Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers & Gratitude

by Marla on November 25, 2011 · 52 comments

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The PERFECT Thanksgiving Turkey on

We were all anticipating the BIG day of feasting. How did it go? Who sat at your Thanksgiving table this year? Were you home or did you travel far away or perhaps to a nearby restaurant? No matter what you did I hope it was glorious!

Whether you enjoyed a vegan, gluten free or carnivorous day I hope you have plenty of leftovers. One of the best parts of this foodie holiday is the party in your fridge.

The after party…

Family Portrait on Family Fresh Cooking blog

Did you have a few minutes to bless the meal? How about a gratitude list? Here we discussed what we are grateful for…beyond the food. Health and love are the themes that stick. Always.

Amazing how little the kids are in that family photo. It was shot 4 years ago in Laguna Beach by the lovely and talented Don Romero.

Little pinecone Thanksgiving turkey craft on holiday place setting

This year it was just the four of us. Myself my hubs and my 8 year old daughter and 4 year old son. I wanted them to feast on the richness of the holiday with food that energized them to go on with the day…

The PERFECT Thanksgiving Turkey on

The nice thing about having Turkey Day in your own home is that you can reach out and touch the turkey. Especially when your mom is a photographer and lets you explore everything.

Part of the joy of being a kid is that each and every experience is new and unique.

After weeks of making turkey cutlets, it was fun to pull out the bug guns. Great inspiration was all over the web but two turkey prep posts I kept on going back to were Cookin’ Canuck’s and Georgia Pellegrini’s. These gals know their big birds. For more I also looked at this guide from Whole Foods.

Our turkey was a great success! Thanks ladies…

The PERFECT Thanksgiving Turkey on

We enjoyed our feast at noon. After I did yoga. That left lots and lots of time to play. We also saw the new movie Arthur Christmas.

Family Fresh Cooking Thanksgiving blog post

It was very cute and now both kids believe in Santa more than ever. In the movie Santa delivers presents in some space aged gizmo. I am trying to convince them that he still cracks the whip and has a dozen reindeer with Rudoulph guiding the way.

We all know Santa rides in a sleigh and slides down the chimney. Right?

Before I dive more into Christmas, let’s talk leftovers shall we?

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Tarts on ©

Have you ever noticed that it is fun to dig into the Thanksgiving left overs for about two meals and then your palate tires of them? No worries friends, I have your back. Adding ingredients from your feast to these recipes with re-ignite the Thanksgiving passion. Meal after meal….

Please remember to pack those meals in your lunch boxes too.

Let’s start with a Thanksgiving Monte Cristo! A sandwich packed with turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and brie. Use any cheese you have on hand. Any would be delicious, really.

Thanksgiving Monte Cristo | GREAT way to use those Leftovers!

Everyone’s favorite Mexican food can be converted into all sorts of  leftover meals.

Here are two options for tostadas…you can also make quesadillas. Instead of stacking the ingredients you can sandwich them together between tortillas.

Option 1: Thanksgiving Style

Thanksgiving Tostadas on

Option 2: Mexican Style

Thanksgiving Tostadas on
Last week I shared these Thanksgiving Pizzas with you guys. They are amazing. Instead of tomatoes, leftover mashed sweet potatoes make the sauce. Creamy goat cheese, sweet figs and turkey round it all off.

If you do nothing else please make these…manage to find a way.

They will make you giddy.

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Fig Pizza on

Frittatas are always a great way to use up ingredients too. With a side salad or some steamed veggies they make the perfect meal. Here is my Baby Peas and Cheese Frittata. Add some of that shredded turkey.

Go on! Serve up with a side of those sweet potatoes while your at it.

Cheese and egg frittata with sunflower sprouts and sweet potatoes

Wanna use up all that cake and pie? You know you do.

Mash it up and layer it with some fat free greek yogurt. That way you can feel a little less guilty, maybe you will even still fit into those skinny jeans after the holidays.

Make your parfait look something like this

Greek yogurt parfait with gluten free chocolate pecan date cake

You can also make some Sweet Potato Oat Crisps.

I hope I have inspired you with this round up. Have a happy long weekend and never forget to be grateful for the little things.

Little boy and little girl playing with stuffed animalsThanksgiving Leftovers Recipe Links

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cassie [Bake Your Day] November 25, 2011 at 10:57 am

These all sound perfect. Tons of leftovers to use up today. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving Marla!


2 Marla November 25, 2011 at 11:01 am

Thanks Cassie…we did have an awesome day! Now what to do for the next three 😉


3 Rosa November 25, 2011 at 11:11 am

Lovely clicks and great recipes! Leftovers are always very useful.




4 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Love the reminders…the Mexican pics….great ‘mood’ setting in that pic. The colors, scene, vibe, so authentic.

Hope you and the fam are having a relaxing day! :)


5 Marla November 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Averie, hope you guys are having a great day too! Where are you these days? I am thinking somewhere sunny…Aruba perhaps? I need to check your blog. xo


6 susan November 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Sounds like you had a fabulous day, Marla. Enjoy your family and all that you have! xx


7 Amanda November 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Such lovely thoughts Marla… looks like you have the right idea about what this holiday is all about! :)


8 Marla November 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Amanda, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with that sweet family of yours :)


9 Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] November 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm

It sounds like you had a lovely and intimate Thanksgiving. I enjoyed mine as well. It was close family, aunts uncles and cousins. Some I don’t see that often, so it was perfect! AND Yes, Santa does ride a sleigh with 12 reindeer. I’m a believer!


10 Marla November 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Allison, thanks for confirming that reality about Santa. Exactly what I thought. Glad to hear you had such a great Thanksgiving with your family. When I grew up we used to have it with a bunch of relatives that lived close by. Great memories from those times :)


11 Yummy Mummy November 25, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Awesome post, Marla. Gorgeous photos and beautiful leftovers. Happy (post)Thanksgiving!


12 Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet November 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Happybelated Thanksgiving Marla! We had a lovely “Friendsgiving” again this year with great friends who all have family far and wide like we do. It’s becoming quite a tradition. Glad you had a lovely day!



13 Marla November 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hi Heather! A friendsgiving sounds like a great time :) I could use one of those right about now!


14 Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet November 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Come on up! We have plenty of food. :)


15 Katrina November 26, 2011 at 3:46 am

Looks like you had a lovely Thanksgiving! That turkey is crazy beautiful! Awesome.


16 Marla November 26, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Thanks Katrina. I am mighty proud of that bird. He was really tasty as well…..thank goodness!


17 Bev Weidner November 26, 2011 at 6:45 am

I love this! And thank you for including me. :) Now I’m hungry again.


18 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. November 26, 2011 at 8:26 am

great leftover recipes! Awesome photos girl!


19 Sharyn Dimmick November 26, 2011 at 10:24 am

We try to segregate our leftovers, rather than combine them — it’s the flavor combinations we get tired of. The rotation: turkey-apple stew with the leftover dark meat, gravy and stock, plus new apples and carrots. Then turkey and noodles with the white meat and stock. Then it’s on to turkey tacos. We eat roasted yams plain anyway. Pie is not a problem.

Your photos are beautiful, as always.


20 Marla November 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Thanks so much Sharyn! We keep everything separate too. Much easier to create all those new, unique flavors. Can let the taste buds get tired 😉


21 Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} November 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

Love all the leftovers!!! Everything looks delicious but that Thanksgiving Monte Cristo has my name on it!


22 Marla November 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Krista, great choice girl. That Monte Cristo is a gem :)


23 Yvette ~ Muy Bueno November 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Gorgeous photos! Wish I would have had time to snap some pictures of our Thanksgiving. We hosted and had 20+ friends and family in our home. Very few leftovers but we did have some yummy turkey enchiladas last night 😉


24 Marla November 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Hi Yvette, with 20 guests it is a bit tricky to pop those photos. I only had time because it was the 4 of us . Simple & un-rushed. Also, at the time of day there was perfect light (noon) Trust me, there are many times when I need to just let it go and enjoy events without the clicks. Glad to hear you had such a wonderful Thanksgiving too! Congrats on successfully hosting so many. Turkey enchiladas sound wonderful.


25 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers November 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I love the idea of the Thanksgiving Taco’s. I’m going to give that a try tonight! Love all the photo’s, looks like you and your family had a lovely day.


26 Marla November 26, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Hi Jennifer! Tacos are a great way to use those leftovers. I think tomorrow it will be soup :)


27 bridget {bake at 350} November 26, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Gosh, everything looks DELICIOUS!!! Sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family! ♥ I think small Thanksgiving dinners are nice sometimes….really relaxing with lots of time to just *enjoy.*

Can’t wait to see you soon!!!


28 Marla November 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Bridget, the nice thing about small is no stress. I am more a small gathering kind of gal anyways. I think next year we will go bigger….my dad’s 70th b’day will be that week. We MUST be with him to celebrate :)
I can’ t wait to finally meet you….less than one week away!! xxoo


29 Kristina Vanni November 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

So many great ideas here…leftovers have never been so fun!


30 Marla November 26, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Kristina, truly leftovers rock my world. Good thing there are still some left to round off the weekend!


31 Jen at The Three Little Piglets November 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Those all sound so good! But I’ve already eaten all of my leftovers! Glad you had such a great day with your family.


32 Kathleen November 26, 2011 at 10:11 pm

YUM! Leftovers are the best! :)


33 Alyssa (Down To Earth) November 27, 2011 at 7:38 am

Thanksgiving Mexican-style quesadillas…winner! That just might be dinner tonight. And, maybe I missed it, but did you ever find a name for your pine cone turkey?!?


34 Marla November 27, 2011 at 8:13 am

Alyssa, glad you asked. My friend Lucy from Ladles and Jellyspoons mentioned that they have a pet guinea pig named “Pinecone.” I guess we might just stick with that?! I hope your quesadillas come out great!! xo


35 Miss Charming November 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

So happy I found your blog. (Gorgeous photography!)


36 Lucy November 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Love leftovers – and happy Pine Cone has a feathered friend! Do your kids know how lucky they are to have a supermom like you? xxx


37 Marla November 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Lucy, wait a minute – I thought you were supermom? Perhaps we can share capes? I am so in love with all the crafts you did for the holidays….love the pine cone turkey’s and the glittered pumpkins!


38 Angie @ Bigbearswife November 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Looks like you had a great Thanksgiving.

We had 3 Thanksgivngs. haha, well 2 big ones and then a small breakfast one. I was blessed to be able to spend time with my family and with husbands :)


39 Marla November 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Angie, sounds like a great three Thanksgivings!! I am digging the idea of the breakfast one…did you serve anything special? Like pumpkin pie for breakfast?


40 Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} November 28, 2011 at 4:09 am

we celebrated just the three of us and since it was our first vegan Thanksgiving it was a little bit challenging at first. Once I had my menu up and started cooking, was a breeze and we enjoyed every moment. Seems like you did too!

p.s. thanks for the coconut sweet potato recipe, tasted better that I anticipated!


41 Kitchen Belleicious November 28, 2011 at 4:58 am

Okay your kids are precious and all the leftover recipes look to die for. I am thinking I don;t just want the sweet potato crisp dessert thing today but rather I NEED that today. it looks amazing


42 Amy November 28, 2011 at 5:27 am

Great leftover ideas! That Monte Cristo caught my eye.

(That last picture of your kids is precious.)


43 Faith November 28, 2011 at 9:34 am

Such a sweet post, Marla…hope you had a great Thanksgiving!


44 Donna November 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Wow. Beyond Turkey Tetrazini – WAY beyond – your T-Day leftovers are so incredibly creative!


45 Nancy@acommunaltable November 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Wonderful post Marla and congrats on your first “big bird” roast! I am thankful for so much – especially having my oldest home from college for the holiday!! Great collection of “post Thanksgiving” recipes – sadly, this year we didn’t have enough leftovers to recycle (tends to happen with teenage boys – just warning ya!!)


46 Marysol November 29, 2011 at 6:17 am

Oh, I love your Thanksgiving feast!
But I’ll tell you, I would’ve been just as happy with your wonderful leftovers!


47 Aggie November 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Oh Marla, seeing that pic of you with your babies got me all sentimental. Our kids are such blessings aren’t they? Love the food & photos in this post. Hope you had a great holiday!!


48 Marla November 30, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Aggie, they are the biggest blessings in the world! Yes, indeed :)


49 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers November 17, 2012 at 9:35 am

Everything looks amazing! Now you have me looking forward to Thanksgiving leftovers! I better make extra this year!


50 Marla November 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Jennifer, that is a great idea!


51 Amy November 22, 2012 at 10:53 am

Thank you for including a link to my Prosciutto-Wrapped Turkey, Avocado & Swiss Panini. Much appreciated, Marla! It’s SO delicious. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


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