Love those leftovers


Tomorrow, we eat. And the day after and the day after. Isn't part of enjoying a Thanksgiving meal the anticipation of the leftovers?

Tomorrow, we eat. And the day after and the day after. Isn't part of enjoying a Thanksgiving meal the anticipation of the leftovers? Photo by:


Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart


Vivian Cade

Vivian Cade


Allison Buehler

Allison Buehler


Katie Fenstermacher

Katie Fenstermacher



Jan Swoope



By now, plans have been made for how our Thanksgivings will unfold. Just before writing this, I listened to a call-in program on MPB radio as listeners shared how they're adapting this year. One gentleman said it will be just him and his wife this time around. They're opting for Cornish hens rather than the traditional big turkey -- then he'll spend the rest of the day on a dirt bike. One young woman talked about communicating back and forth with her sisters in other cities about family recipes handed down that they will make in their own homes this week. The program's host struck a chord with me in particular when she talked about her daughters not coming for the holiday, to avoid taking unnecessary risks leading up to Christmas. At my house, it's been hard for me and our son, who lives in North Carolina, to conclude that he shouldn't travel. The decision is pulling at all of us, and we've come close to giving in a time or two.


However we all spend this Thanksgiving, most of us will eat some traditional fare, even if we don't dive into the huge spread we're used to. And if there's one thing most of us have in common the day after, it's looking forward to the leftovers.


"My favorite thing about Thanksgiving leftovers is a turkey sandwich on white bread with real mayo and a pinch of salt," said Michael Stewart, who is director of communications at East Mississippi Community College. "All year, my wife and I eat only whole wheat, light mayo and no salt. To me, that one 'real sandwich' of the year is a treat."



Stewart and his wife also freeze some of their leftovers in individual meals. "Whenever the mood strikes, we can treat ourselves to a taste of Thanksgiving," he said.


Lowndes County Extension Agent Vivian Cade has a couple of day-after standouts.


"My first one is homemade yeast rolls. They are the best toasted with butter the next morning, or slip a piece of ham in them -- yummm!" she said. "My second favorite is dressing. Just plain ole cornbread dressing with onions, celery and butter. I could eat my weight with both of those." The rolls and dressing are both from Cade's late mother's recipes.


Alison Buehler of Starkville likes to make a bone broth with the turkey carcass.


"Put the carcass in a crock pot with spring water for 24 hours and a bit of sea salt and apple cider vinegar. It's a nourishing broth full of minerals and collagen," she said.


The holiday, of course, isn't all about savory: Sweets are integral, too.


"My favorite way to enjoy Thanksgiving the day or so after is to thoroughly enjoy the desserts," said Katie Fenstermacher, marketing and admissions director at Annunciation Catholic School. "Usually the day of, I am too stuffed to really eat the desserts. My favorite is to eat my mom's pecan pie the few days after Thanksgiving."


For me personally, it's gotta be the turkey sandwich with mayo and a bit of cranberry. Heck, put a little green bean casserole on there, too.


Below are a few tips for safely storing leftovers, as well as Cade's mother's dressing recipe, and a recipe for a "leftovers" casserole layered with stuffing, turkey, veggies, mashed potatoes and cheese.


  • The first rule of thumb, says the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, is to debone the turkey and refrigerate all leftovers in shallow containers within two hours of cooking. Bacteria causing food borne illness can multiply to high levels on perishable food left at room temperature longer than that.


  • Gravy, stuffing and meat need to be stored separately from each other.


  • The carcass makes a great soup base later. If you save it, refrigerate or freeze it in a large ziplock bag or other container.


  • Use leftover turkey within three to four days, and stuffing or gravy within one to two days; or freeze them.


  • Date your packages if freezing and use the oldest ones first. Frozen leftovers should be used within two to six months for best quality.


    However you may spend it, have a meaningful and safe Thanksgiving. Bon appetit.








    Onion, chopped


    Celery (make sure you get celery with leaves on the stalk and use the leaves), chopped


    Chicken/turkey broth, at least 4-5 cans, always better to have more than you need


    White bread




    One stick of butter (why not!), melted



  • Make cornbread, at least two pans. Put cornbread in big bowl and crumble up. Add a few slices of white bread, probably two slices per pan of cornbread.


  • Add onion and celery. (How much is a matter of taste.)


  • Add chicken broth, butter and salt. (She would use some broth from the turkey as well as the canned.)


  • Adjust ingredients until it tastes right. The dressing should be "jiggly" in the pan, like very soft-set Jell-O.


  • Bake in 400 F oven until browned. (If it looks like it is drying out in the oven before being brown, you can add broth during cooking, using spoon or baster.)


    (Source: Shared by Vivian Cade, her late mother's recipe)





    Prep time: 15 minutes


    Total time: 55 minutes


    Makes 10 servings



    1 (6 ounce) package Stove Top stuffing mix for turkey


    4 cups chopped leftover roasted turkey


    2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green beans, peas), thawed


    3/4 cup Kraft Mayo or Miracle Whip Dressing


    3 cups leftover mashed potatoes


    1 cup Kraft shredded cheddar cheese


    1/8 teaspoon paprika



  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F.


  • Prepare stuffing as directed on package; spread onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.


  • Combine turkey, mixed vegetables and mayo; spoon over stuffing.


  • Mix potatoes and cheese; spread over turkey mixture. Sprinkle with paprika.


  • Bake 30 to 40 min. or until heated through.


    (Source: Kraft,



  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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