Escape Your Leftovers: 6 Recipes Repurposing Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving is over once again, leaving mountains of half-eaten side dishes and casseroles in its wake. Don’t fret, though, because those home-cooked foods are still just as tasty as they were on the holiday itself. All it takes is a bit of creativity to turn those dishes into new and exciting culinary creations that the whole family can enjoy.

These six recipes will help you repurpose your Thanksgiving side dishes into delectable post-holiday creations.

1. Potato-Tarragon Soup

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This Potato-Tarragon Soup is an ideal way to use up your holiday leftovers. Not only is it a soothing, savory comfort food, but because it uses leftover ingredients, it’s also halfway done before you’ve even begun! Simply whip up a quick roux and simmer with the potatoes and milk to reach desired consistency. Season lightly with salt, pepper, olive oil, and tarragon to achieve a sophisticated taste in just minutes. This recipe from 40 Aprons yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups stock, chicken or veggie
  • ½ to 1 cup milk
  • 2½ cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt, to taste
  • White pepper, to taste
  • Herb oil or olive oil for drizzle (optional)
  • Additional fresh parsley or tarragon, chopped, for garnish

Directions: Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion in melted butter until soft, about 5 minutes, then add garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, about 1 minute, or until deeply aromatic.

Sprinkle flour over and cook into a deep, golden-brown roux, about 2 to 5 minutes or so. Add in stock and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer until a little thickened, about 5 minutes. Add in potatoes and ½ cup milk; whisk until smooth. Heat through. Add in additional milk until desired consistency is reached.

Blend either with immersion blender or in batches in a blender to desired consistency. Stir in herbs and season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with additional fresh herbs and a drizzle of oil, optional.

2. Sweet Potato, Honey, and Goat Cheese Pizza

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Simply Sated’s Sweet Potato, Honey, and Goat Cheese Pizza offers a medley of irresistible flavors, blending tart goat cheese with honey and sweet potatoes for a truly unrivaled taste. A drizzle of your preferred balsamic vinegar after baking provides an exceptional finish, resulting in a dish the whole family will love. This recipe takes about an hour and 15 minutes to make and yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups leftover mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 ounces honey goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Preferred balsamic vinegar

Directions: Take a puff pastry sheet out of the fridge to let warm on the counter a few minutes. Lightly flour your work surface and roll the puff pastry to a thin layer. Cut out four 2¾-by-5½-inch rectangles. Prick each rectangle all over with a fork. Place the pastry rectangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet 2 to 3 inches apart. Place the pastry in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once pastry has sat in fridge for an hour, remove it from the fridge and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Next, brush a thin layer of sour cream over the pastry, leaving a ¼-inch border all around. Spread leftover sweet potatoes over pastry, keeping the border clean. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Crumble with honey, goat cheese, and pine nuts and bake 20 to 25 minutes.

While pizzas are cooking, combine olive oil, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove pastries from the oven, then brush each with the olive oil mixture. Bake 10 more minutes until crust is golden-brown (including underneath). Remove from the oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Enjoy!

3. Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms

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The best part of these Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms — aside from how utterly delicious they are — is that half the work is already done for you. Using leftover stuffing allows you to skip over the most time-consuming part of the dish, meaning you just have to combine a few simple ingredients, place it in the oven, and enjoy! You’ll end up with a delicately herbed, creamy, and flavorful stuffing-based mixture inside a hearty portobello mushroom. Lemon Tree Dwelling’s recipe takes 25 minutes to make and yields 4 stuffed portobello mushroom caps.

Ingredients:

  • 4 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed (reserve stems for filling)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1½ cups cooked butternut squash, diced
  • 1½ cup stuffing
  • ⅓ cup onion, minced
  • ⅓ cup portobello mushroom stems, minced
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • ½ cup shredded cheese

Directions: Rub outside of each portobello mushroom cap with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add onions, mushrooms, sage, and pepper and cook over medium-high heat until onions are tender. Add stuffing and butternut squash and cook to heat through. Fill each portobello mushroom cap with 1 ounce of cream cheese and ¾ cup stuffing mixture.

Top each mushroom with 1 tablespoon chopped pecans and 2 tablespoons shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Cranberry-Turkey Panini With Goat Cheese Aioli

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We all love the sweet, tart taste of cranberry, which acts as a wonderful balance to the savory flavors of turkey, cheese, and more. The Messy Baker Blog shares this Cranberry-Turkey Panini With Goat Cheese Aioli as a sophisticated means of using up all that leftover cranberry sauce (and turkey, if you have it). No panini maker is necessary for this dish — simply cook it up stovetop on a skillet. This recipe takes about 10 minutes to make and yields 1 sandwich.

Ingredients:

Goat cheese and tarragon aioli

  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper

Sandwich

  • 2 pieces of crusty bread
  • ½ cup cooked turkey, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup baby spinach
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons goat cheese and tarragon aioli

Directions: In a small bowl, add goat cheese and lemon juice. Mix with a rubber spatula to combine. Stir in tarragon, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. While the pan is heating, assemble the panini. Slice the bread about a ½-inch thick. Smear one side of the bread with the goat cheese aioli. Place the turkey on the other slice of bread and top with the cranberry sauce and spinach. Place the cheese-smeared slice on top and place assembled panini in the skillet.

Top the panini with a slice of aluminum foil, then place a heavy skillet directly on top of the panini and press down. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until the bread is golden-brown. Slice and eat.

5. Mini Green Bean Casserole Frittatas

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Coming up with new and interesting concepts for leftover green bean casserole is always a challenge after the holiday. Luckily, She Knows has just the solution for recipe seekers in need: Mini Green Bean Casserole Frittatas. Combining your leftover casserole with just a few staple ingredients will result in wonderful miniature frittatas that are sure to be a hit. You can even try this recipe with other leftover casseroles — broccoli, ham, or any savory bake springs to mind. This recipe yields 12 mini frittatas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup leftover green bean casserole
  • 6 whole eggs and 6 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup feta cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the green bean casserole, eggs, and garlic powder; season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into each muffin tin, top each frittata with cheese, and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops of the frittatas are golden brown.

6. Mashed Potato Gnocchi

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Once you’ve tried homemade gnocchi, it’s safe to say you’ll never return to the store-bought variety. This Mashed Potato Gnocchi recipe from Macheesmo offers a handy shortcut for making these delightful potato-based bites: In several quick steps, you’ll transform your leftover mashed potatoes into soft, savory dumplings. If you have a dough cutter on hand, it will prove helpful in cutting the dough into gnocchi-sized pieces. Before you cook the gnocchi, be sure that the water is at a simmer, rather than a full boil, or else you might risk tearing apart the fresh, soft dough.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, maybe a bit more
  • Pinch of salt

Sage butter sauce

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cooking water from gnocchi
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions: For gnocchi – Measure out exactly 2 cups of mashed potatoes. Add an egg yolk and mix. Add a pinch of salt to the dough, then stir in about a cup of flour. Depending on the consistency of your potatoes, you may need more flour. Add flour incrementally until dough is fairly dry and no longer sticky. Knead this a few times to make everything is combined well.

Once dough is ready, chop it into 4 even pieces. Then, use your hands to roll one of the pieces into a long strand of dough. Try to make it about ½-inch in diameter. Once strand is rolled, chop strand into individual dumplings (gnocchi). Once your gnocchi are chopped up, use a fork to put the signature grooves in each dumpling — these will help the gnocchi hold on to the sauce.

To cook, simmer a large pot of salted water. A good ratio is 1 tablespoon kosher salt for each gallon of water. Simmer gnocchi for several minutes. When they are done, they will rise up to the top of the pot.

For sage butter sauce — Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet, then stir in 2 tablespoons of cooking water from the gnocchi. The salt and starch from the water will help the sauce come together. Add a tablespoon of fresh sage and a pinch of red pepper flakes for some spice.