Thankful for leftovers: From chili to a Monte Cristo spin-off, readers share ideas for the day-after turkey

November 27, 2013 10:03:34 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


It turns out there are some among us who love Thanksgiving almost as much for the leftovers as for the main meal. 


"I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't have leftovers," laughed Miranda Stewart of Starkville. "I wake up the Friday after already anticipating the chili I'll use that turkey for." 


Stewart and several other readers shared their favorite ways to use the turkey that keeps on giving. Every one of them sounds mouth-watering. 


Let's start with the obvious. Thursday's turkeys will produce plenty of day-after sandwiches all across the Golden Triangle. We know this to be true. But David Ward of Caledonia elevates his to a king-maker by piling on dressing and cranberry sauce, too. And then, the secret ingredient -- a third slice of bread soaked in gravy stuffed somewhere in the middle. All things go better with cheese, so add your favorite variety, if you like. Brie makes a nice touch. 


Stewart's white leftover turkey chili recipe is one she borrowed from It's a savory, self-serve, easy-warming food for football fans and hunters who come and go through the weekend. 


Carol Boone's family transforms what's left of Tom Turkey into a salad everyone loves, with grapes, pecans, apple, cranberries and red onion.  


"It's so good we don't wait until Thanksgiving to make a turkey," said Boone, who works at The Dispatch. If any turkey salad is left, the Columbus cook suggests using it on top of a green salad with cucumbers, grape tomatoes, pepperoni peppers and croutons. Top it with a vinaigrette dressing made with 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons stone ground mustard and salt and pepper, to taste. 


Linda Jenkins in Columbus makes more than the eerily-realistic Halloween zombie finger cookies she was featured for in the Oct. 23 Dispatch. As a twist on the sandwich theme, she recommends a version of the Monte Cristo. Dipped in whisked eggs and browned, this rendition made with turkey (instead of ham) is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Check out the recipe from in our food section today. 


It's at this point in the article that we disavow any knowledge of calorie counts and nutritional values. You're on your own. January's resolutions will be here soon enough, so try not to feel too guilty during the feasting ahead. 


We leave you with this quote from the inimitable Erma Bombeck: "What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?"  


May yours be blessed and meaningful. 








1 red bell pepper, diced 


1 small to medium yellow onion, diced 


1/2 celery stalk, diced 


2 good-sized garlic cloves 


1 pound leftover turkey (white and dark), cubed 


1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder 


2 teaspoons ground cumin 


1/2 teaspoon oregano 


1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 


1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste) 


1 15-ounce can black beans 


1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilis 


1 8-ounce can tomato sauce 




Jack cheese 


Sour cream 




Crushed tortilla chips 




  • Saute the onion, bell pepper, celery and pressed garlic cloves in olive oil over medium heat until translucent (5-7 minutes). 


  • Add the cubed leftover turkey and all the spices.  


  • After the spices are fully incorporated, add the beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce. 


  • Cook until fully hot and serve with chopped cilantro, jack cheese or sour cream and crushed tortilla chips. 


    (Source: Dalai Lina, and Miranda Stewart)  








    4 cups chopped turkey 


    1 cups seedless, purple grapes, halved 


    1 cups pecans, roughly chopped 


    1 medium apple, chopped 


    1 small red onion, chopped 


    1/2 cups cranberries 


    1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise (more or less depending on your preference) 


    Salt and pepper to taste 




  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy. 


    (Source: Carol Boone) 








    2 pieces whole wheat bread 


    2 ounces sliced turkey breast 


    1 ounce Brie cheese, broken into pieces 


    2 tablespoons cranberry sauce 


    1 layer of roasted sweet potatoes (or a few tablespoons of leftover sweet potato casserole) 


    2 ounces egg whites 


    Pinch of garlic salt 


    Pinch of cracked black pepper 


    Pinch of smoked paprika 


    Few pinches of chopped fresh rosemary 




  • Spray a small nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Put egg whites in a shallow bowl large enough to dip sandwich. Add a pinch of garlic salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Whisk to combine. 


  • Assemble sandwich. On each slice of bread put a tablespoon of cranberry sauce and half of the brie cheese. Add the turkey to one side and the sweet potatoes to the other. Sprinkle with a little rosemary.  


  • Carefully combine both halves of the sandwich and gently press together. Dip both sides in egg whites until absorbed. Heat sandwich in the pan a few minutes on each side until it is nicely browned and cheese is melted. You can press gently with a spatula to help it stick together. 



    Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.