Thanksgiving is my mother-in-law’s favorite holiday and I since my husband and I have been together, I have contributed pumpkin pie, the only time of year I make all-butter pie dough and green bean casserole, also from scratch (minus the fried onion topping). This year, I was lucky enough to make the pies in my in-laws’ kitchen with my niece Olivia Grace. We smelled all of the spices together, cinnamon was her favorite, and she helped me chop the nuts and stir together the streusel topping for one of the two pumpkin pies.

OG mixing streusel topping 

I love Thanksgiving. Contributing to family meals has been part of our food memories since the beginning – both holiday and standard weekend get-togethers with extended family. Everyone has his or her own Thanksgiving meal tradition. I recently learned that sauerkraut is a big German thanksgiving staple in Baltimore. My dad always had cranberry sauce, corn casserole and Waldorf salad, whereas my mom had Italian sides added to the mix and did not have cranberry sauce with Thanksgiving dinner until she joined my dad’s family for Thanksgiving dinner.

We all have our Thanksgiving meal favorites, my new favorite is my father-in-law’s rutabaga, but we also all probably have a favorite leftover recipe too. My mom likes to make turkey barbeque and sometimes turkey tetrazzini, but this year, I have been on the hunt for some health-conscious leftover ideas to share, especially those that are not as carb- centered. I love a Thanksgiving leftover roll sandwich or slider as much as the next, but a few new leftover recipes will go a long way in facilitating less over eating and more vegetable-centric next-day meals.

Turkey is a great substitute for chicken in most recipes, so this year I am going to try out a few new recipes that can substitute turkey for chicken – Turkey tostadas and open-face turkey sandwiches (open faced to decrease the bread intake) with kimchi slaw and miso sauce. The kimchi slaw will help feed your gut both probiotics (kimchi, yogurt and miso) and prebiotics (whole-grain bread).

Turkey Tostadas
Recipe By: EatingWell Test Kitchen

Cook: 35 minutes
Ready In: 35 minutes

Choose either regular petite-diced tomatoes or those with added jalapeños, depending on your inclination for spicy food. Serve with black beans, rice and extra salsa or hot sauce on the side.

1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, preferably with jalapeños
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cups shredded cooked turkey, or chicken (12 ounces; see Tip)
8 corn tortillas
Canola or olive oil cooking spray
1 avocado, pitted
¼ cup prepared salsa
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 375°F.
  2. Bring tomatoes and their juice to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Add turkey (or chicken) and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray. Divide the tortillas between 2 large baking sheets. Bake, turning once, until crisped and lightly brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. Mash avocado in a bowl. Stir in salsa, sour cream and cilantro until combined.
  5. To assemble tostadas, spread each crisped tortilla with some of the avocado mixture. Top with the turkey (or chicken) mixture, lettuce and cheese.
Photo c/o: EatingWell 

Turkey Sandwiches with Kimchi Slaw and Miso Sauce

Active Time: 15 Mins
Total Time: 20 Mins
Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 sandwich)

1 1/2 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup very thinly sliced kimchi
1/3 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white miso 8 (1-oz.)
100% whole-wheat bread slices, toasted
12 ounces sliced skinless roasted turkey breast

kimchipicPhoto c/o: Cooking Light

How to Make It

Step 1
Combine cabbage, vinegar, and sesame oil in a medium bowl; toss well to coat. Add kimchi; toss well to combine. Let stand 10 minutes.

Step 2
Meanwhile, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, and miso until smooth.

Step 3
Spread about 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture on each of 4 bread slices. Top each with 3 ounces turkey and about 1/3 cup kimchi slaw. Cover with remaining 4 bread slices (or don’t cover for open-faced sandwiches).

Post by Sarah

One thought on “Healthy Thanksgiving Leftover Options

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