Thanksgiving leftovers -- what will you do with all that turkey?

by Julie Snyder

Thanksgiving LeftoversYear after year the Thanksgiving tradition of the sacred turkey blesses us with ample servings.

That giant bird on your Thanksgiving table may seem picture perfect… until the carcass still full of meat is left mocking you after the meal.

Exactly what will you do with it all? No need to rearrange the inside of your refrigerator. These leftover ideas are so great that you may want to buy an extra bird! Turkey sandwiches the next day are a given, as is finishing off the last of that pumpkin pie. What about the rest of the food?

Help clear some room in your fridge and fill your stomach!

Use those Thanksgiving leftovers

Soups and stews

Why settle on boring turkey chowder? Sass up your stew with an amazing Butternut Quinoa Squash Stew. The recipe calls for chicken, but turkey will easily substitute! This heart-healthy stew tastes delicious. It's sure to become one of your family’s stand-by recipes.

Sandwiches

Well, you could slap a slab of meat on some dry bread and slather on the mayo. We won't fuss at you for that.

This Baked Turkey Sandwich Recipe can be easily adapted to using what you have "on hand." Instead of the ciabatta bread, use your leftover dinner rolls. Use the leftover cheeses from the appetizer plate, or any cheese you have in the fridge will do! Instead of butter, use a small dollop of turkey gravy or a spoon of cranberry sauce!

Just about anything you love will make this sandwich personal and delicious. For large groups, consider lining a large baking pan with foil and fill with several sandwiches to bake all at once.

Appetizers

One beautiful part of holiday eating is the never-ending flow of delicious appetizers. They upstage the main dish with their small servings and unique flavors.

We love tradition but the "taste" of Thanksgiving can get old fast. Try the fresh Asian flare of a Turkey Egg Roll. This recipe looks amazing already, but you can take it even further by baking your egg rolls instead of frying and serving with something different like a Creamy Wasabi Mustard sauce. The combination will thrill your tongue back to life and the ginger will help ease that day-after bloat and tummy discomfort.

Crock pot

The last thing any of us really wants to do is cook the day after Thanksgiving. But alas, the brood bellows and food must be served.

Make it simple on yourself and use that easiest of kitchen gadgets, the crock pot. We thought this Buffalo Chicken recipe could not possibly get any easier. Obviously, trade that chicken for the turkey and voila! You have a clean kitchen and a hot meal ready for a huge group. Serve with the leftover rolls and salads.

Leftovers for breakfast

Turkey might not be the first thing you think of when you imagine a delicious breakfast but we scared up one awesome dish that just might change your mind. How about a Turkey and Mashed Potato Frittata?

Now we have your attention! Best of all, you can customize this amazing dish like you would an omelet, Add leftover veggies or anything you can imagine. Using only egg whites can offer a lower fat version, along with dropping a few of those unneeded calories.

If you're still hiding some of those cranberries warm those up and serve on your favorite pancake or crepe for a tangy breakfast treat.

Desserts

Our guess is you have more than just leftover turkey in the fridge. Often made in bulk, sweet potato casserole tends to get shoved back behind the milk and forgotten.

This year, pull it out and make it into something even more fabulous than it was to begin with. We dug up this delicious Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcake recipe and fell in love. We bet they disappear a lot faster than the casserole did.

The best part of leftovers is creating and exploring new dishes! Don't be afraid to scour the vast world of internet recipes and find something that peaks your interests. Share your leftover successes with your friends and family and who knows -- your leftover dish might take center stage as a main course next year!

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.