beans and turkey.

Spread 1 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of prepared baking dish. Roll up each tortilla and place side by side in the dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted (including cheese inside the enchiladas) and tortillas start to brown a little bit. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired; serve warm.

7. Panko Crusted Stuffing Balls

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Stuffing is one of the most popular dishes on the Thanksgiving table, yet somehow those leftovers seem to stick around forever. Dinner Vine’s Panko-Crusted Stuffing Balls are a convenient, crispy finger food, perfect for serving your friends and family during the game. They’re slightly spiced and even a little cheesy, offering something for everyone. You can even heat up your leftover gravy to use as dip for these savory bites.


  • 2-3 cups leftover stuffing
  • 2 heaping cups Panko bread crumbs
  • Several slices of pepper jack cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  • Dried parsley
  • Leftover gravy, heated as dip

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice pepper-jack cheese into ½-inch slices.

Roll stuffing into 3-inch balls around several small cheese slices (or a cube of cheese) at the center, completely concealing within the stuffing. In a shallow dish, combine about 2 cups Panko, salt and pepper to taste, ½ teaspoon paprika, and a few dashes of dried parsley.

In an adjacent shallow dish, lightly beat egg and combine with about a ½ cup of milk (add additional egg and milk as necessary to make more stuffing balls). Coat each ball in egg wash mix completely, then immediately dredge in seasoned Panko crumb mix, pressing so crumbs stick all around stuffing, liberally.

On a non-stick cookie sheet, or greased regular sheet, arrange stuffing balls evenly spaced and bake approximately 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and heated throughout. Let crisped balls cool for a couple of minutes on pan. Serve stuffing balls with a side of warmed leftover gravy as a dip.