Healthy uses for Thanksgiving leftovers

By Katie Wilhelmi RD, LD

Like most Americans after Thursday’s meal, you may have a refrigerator full of Thanksgiving leftovers. Turn that Thanksgiving feast into several other meals and sides that will both satisfy your family and prevent waste!

Turkey is easy to use. Simply chop leftover turkey and use in the following ways.

Turkey Avocado Wrap Use whole-wheat tortilla, a Laughing Cow light cheese wedge, avocado slices and chopped turkey to make a delicious wrap

Soups Place chopped turkey in soupsturkey noodle soup, turkey chili, turkey and rice soup and more!

Turkey Omelets Use turkey, Havarti or other cheese and salsa in an omelet.

Salads Toss turkey in lettuce salads along with dried cranberries, walnuts, green onion, shredded carrots, feta cheese and a light dressing.

Pizza Top a whole-wheat pizza crust with cup barbecue sauce, 1 cup chopped turkey and 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees.

Turkey Tacos Sprinkle turkey with low-sodium taco seasoning. Fill taco shells with seasoned turkey, fat-free refried beans, shredded lettuce, salsa and shredded cheese.

Turkey Stir-Fry Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok and add stir-fry frozen veggies. When veggies are crisp-tender, add 1 to 2 cups cooked turkey. Add your favorite stir-fry sauce and serve over cooked brown rice or whole grain pasta.

Cranberry sauce is usually left over at Thanksgiving dinners, but doesn’t need to be wasted. Use cranberry sauce in the following ways.

Cranberry Muffins Mix up your favorite muffin recipe. Put a scoop of cranberry sauce into each muffin cup before baking.

Cranberry Sandwich Spice up a plain old turkey sandwich: use whole-grain bread, spread with cranberry sauce and top with Swiss cheese, lettuce, and leftover turkey.

Cranberry Dip Mix leftover cranberry sauce with 4 ounces Neufchatel cheese (low-fat cream cheese) and thawed whipped topping (8-ounce tub) for a fun dip for fruit.

Meat Marinade Combine cranberry sauce with vinegar to make a great marinade or glaze for meats such as pork and chicken.

Rolls can be frozen and used later for breadcrumbs, croutons or stuffing.

Vegetables like green beans and corn can be added to vegetable soup or stew. They can also be added to casseroles.

Mashed potatoes don’t need to go to waste. Make a shepard’s pie using leftover vegetables and turkey and top with mashed potatoes.

Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.

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