Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes: A Sandwich, Fried Rice, and Mac ‘n’ Cheese

November 29, 2013 Updated: October 8, 2018

It’s no wonder that for chefs, Thanksgiving traditions around food abound, and that’s true down to how leftovers are used in the days following the holiday.

Carmen Quagliata, executive chef at Union Square Cafe, who has an Italian heritage, makes ravioli dough from scratch, fills them with leftovers, and serves them with a brown butter sauce.

Michael Ferraro, executive chef and partner at Delicatessen, turns leftovers into a turkey mac and cheese. “It just keeps the comfort food going,” he said.

As for Michael Armstrong, executive chef at Dream Downtown, fried rice is his go-to dish, and he turns the turkey bones into a broth. Below are some recipes for post-Thanksgiving meals. Bonus: they don’t require a lot of time or energy.

Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

Courtesy of chef/owner Jesse Schenker, Recette, NYC

Leftover turkey
Leftover stuffing
Leftover cranberry sauce
White cheddar cheese
2 slices applewood smoked bacon
2 slices brioche bread

Pile the leftovers, bacon, and cheese on the brioche and heat in the oven for 2-5 minutes.


Thanksgiving Turkey Fried Rice

Courtesy of Chef Michael Armstrong, Dream Downtown, NYC
Serves 4

2 tablespoons canola oil
6 cups cooked white rice
16 ounces Turkey meat, dark and white meat scraps
4 each whole eggs, scrambled
1/2 cup sweet potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
1/2 cup roasted chestnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1/4 cup leftover turkey gravy (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large nonstick pan on medium high heat, add half the oil, add the eggs, and stir until cooked, remove from pan and set aside, add the remaining oil in the pan and turn to high heat, add the rice, cook while tossing and stirring for one to two minutes, add green onions, sweet potatoes, chestnuts, cherries and turkey meat.

Continue to cook while tossing for another minute, add the cooked eggs, and herbs, stir together until well mixed. Add the gravy and stir in, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Scoop equal portions onto four plates.


Thanksgiving Leftover Mac and Cheese Casserole

Courtesy of chef/partner Michael Ferraro, Delicatessen, NYC

One pound cooked elbow macaroni
One pound shredded turkey meat
One cup left over stuffing (optional)
3 medium size sweet potatoes, cut into small dices then cooked in salted water till tender
1 cup cooked peas
1/2 chopped onion
5 sage leafs minced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup left over cranberry relish (optional)
1.5 quarts milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup grated fontina cheese

In a large pot add butter, onion, sage, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add flour, whisk and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add milk and continue to whisk till milk comes to a boil and thickens.
After milk in thicken whisk in the mascarpone, fontina, and one cup of the cheddar cheese.
Once cheese in melted and sauce in smooth fold in the turkey meat, sweet potatoes, peas, and pasta.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place in a 3 inch baking dish, cover with remaining cheddar cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes till hot and brown.
Serve with a tablespoon of cranberry relish.