It's the same thing every year. After Thanksgiving, time suddenly shifts into warp speed, rushing us toward Christmas in a blur. But here's a way to grab back some time: Make a few easy, pre-made freezer meals over the long Thanksgiving weekend. And while you're at it, put that leftover Thanksgiving turkey to work!
These 7 easy meals turn Thanksgiving leftovers into 5-star casseroles, manicotti, enchiladas, and more! Pop them in the freezer, and you have meals for the busy work weeks ahead. Take them to work for lunch -- and be the envy of your peers -- or reserve them for quick-and-easy weeknight meals.
Here's a deliciously different use for leftover turkey. Make the recipe as written, or take Charlotte's advice: "I was too burned out on cooking after Thanksgiving to roll all of those enchiladas. So instead I made an enchilada lasagna. Lazy, but delicious."
This recipe gets the most from all of your Thanksgiving leftovers. "After a holiday meal, half the work is done," says Peggikaye. "Because you usually have the mashed potatoes, green beans, and turkey. With leftovers, it's a breeze...a family favorite."
"When you're looking for something completely different to use up those turkey leftovers, this could be it!" says Chef John. "A tender, eggy pasta-like crepe enfolds the cheesy, amazing filling. You can make the crepes and filling ahead of time."
"Even if your turkey is perfectly cooked, the reheated leftovers can be a little dry and uninteresting," says Chef John. "This tamale pie will rescue the last remnants of your bird in a significantly more exciting and flavorful way than the usual soup. There are two basic types of tamale pie, one with a cornbread topping and the other with traditional masa dough. Here, I wanted to create something that gives us the best of both, and I was very happy with how this came out. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro if desired."
Here's a chicken casserole that takes well to freezing and easily converts to leftover turkey. Another classic, it combines cubed turkey with broccoli, soups, and Cheddar. For more recipes that easily convert from cooked chicken to leftover turkey, check out our Chicken Leftovers Recipes.
Make way for the classic! Turkey, pasta, mushrooms, and peas bake up with cream of mushroom soup, sherry wine, and broth -- topped off with Cheddar cheese.
Garam masala, spicy pepperjack cheese, and diced red peppers keep things interesting here. As Chef John explains it: "This delicious casserole is for leftover leftovers. I don't know about you, but after a few days of eating Thanksgiving leftovers, no matter how tasty they originally were, I want something that makes me forget there's even turkey in it." Watch Chef John in action:
For this top-rated recipe, replace the cooked chicken with leftover turkey meat. You can also swap in homemade turkey stock for the chicken broth.
Check out our collection of Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes.
- 6 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
- 8 Delicious Ways to Give Thanksgiving Leftovers a Global Spin
- 5 Food-Safety Rules for Thanksgiving Leftovers
- Thanksgiving Leftover Hack: Turkey Hand Pies