Repurpose Your Leftovers with These Healthy Recipes
Gathering with your loved ones over a hot meal to share laughs and gratitudes is a highlight of the holiday season. It’s the driving force behind all of the efforts you put into all of the festivities.
Thanksgiving is the poster child for good food with good people and a chance to go all out with your best recipes. But what about the day after thanksgiving? After all those hours spent prepping, cooking, and serving, what happens to all of that leftover food?
There are many healthy ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers, creating nourishing meals for the days following.
We’ve compiled some of the healthiest leftover Thanksgiving food recipes for you to try that will have you reliving the day a bite at a time.
What to Make with Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
Repurposing your Thanksgiving leftovers reduces your food waste and is better for the environment. Not to mention, you get to savor the yummy taste of your holiday food in a healthier option. There are so many different foods leftover after the holidays that you can get creative with.
While all sorts of foods are cooked on Thanksgiving day, a few holiday staples tend to get leftover. Typically, the majority of these leftover foods tend to be turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes.
Check out some of these mouth-watering recipes using these ingredients below.
Turkey Corn Chowder
Turkey is typically your most abundant leftover dish after a hearty Thanksgiving meal. With this Turkey Corn Chowder recipe from Creme de la Crumb, you can successfully repurpose it into a comforting meal that your family will enjoy.
This recipe is a simple, savory dish that only takes 30 minutes to put together. You won’t have to worry about making so many trips to the store since you’ll have most of these ingredients already at home.
Check it out for yourself below.
- 2 cups shredded leftover turkey or chicken
- Two cans cream style corn
- One can of sweet yellow whole kernel corn
- 3 cups of chicken broth
- 2 cups cubed golden or red potatoes
- One red bell pepper - diced
- One chopped celery rib
- 1 ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- One teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stockpot, combine cream-style corn, whole kernel corn, broth, celery, bell peppers, potatoes, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.
- Cover and simmer over medium heat for 20-25 minutes until potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
- Stir in turkey, then season with salt and pepper. Once the turkey is heated throughout, you can serve it.
Stuffing Stuffed Pork Chops
Revamp dinner night with this wholesome, healthy recipe from FoodieCrush. If you loved your holiday stuffing, you’d love these stuffed pork chops even more. The juicy, succulent texture of these chops is what makes them so finger-looking good.
With just a few ingredients and an hour and a half of your time, you’ll be on your way to Thanksgiving leftover heaven.
What’s In It:
- Four pork chops
- 4-5 cups spiced apple cider
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 4 cups leftover stuffing
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- Fresh sage leaves thinly sliced.
- Extra virgin olive oil
How to Make It:
- Add the pork chops to a large freezer bag with the spiced apple cider and bay leaves and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 425℉ when ready to cook
- Drain the pork chops and pat dry.
- Slice the center of each pork chop to make a large pocket.
- Stuff each chop with about 1/2 cup of the leftover stuffing.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add two chops to the skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, gently flipping the chops in the pan.
- Transfer the chops to a plate and tent with foil. Repeat with the other two.
- Add chops to pan with the stuffing side up and top each with another 1/2 cup of stuffing. Sprinkle with fresh chopped sage and drizzle with olive oil.
- Roast in the oven for 7-10 minutes depending on thickness or to 160 degrees. Remove them and serve.
Vegan Sweet Potato Pudding
Are you looking for a healthy vegan option for your Thanksgiving leftovers? Try out this Vegan Sweet Potato Pudding from Marisa Moore, a licensed dietician. This recipe can be eaten as a light, mid-day snack or a rewarding dessert after a long day.
With this recipe, you will get the most out of your leftover sweet potatoes while making healthy food choices. Learn how to make it below.
What’s In It:
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup canned coconut milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 6 Mason jars
How to Make It:
- Preheat an oven to 400 ℉. Use a fork to poke the sweet potatoes with holes.
- Roast for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Once cooled, remove the sweet potato skin and add to a medium mixing bowl.
- Gently puree the potatoes to break them apart.
- Add the cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, vanilla extract, coconut milk, and salt, then whip the mixture until it’s smooth and creamy.
- Pipe the pudding evenly into the jars. Top with whipped topping and a dusting of cinnamon. You can serve them immediately, or you can safely chill them for up to 3 days.
How Long Are Thanksgiving Leftovers Safe to Eat?
You can enjoy your refrigerated leftover Thanksgiving food for up to four days after the holiday has passed. If you want to enjoy them longer, you can store them in the freezer and enjoy them for up to three months. After this time, you put yourself at risk of contracting food poisoning and loss of flavor or texture.
Thanksgiving food is the most comforting food of the season, and by repurposing it into healthier options, you get to enjoy the holiday feels that much longer without paying the price.