Chances are, by the time you are reading this, Thanksgiving dinner is already over.
You made it. You sifted through thousands of websites dedicated to teaching you the perfect method for brining, roasting, deep frying, grilling, basting, or otherwise defiling your poor bird. You navigated through the muddied waters of side dish options: new takes on old favorites (i.e. add bacon), non-traditional sides (pumpkin gnocchi perhaps), throwback classics (candied yams with a dash of irony), family recipes (typically involving a can of Campbell’s soup). You Paula Deen-ed or Costco-ed your way to dessert. Maybe you come from a family where the menu is obstinately unwavering every year. Maybe you were lucky enough to have a celiac, a vegan, and a finicky four-year-old on your guest list. No matter how many disparate roads there are to Thanksgiving, there is always one shared end and now you are there: a refrigerator full of leftovers. And one can only eat so many turkey sandwiches.
Sure, you can spend an ungodly amount of time Google-searching leftover ideas like you did for Thanksgiving recipes. But, speaking from experience, most of them require more time and added ingredients than anyone should want to endure after today’s efforts. So I did the research for you and here are your best bets:
For the turkey, stuffing, and gravy: Turkey Pot Pie. Slice up a couple of cups of your turkey (white and dark meat work). If you have leftover crudites, chop up those veggies. If not — a defrosted bag of assorted frozen vegetables (carrots, peas, onions) will do just fine. Heat up two cups of leftover gravy in a sauce pan, add the turkey and vegetables, pour into a casserole dish lined with a defrosted frozen pie crust (Trader Joe’s makes great ones). Top the pie with a healthy layer of stuffing. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is brown and the filling is bubbling.
For the mashed potatoes and breadcrumbs: Potato Fritters. Combine four cups of leftover mashed potatoes with two beaten eggs, salt, pepper, and some chopped onion and grated cheese of any kind (if you’re feeling ambitious). Scoop into golf ball size rounds and dredge in breadcrumbs. Heat up a few inches of peanut or vegetable on medium-high heat and drop the balls in, a few at a time, to deep fry.
If someone was bold enough to make sweet potato pie: Butter the top of hearty bread then top with potatoes and marshmallow and broil until the marshmallows are crisp and golden to make a tasty open-faced sandwich.
If you have a glut of cranberry sauce, use it for a filler and topper for day-after cranberry pancakes. Use the whole berries in the pancake batter and top the cakes with warmed-up sauce.
If you have more pumpkin pie than you know what to do with: Pumpkin Oatmeal Casserole. Make about 8 packages of instant oatmeal in a sauce pan. Add two-inch pieces of pumpkin pie and stir to combine. Pour into a greased casserole dish, top with more crumbled pumpkin pie, and bake on 375 for a half hour.
These recipes are all pretty simple and popular with all types of palates. Good luck and if all else fails, just eat another sandwich.