A quick way to make a fun meal out of leftover stuffing. Top with leftover turkey and gravy, a fried egg, cranberry sauce or whatever sounds good to you!
Sometimes I’m not sure which I enjoy more－the big turkey dinner or the leftovers that follow!
Realistically, if you’ve been working hard in the kitchen in advance of the big meal, coasting on leftovers is a bit of a reward. I actually cooked a turkey last night because I’m not hosting this year and wanted to be sure there were plenty of fixings for turkey sandwiches and beyond.
In addition to the requisite sandwiches, my family has a short list of post-Thanksgiving favorites that involve reinventing the leftovers in a variety of ways. Since the big feast is upon us, I thought it might be helpful to link a few of our go-tos along with a quick recipe that’s new to the blog.
Savory stuffing waffles may sound rather odd to some while quite normal to those who’ve grown up in an area where chicken and waffles is popular.
The following recipe requires little more than an egg to bind the leftover bread mixture and a hot surface to sear it. The honeycomb texture of the waffle iron creates oodles of crisp edges and little pockets that are the perfect foil for a variety of toppings.
While the supplies last, a layer of shredded turkey and gravy (plus cranberry sauce for those who enjoy) replicates the original meal quite nicely. I mentioned these waffles to a friend last weekend who said he’d include a layer of sweet potatoes. Regular mashed potatoes would be tasty, too.
Ultimately, toppings are a lot like a Thanksgiving dinner plate－they can never be piled too high!
We also like to top stuffing waffles with a fried egg. With or without a side of bacon and some fruit, this rendition is decidedly more breakfast-like, although we’ve been known to enjoy it as a quick lunch or dinner, too. One waffle served this way is surprisingly satisfying.
Those who enjoy avocado toast could use stuffing waffles as a starting point and top accordingly.
Looking for other ways to enjoy the leftovers? Following are a few of our favorites (plus a tip or two!)
If you’ve contemplated making homemade stock with the leftover turkey carcass, put all your vegetable scraps in a bag as you’re preparing meals over the next few days and refrigerate them. Then sometime in the week ahead, use the recipe for chicken stock below, but with the turkey bones. I often ratchet up the veggies, including things like kale stems and extra onion skins, which give the stock a deep golden hue.
Another tip: if you’re pretty sure you’ll be tired of cooking after the big day, freeze everything (bones, veggies scraps, and even the giblets) until you’re feeling more inclined. Once the golden stock is in hand (my sister-in-law calls this healing stock “liquid gold”), I always make a turkey version of this Classic Chicken Rice Soup and freeze some of the stock for later.
Of course, there comes a time after the carb-heavy holiday when we’re craving something green and crisp, yet still hearty and satisfying, so Harvest Bowls and Turkey, Kale & Wild Rice Salad are post-Thanksgiving staples at our house, too.
For an alternate vegetable-heavy entree, add some shredded turkey to Favorite Brussels Sprouts Salad. If you haven’t tried this one yet, you must. The shortcuts make it a breeze, and I often use the option of adding broccoli slaw. Last night I omitted the apple and tossed in some leftover roasted winter squash and broccoli－and I once added roasted and diced beets and sweet potatoes. (The addition of roasted squash－I used kabocha－ is a new favorite.) I’ve also served a heaping mound of this salad alongside a generous scoop of leftover stuffing and called it dinner. So good!
While you’re making the most of the leftovers, consider the classic tetrazzini recipe. My version includes a hearty dose of veggies, which round out the pasta and protein in the dish quite nicely.
For the sake of variety, my younger son requested turkey paninis this year, so they will be happening here over the next few days. Aside from the linked recipe, I often mix some pesto into mayonnaise and use that as a spread with turkey, a slice of smoked ham and good mozzarella or provolone. This simple combination is always a treat. For the bread, I use a large loaf of thickly cut ciabatta, and I butter the outsides of the slices. (For locals, Thom’s Bread bakes a fabulous loaf of ciabatta. They have a stand at Central Market and also sell it at Lemon Street Market and Freinschaft Market, the latter which will slice it to perfect grilling thickness for you. For a worthy gluten-free option, I recommend Three Bakers breads. I haven’t tried, but I want to try paninis with their thicker hamburger buns one of these days.) Don’t have a panini maker? Use a grill pan, cast iron or other skillet and weight the sandwich with another heavy or weighted skillet.
Above all, I’m excited for my older son to come home later today and to spend lots of time with family over the next few days. I’m surprising him with homemade sushi tonight (I’m thinking of sharing that recipe/tutorial soon if there’s enough interest－it’s easy and fun to do with friends and family), and he always likes to start the day with a loaded bowl of overnight oats. Lately I’ve been serving it in bowls instead of the pictured jars, topping with blueberries, toasted almonds and a sprinkle of Lolita’s Low Sugar Granola. Most recently, a big dollop of homemade pumpkin butter has been the crowning glory.
Finally, I’m sending out my biggest and best wishes to all of you for a very Happy Thanksgiving. I eagerly await comments regarding which recipes you may have tried, how you make use of your leftovers and any other fun details you wish to share. I always love to hear from you!
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups crumbled leftover stuffing*
- Options for serving: leftover turkey and gravy; fried or soft-boiled eggs (or style of preference); cranberry sauce
- Preheat a waffle iron and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium or large bowl, whisk the egg and then stir in the leftover stuffing until evenly coated with the egg.
- Spread the stuffing mixture evenly over the prepared waffle iron. (My waffle iron makes two 5-inch-square waffles. If you have a larger iron, this amount of “batter” may cover half of the iron.) Close the lid and let the waffle cook until golden brown and lightly crisp.
- Transfer the waffles to a serving plate and enjoy with toppings of choice.
*Stuffing waffles work best with basic stuffing, meaning stuffing that doesn’t include large pieces of veggies or meat.
Hint: Sometimes I use all of the leftover stuffing for these waffles and then, once cool, wrap and refrigerate what we won’t be eating immediately. One waffle is quite filling and makes a complete meal when served with some protein-rich turkey or an egg on top. Leftover waffles are easy to reheat in a toaster oven (or regular oven) for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
You may wish to try my family’s favorite Slow Cooker Stuffing recipe (which includes an oven method).⇩