Repurposing holiday leftovers

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many of us will find ourselves either hosting or attending various holiday parties. Often times, after such parties, there are lots of leftovers. While many of those leftovers are great as-is, some may get boring after a few meals worth. Here are a few ways to reuse leftover turkey, a staple at many holiday meals, and put a spin on the holiday classic.

1. Create turkey salad

Many recipes that have chicken as the protein source can easily use turkey instead. This easy recipe is great to use if you have either leftover chicken or turkey on hand!

Cranberry Pecan Turkey Salad


2 cups turkey meat, shredded or diced

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup dried cranberries (One could use leftover cranberry sauce instead.)

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste


Mix the above ingredients together and enjoy served with your favorite whole grain bread or crackers. I like to serve the above recipe with celery sticks.

2. Add to soup or chili

With chilly weather settling in, soup and chili is a go-to for many during the cold months. Turkey meat can be a great replacement or addition to soup and chili recipes.

3. Make a Turkey Cranberry Melt

Another type of sandwich one could create with leftover turkey utilizes leftover cranberry sauce as well.

Turkey Cranberry Melt


1 slice of your favorite whole grain bread

2 tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce

3 ounces sliced or shredded turkey meat

1 slice of your favorite cheese (try Swiss or Havarti)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place bread on baking sheet and top with cranberry sauce, turkey and cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted.

4. Use in a lettuce salad

5. Create Turkey Cranberry Rollups

Here is one final way to use up both leftover turkey and cranberry sauce.

Turkey Cranberry Rollups


1 whole wheat tortilla

1-2 tablespoons whipped cream cheese (optional)

2 tablespoons cranberry sauce

Handful of spinach

A few slices of thinly sliced turkey


Spread cream cheese and cranberry sauce on tortilla. Add spinach and turkey. Roll up tightly, slice into 1 inch pieces and enjoy!

There are many different ways to use up leftovers during the holidays. Above are just a few of my favorites. Happy holidays, everyone!

Rachelle Deutz is a registered dietitian at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center.


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