I never shop for groceries in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, choosing to make meals out of the forgotten boxes of pasta and meal replacement bars I made the mistake of buying before tasting months prior.
While I actually do love to cook, living alone has transformed me into a person who often eats cereal for dinner and does not see the point in making meals that can feed more than two and require heating past 90 seconds.
That is why I now look forward to large family gatherings. Not for the uncomfortable silences, political and social disagreements, or questionings about my relationships and fertility. But, for the food.
Thanksgiving means leftovers, and leftovers means that I will have amazing meals for at least a week following without getting sick of turkey and having to recreate the entire meal.
See below for a few of my favorite creative ways to reinvent leftovers and actually make use of my kitchen:
1) Turkey Banh Mi – Martha Stewart has a lot of incredible recipes to make use of Thanksgiving leftovers, but her spin on the standard Vietnamese hoagie is by far my favorite and the easiest!
2) Second Day Stuffing Bites – The Food Network’s Second Day Stuffing Bites may be a little unhealthy for some, but are delicious, easy to make, and go well with not only the cranberry pesto, but a bottle of wine and your girlfriends.
3) Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie – Rachel Ray’s recipe for this shepherd’s pie takes all of the usual Thanksgiving Day dishes and combines it into one!
4) Eggs in Purgatory – I can never tell if I just truly love the name of this dish or Giada herself, but eggs in purgatory is the perfect use of your heap of mashed potatoes the next morning.
5) The Grilled Cheese – Grilled Cheese is something of a specialty of mine and made even better with the addition of Thanksgiving leftovers. Would it be terribly gluttonous to dip this in gravy?
6) Turkey Tacos – Tacos are already easy to make and a great way to make use of tortillas that I somehow always think are necessary when I am at Whole Foods and then just let sit until I buy the next pack.
7) Stuffing Omelet – The Cooking Guy’s Stuffing Omelet is pretty simple, but make it your own recipe by adding a little turkey and topping it off with whipped sweet potatoes!