Thanksgiving leftovers: Try WFLA’s favorite holiday leftover recipes

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving is now over – and chances are, you probably have a lot of leftovers from the big holiday dinner. So what do you do with them now to make sure they don’t go to waste?

First, you want to make sure you’re storing them properly so they don’t go bad. Once you’ve done that, it’s up to you and how creative you feel like getting with your leftovers.

While it’s easy to just reheat some turkey and sides for a few days, eating the same meal over and over again can get boring. So we asked our team here at WFLA what their favorite recipes are to use up Thanksgiving leftovers.

Here’s what they recommend:

Walt Buteau: Rhode Island Thanksgiving sandwich

8 On Your Side Senior Investigator Walt Buteau goes with a recipe he calls a New England tradition, but maybe only in Rhode Island.

All you need is two pieces of your favorite bread along with leftover turkey, stuffing, gravy and (wait for it…) cranberry sauce.

“It sounds odd, but it will really grow on you if you try it and it definitely gets rid of leftovers,” he said.

While Walt says he’s seen people make it with cold leftovers, “it’s better if the turkey, stuffing and gravy are heated.”

Rebecca Barry: Thanksgiving leftovers egg rolls

Max Defender 8 Meteorologist Rebecca Barry likes using her Thanksgiving leftovers some years to make egg rolls!

“[They] were inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in Charleston – Magnolia’s,” she said. “They have an appetizer called Down South Egg Rolls which include collards, chicken, onions and ham and I LOVE them. One year I tried it with Thanksgiving leftovers and didn’t hate the results.”

(Rebecca Barry photo)

You’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Onions (sliced)
  • Garlic (minced or finely chopped)
  • Leftover turkey (sliced into thin strips)
  • Leftover collard greens (chopped and well-drained)
  • Egg roll wrappers (found in refrigerated produce section)
  • Corn starch
  • Cold water
  • Oil for frying

Steps:

  • Heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil and cook your onions.
  • Add in a small bit of minced garlic and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  • In a bowl, combine the onions you just cooked, the turkey leftovers and squeeze all the moisture you can out of the collards and add them in. Mix well and squeeze ALL the moisture you can out of the mixture – the drier the better.
  • Let the mixture continue to dry out as you prepare your egg roll wrappers. Lay them out on a pastry mat that they will not stick to or dust a surface with cornstarch to keep them from sticking.
  • Grab small fistfuls (less than a cup) of your mixture, squeezing any moisture you can out of it and shape it into an oblong shape in the center of each wrapper.
  • In a small cup or bowl, make a paste by mixing cold water and cornstarch (about a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of cornstarch) mixing very well until its blended. Use the cornstarch as glue for your egg roll wrapper, brush some on the corners of the wrappers.
  • Now it’s time to fold your egg rolls – take one corner and fold it across the center. Then take the two corners around that and fold them in. Bring the final corner down over all of this and press to seal the edges.
  • Heat your oil for frying up to 340 degrees (I’m a giant fan of a countertop fryer for this with its own temperature control)
  • Place a few egg rolls in the heated oil, don’t overcrowd or cause the oil to cool down too much. You may have to flip them a few times as they start to float to get them evenly browned.
  • Remove once they are floating and browned to your preference. Let them drain on a paper towel for a moment before adding to your plate.
  • I like to grab a dollop of the middle of a peach or apple pie and plop it down on the plate, and you can do a smear of cranberry sauce on the plate as well to accompany the egg rolls. Spicy ground mustard, peach chutney, hot sauce, spicy honey, etc. all make interesting additions also.

Leigh Spann: Carrot Soufflé

Have leftover carrots from Thanksgiving? Max Defender 8 Meteorologist Leigh Spann likes to use hers to make “This Can’t Be Carrot Soufflé.”

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of diced carrots (drained)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk

Steps:

  • Place all ingredients in blender
  • Blend until mixture is thick and smooth
  • Pour into buttered one-quart soufflé dish
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes

The soufflé serves four!

Avery Cotton: Turkey bagel melt

News Channel 8 Today’s Avery Cotton turns her leftovers into a turkey bagel melt.

Ingredients:

  • Toasted bagel
  • Spicy mustard
  • Leftover turkey
  • Muenster cheese melted on top

J.B. Biunno: JB’s Midnight Turkey Extravaganza

WFLA Now anchor J.B. Biunno’s go-to is something he likes to call “JB’s Midnight Turkey Extravaganza.”

We’ll let him explain:

  • “Step 1. Wake up in the middle of the night cause, hey, you’re hungry. Grandma ate the last piece of pie while you were watching the game, and it’s time for an adventure.
  • Step 2. Journey into the kitchen and grab a bowl.
  • Step 3. Add turkey, gravy and favorite sides.
  • Step 4. Put in microwave.
  • Step 5. VERY IMPORTANT. Feast with your eyes inside the microwave as all your favorite Thanksgiving foods come together in a warm melody of culinary bliss. Drooling as a result of your savory splendor is okay, but clean up after yourself. You’re an adult.
  • Step 6. Grab a fork. Or wait, maybe a spoon? No… WAIT. YES. IT’S THE SPORK’S TIME TO SHINE!
  • Step 7. Feast. And don’t worry about that dumb smile you can’t wipe off your face. You’ve earned this.
  • Step 8. The next morning, act aimlessly and hopelessly dumbfounded when your mother, father, spouse or sibling asked, ‘WHO RAIDED THE FRIDGE LAST NIGHT?!’ Follow that up by walking away, acting somewhat hungry, and don’t forget to remember that you’re a Thanksgiving legend.”

Josh Benson: Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich

News Channel 8 anchor Josh Benson says he’s “a big fan of any kind of sandwich you can craft from Thanksgiving leftovers.”

While he usually goes with just bread, turkey, lettuce and mayo, he did find a Food Network recipe that takes it a step further, calling for bacon, cheese, Dijon mustard and tomatoes.

“If you have time and energy (and don’t need an extra nap), this Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich may be just what you need,” he said.

Allyson Henning: Turkey Pho

Sarasota-Manatee bureau reporter Allyson Henning’s favorite thing to make after Thanksgiving is turkey pho!

She uses a recipe from My Healthy Dish – but tweaks some of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Spice packet that can be purchased online:
    • 1 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
    • 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
    • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
    • 5-6 star anise
    • 4-5 cloves
  • 3-inch piece of fresh ginger cut in half
  • 1 large onion cut in half
  • 4 oz. rock sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 pound rice noodles
  • Bean sprouts
  • Lime
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha on top

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