Real Foods Thanksgiving and Christmas: Leftover Ideas

This is the second week of the Modern Alternative Mama’s

We are all sharing ideas for Real Foods holiday menus, this week. Since I won’t be cooking the Thanksgiving meal, I will be offering some fun ideas for ways to use those leftovers in Real Food recipes! Be sure to look at the bottom of this post for my fellow blogger’s menu ideas!

~Monte Cristos: Theses sandwiches are a delicious way to enjoy leftover meat! Use slices of turkey with a bit of cheese and a layer of cranberry sauce, or leave the cranberry sauce on the side and dip your sandwich. For the ham version, use a good honey-mustard (you can even make your own with Dijon and honey!). Either sandwich can include any side dishes (I happen to LOVE turkey and mashed potatoes together).

~Louisville Hot Browns: This is something I’ve never had, but I’m going to try it this year! It would make an amazing breakfast for two, or increase the ingredients, as needed. This is my Real Foods take on it, but I might make some changes after I’ve tried it…

  • Cook 4 slices of bacon and set aside.
  • Make a rue out of 1/2 a stick of butter and 3 tablespoons flour. Add 1 3/4 cups milk and simmer, stirring until sauce is thick. Stir in 1/4 cup grated asiago or parmesan cheese and turn heat to “low”. Whisk in 1 beaten egg and continue whisking while the sauce thickens (just a few minutes, but do NOT let it simmer!). Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Place 4 slices of toasted bread in a baking dish and top each piece with sliced turkey and a tomato slice. Evenly pour the cheese sauce over the top and add more grated cheese, if desired.
  • Broil until brown and top each piece of bread with the bacon.

~Leftover Strata: We love stratas, but we usually save them for around the holidays… makes them seem more special! Take whatever leftover bread you have on Thanksgiving (or Christmas) night and layer it in a greased 9 by 13 with leftover veggies, turkey or ham, and some cheese. Pour a mixture of 5 beaten eggs, 2 cups of milk and some salt and pepper over the top. Press down with a spatula, cover and refrigerate overnight, then put it on the counter for half an hour (while the oven preheats) and cook it in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Sprinkle some extra cheese on top and broil it, if you like. (*Note: This would also be a wonderful way to use leftover stuffing/dressing, but you might want to reduce the amount of milk by 1/2 cup. I haven’t tried this, yet, but my plan is to reduce the liquid or else increase the cooking time, since stuffing is usually quite a bit more moist than leftover rolls!)

~Veggie Puree Dip or Soup: Many leftover veggie dishes can be pureed and eaten with crackers or leftover rolls, or you could thin them down with broth and have a veggie soup. You could try sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, asparagus, squash… almost anything could be made into soup or dip. Shred up a bit of turkey or ham to toss into the soup, if people want something a little hardier.

~Leftover-stuffed mushrooms: Stuffing or veggie dishes can be stuffed into mushrooms, topped with cheese and broiled! We like “baby” portabellas, but use whatever kind you like. If whatever you’re stuffing the mushrooms with is a bit on the dry side, add a little bit of butter or olive oil before broiling. Add herbs, spices, salt and pepper, as desired.

~Shepherd’s Pie: Since you already have the mashed potatoes, cooked turkey and veggies, why not make a shepherd’s pie? You can follow my recipe, but substitute whatever you have! If you’re to the point of getting tired of the flavors, follow my instructions for freezing it. In a few weeks (or months) you can pull a delicious meal out of the freezer!

~Dessert Sundaes: Although few people have difficulty eating the leftover desserts, you can plan ahead to make it another special family event a day or two after the holiday! Make (or buy the healthiest version you can find) some ice cream and toppings. Have vanilla ice-cream, for sure, and make some chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, fruit sauce (I will be showing you how to make “real” food versions of these for “Fun Things Friday” this week, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!) … chop up some toasted nuts… make real whipped cream… THEN take your leftover desserts (pumpkin pies, apple cobblers, cookies, etc.) and cut or crumble them into small pieces and use as a topping for the ice-cream! (For example, put a scoop of vanilla ice-cream in a bowl, top with a scoop of pumpkin pie, drizzle with homemade caramel sauce, sprinkle with toasted almonds and top with a dollop of homemade whipped cream! Or… use ice-cream, cookie crumbles, chocolate sauce, peanuts and whipped cream!) (*Note: consider replacing the ice-cream with thickened, flavored yogurt! To make, take homemade (or organic store-bought) yogurt and pour it into a tea towel-lined strainer (in a bowl!). Put it in the fridge for several hours and let some whey drain out. Save the whey for lacto-fermenting, and then divide the thickened yogurt into three bowls and stir chocolate, caramel and fruit sauce into them for sweetness and flavor. Continue making your “Sundaes” with all of the other ingredients!)

I hope you’re inspired to try something new with your leftovers, but before you can have any leftovers, you have to cook the meal! Visit my fellow bloggers below and get busy planning!

Stacy Makes Cents: Butternut Apple Bake

Modern Alternative Mama: Real Food Dinner Menus

The Humbled Homemaker: Cheesy Green Bean Casserole and 5 Great Real Food Holiday Recipes

Christian Mommy Blogger: A Modified Thanksgiving: Feasting with Dietary Restrictions

3 thoughts on “Real Foods Thanksgiving and Christmas: Leftover Ideas

    • Thanks, Erin! I decided last year that I wanted to find fun new ways to use leftovers, instead of having the same thing for a week. I can hardly wait!! 🙂

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