Carrie’s Kitchen: Four new ways to tackle all those Thanksgiving leftovers

Sweet Potato Pancakes
Sweet Potato Pancakes(Harold Crawford, Jr./ORLANDO SENTINEL)

Tomorrow is the big day we’ve been waiting for, the biggest American food holiday of the year! And am I here to give you new recipes to try out for it? No! You don’t want to have to go to the grocery store today! I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemies!

No, I’m doing us all a favor and looking ahead to our Friday food plans. You know, when we start tackling the leftovers.


Last year I cooked my first Thanksgiving turkey, and it turned out fantastic. But I had estimated two pounds of meat per person, and everyone went home with a gigantic serving of extra turkey. Not like a meal’s-worth, but like a week’s-worth. (Turkeys have surprisingly little bones or waste.) This year I estimated for 1 1/2 pounds per person, so I think it’s going to be a little more manageable, and I’m excited about the recipes I’ve found.

For example, this “Thanksgiving’s not over yet” enchilada soup that I found from Taste of Home. It’s good for 2 cups of cubed turkey breast meat, and the soup rehydrates turkey with chicken broth and enchilada sauce. The soup gets some thickness and nutrition from a can of pumpkin (keeping that Thanksgiving theme going even in the Mexican realm of enchilada soup), and some ranch dressing mix to give it a little cool tang, which I’m hoping will be reminiscent of Cool Ranch Doritos, the best of the Doritos family.


If you’re having more company over during Thanksgiving weekend, say for a Ravens game, try this giant Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. I usually steer away from sandwich recipes because who needs instructions on how to make a sandwich, but the recipe comes into play for making a gigantic bagel-shaped loaf in a Bundt pan from two refrigerated French loaf dough rolls. After you bake the bread, you cut it in half lengthwise and baste it with an herbed butter, then toast it. Then you layer your Thanksgiving leftovers on top: the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, maybe some fresh spinach, some cranberry sauce and top it all off with gravy. Apply the top bun, left your guests admire it, then cut it into slices for each to enjoy. I’m drooling as I type this.

My family usually has leftover sweet potatoes, so I’m including this sweet potato pancake recipe. This calls for 6 tablespoons of brown sugar, but if you’ve already made your sweet potatoes into a super sweet sweet potato casserole, then I’d leave the sugar out. These might turn out so sweet that you won’t even need syrup.

And if your turkey and stuffing are still around by Monday, make these quick Thanksgiving leftovers stuffed peppers, which I thought was genius, because the filling is practically already made, and the pepper you’re sticking it in will be fresh and acidic and make it all new again.

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and I thank you for being my readers!

‘Thanksgiving’s not over yet’ enchilada soup

1 large sweet red pepper, finely chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 can (28 ounces) green enchilada sauce

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

1-1/2 cups frozen corn (or corn leftovers)


2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies

2 tablespoons powdered ranch salad dressing mix

2 cups cubed cooked turkey

Optional toppings: crumbled queso fresco, shredded cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips, cubed avocado and minced fresh cilantro

In a Dutch oven, sauté the red pepper, onion and celery in oil until crisp-tender. Add the broth, enchilada sauce, pumpkin, corn, chilies and dressing mix. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in turkey and heat through. Garnish servings with toppings of your choice.

Giant Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich

2 (11-ounces each) tubes refrigerated French bread dough

3 tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Kosher salt

1 cup mayonnaise

Juice of ½ lemon

1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary

1 teaspoon finely chopped sage

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves

Pinch paprika

2 pound sliced roast turkey

2 cups stuffing

1 cup mashed potatoes

2 cups baby spinach

2 cups cranberry sauce

1 cup gravy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a Bundt pan with cooking spray. Place bread dough into bottom of prepared pan and pinch together ends to form a ring.

Bake until golden on bottom and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk melted butter, garlic powder, oregano, and a pinch of salt until combined. Slice bread in half to make two layers. On a large baking sheet, place one half cut side-down and the other cut side-up. Brush both pieces all over with butter mixture. Bake until slightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk mayo, lemon juice, herbs, paprika, and a pinch of salt until combined. Spread over bottom half.

Top with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, spinach, and cranberry sauce. Drizzle with gravy then sandwich with top half of baked bread. Cut into sections and serve.

Sweet potato pancakes

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons dark brown sugar (adjust if your sweet potatoes are already sweetened)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups buttermilk

3 eggs

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

1 cup mashed baked sweet potato

2 tablespoons honey

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Additional butter for pan

Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Stir in sweet potato, honey, cinnamon, ginger and mix well.

Add wet sweet potato mixture to the dry mixture. Combine well, but don’t over mix. Batter should still be slightly lumpy. If time permits, allow batter stand for 30 minutes.

Heat skillet over medium heat. Add enough butter to thinly cover pan. Ladle the batter 1/3 cup at a time. Cook pancakes until done and slightly browned on each side. Repeat, cooking pancakes in batches adding butter to pan as needed. Makes about 24 (6-inch) pancakes.

Leftover turkey and stuffing stuffed peppers

1 large egg, beaten

2 cups leftover turkey, shredded

2 cups leftover stuffing

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 red and yellow bell peppers, hollowed out

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Fresh parsley, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine beaten egg, turkey, and stuffing. Season with salt and pepper and mix together.

Spoon mixture into bell peppers and top with mozzarella.

Transfer peppers to baking dish and bake until peppers are tender and cheese is melty, 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

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