Upcycling Your Thanksgiving leftovers

October 12, 2021

This week, fridges across Canada are jammed with leftover turkey, potatoes, stuffing and gravy; once you’ve had your fill of turkey sandwiches, here are a few new ways to transform the rest of the meat and veggies into new meals that no longer resemble the festive original.

Mashed potato Soup web


Creamy Leek & Potato Soup:
Leftover mashed potatoes are perfect for simmering into soup; chop and sauté an onion and the white part of two leeks in a drizzle of oil and dab of butter until soft; add a crushed clove of garlic and cook for another minute. Add mashed potatoes and chicken (or turkey!) stock and simmer until everything is very soft. Add a splash of cream, season with salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher or puree with a hand-held immersion blender right in the pot until smooth.

Brussels Sprout Pasta web


Bacon & Brussels Sprout Pasta:
Cook a few chopped slices of bacon in a large, heavy skillet until crisp; remove them with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings behind. Thinly slice leftover (or fresh) Brussels sprouts and quickly cook in the bacon drippings until starting to turn golden; add drained pasta to the pan and quickly toss to heat through, returning the crumbled bacon to the pan and adding some crumbled feta or grated Parmesan cheese to taste. Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.

Chicken pot pie or a la King web

Turkey a la King or Pot Pie:
In a large, heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil and sauté an onion until soft; add a cup or two of chopped leftover veggies and a couple cups of chopped leftover turkey. Shake 4 Tbsp. flour over everything and stir to coat; stir in 1 ½ cups of chicken or turkey stock and bring to a simmer, stirring until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in some leftover gravy, if you have it, and a splash of cream if you like. Season with salt and pepper and serve over split biscuits, or transfer to a baking dish, top with pastry or mashed potatoes and bake at 400˚F until the filling is bubbly and the top is golden.


Turkey curry web

Coconut Turkey Curry

A curry is a simple thing to make, and will take on any number of ingredients – leftover steamed or roasted veggies are perfect in a curry (especially winter squash), and the spices will transform it into something that doesn’t resemble your original turkey dinner. If you like, swap canned tomatoes and a splash of cream for the coconut milk, or stir in a spoonful of peanut or almond butter for added richness.


canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1-2 cups chopped leftover veggies – any kind you like
1-2 cups chopped roasted turkey
2-3 tsp. curry paste
1/2 tsp. ground cumin or cumin seed (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt

1 14 oz (398 mL) can coconut milk
a handful of fresh spinach, chard or kale, chopped
chopped peanuts or cashews or torn cilantro, to sprinkle on top (optional)

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, sauté the onions in a drizzle of oil for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.

Add chopped leftover veggies and turkey along with the curry paste, cumin and salt; cook for a minute or two, then add the coconut milk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 more minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Season with salt and pepper, stir in the spinach and cook for a minute, just until it wilts. Serve over rice with chopped peanuts or cashews and/or cilantro sprinkled on top.

Serves 4-6.



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