The Thanksgiving meal is usually eaten in 2 parts in our family. There is the main meal, and it is usually eaten again for dinner. By the time everyone is finished, there isn’t much left. What is left is usually turned into some really good meals. I was on the look out for how to use our family leftovers and thought I would share with you 17 Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas to go along with my 10 Thanksgiving Side Dishes Worth Sharing.
Always make extras
The first step to having leftovers is to always make extra. For the holidays, I usually double my recipes. This usually guarantees that there will be leftovers. I only want to cook once if possible, since I’m making so much. With this plan, you have a greater chance of having leftovers.
I have large baking pans since I have a large family, but for the holidays I usually use aluminum pans. There are 2 reasons for this. The first reason is that I don’t have to worry about leaving my pans behind. Secondly, this means fewer dishes to wash later. I know lazy, but I really don’t care. By the time I’m done eating, I’m tired.
Leftovers are frugal
I’m always about frugality when it comes to my food. Right now I’m feeding 8 people, but for Thanksgiving, I’m feeding anywhere from 13 to 18 people. This is small compared to what it has been in the past. When I was little we would fit about 30 people in my grandparents’ house. It was crazy.
If my grandma taught me anything it was frugality. She would use leftovers for several days. It was important to her, a child of the depression, to not waste food. My husband told me his grandma used to rebatch soap from soap scraps. These women truly knew what it meant to be frugal.
Leftovers save you time
I know you ladies, you are going to stand over a hot stove and fix an amazing meal. You are going to go out of your way to feed your family the best meal of the year. After they have scarfed down in 10 minutes, the food you spent all morning and part of the previous day preparing, you will get up and clean up. All of that work GONE!
The problem is it doesn’t last for long. These people expect to eat more than one meal a day. What do they think you are? Their personal chef? This is where the leftovers come into play. The food is already cooked. All you have to do is throw it together into something new and heat it up. Voila! You have created something new, with very little effort.
17 Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas
This post is dedicated to Grandma Raymer, who according to my husband was is the Casserole Queen and could turn any leftovers into something amazing for several days. No one went hungry, and everyone was thankful.
One last tip: use disposable plates, forks, cups and baking containers. This is something I talked my mother-in-law into doing a few years ago. While my sisters-in-law love the pretty dishes, don’t get me wrong they are beautiful. I came not only to eat, but to visit with family. While this can be done doing the dishes, it really isn’t my ideal of relaxing.