Pumpkin Pie S’mores, Bacon-Wrapped Stuffing Balls, and Sweet Potato Hot Pockets
Anyone can raid the refrigerator, stuff the entirety of their Thanksgiving meal between two slices of bread, and call it a masterpiece.
But that won’t cut it this year.
We’ve embarked on a quest to find you better, crazier, and more fulfilling uses for your spare spuds, turkey, and Parker rolls in this guide to using Thanksgiving leftovers in ways that no one thought possible.
The Leftover: Stuffing
The Reincarnation: Bacon-wrapped stuffing balls, because Thanksgiving is shamefully short on pork products.
You’ll Need: Thick-cut bacon.
Instructions: Hand shape your leftover stuffing into bite-sized balls (think Ping-Pong size) then place them onto half slices of bacon. Wrap the bacon around the ball and bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees before draining on a paper towel, serving, and achieving vast Instagram fame.
The Leftover: Sweet Potatoes
The Reincarnation: Sweet Potato “Hot Pockets.” Because sweet potatoes only suffer from reheating.
You’ll Need: An 8 oz. can of Pillsbury Crescent Roll Dough.
Instructions: Cut dough into palm-sized sheets. Place a spoonful of your leftover sweet spuds into the center, fold, and seal around all sides with your fingers. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, until the exteriors are golden.
The Leftover: Turkey
The Reincarnation: Mole de Guajolote. The turkey wasn’t that good the first time around, let alone cold and days old. So sauce it up with this classic recipe from indigenous Mexico.
You’ll Need: Mole, either laboriously handmade in your kitchen, or with a quality paste from a source like Guelaguetza. Most supermarkets carry different brands, too, some quite palatable, if without the complex nuances of a homemade mole.
Instructions: Slice the turkey and reheat it, before drowning the meat in warm mole. If using a pre-made mole paste, reheat it on the stove and stir slowly until it liquefies.
The Leftover: Mashed Potatoes
The Reincarnation: Irish potato farls. Mashed potatoes lose their appeal once cool, but can easily be re-deployed in these traditional Northern Irish breakfast flatbreads.
You’ll Need: Butter, flour, salt, and pepper.
Instructions: Mix leftover mashed potatoes with 1 tablespoon of melted butter, ¼ cup of flour, and a pinch of salt and pepper, until you have a firm ball of dough. Roll those on a flour-dusted surface into flat, circular shapes– about ¼”-inch thick. Slice into four pieces—“farls” means quarters— and fry, either dry or in butter, on both sides for a few minutes, until the sides brown slightly. Season with salt and serve with eggs. To be even more Irish about it, add baked beans.
The Leftover: Cranberry Sauce
The Reincarnation: Cranberry pancakes. Because your pancakes need acidity. And you need pancakes.
You’ll Need: : Pancake mix and powdered sugar.
Instructions: Simply prepare your pancakes as usual, subbing your leftover cranberry sauce for any fruit or syrup you’d normally include. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar to tame the cranberries’ tart character. And because it looks pretty.
The Leftover: Brussels Sprouts
The Reincarnation: Sriracha-spiced sprouts with cashews. Sprouts keep their flavor and structure for days in the fridge. And things only get more flavorful with Sriracha.
You’ll Need: Peeled and grated ginger, a big handful of roasted cashew nuts, Sriracha, and lemon.
Instructions: Quickly cook ginger in olive oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds, before adding roasted cashews and cooking for about 2-3 minutes. Add shredded Brussels sprouts with a large dollop of Sriracha and stir frequently for 3-4 minutes. Squeeze half a lemon over everything, season with salt and pepper, toss, and serve.
The Leftover: Dinner Rolls
The Reincarnation: Panzanella salad. You’ll be in great need of salad once Turkey Day is over, and panzanella is a perfect place to utilize leftover bread once it stiffens.
You’ll Need: Tomatoes, lettuce, onions, olive oil, garlic, basil, and red wine vinegar.
Instructions: Cut bread into small cubes that will soak up the salad’s vinegar. Toss the cubes with olive oil, then dry in the oven at a low temperature for maximal crunch. Cut all ingredients into desired salad size and toss together with vinegar and oil. Rest for 30 minutes, occasionally tossing before serving.
The Leftover Pumpkin Pie
The Reincarnation: Pumpkin pie s’mores. If the words “pumpkin,” “pie,” and “s’mores” don’t move the crowd, there’s nothing more you can do.
You’ll Need: Graham crackers, marshmallows, milk chocolate, and a caramel sauce.
Instructions: Roast the marshmallows. Place the chocolate down on your cracker, followed by your pie piece, cut to align with your graham crackers. Lay on roasted marshmallow and the cracker’s top portion. Drizzle with caramel and prepare for bliss.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Don’t forget to let us know what time we should be there for dinner.
The Leftover: Gravy
The Reincarnation: Gravy-bourbon shots. Because bourbon makes everything better. And when you tell people you did this, they’ll immediately respond with, “You did what?!”
You’ll Need: A bourbon at a price point that you feel comfortable mixing it with gravy. Not your single barrel reserves.
Instructions: Mix equal parts bourbon and warm gravy in a shot glass and drink up. If you want to create the original version from Edmund’s Oast in South Carolina, rim the glass in brown sugar and ground rosemary.
About the author: Hadley Tomicki is the co-creator and deputy editor of the James Beard-winning media company L.A. TACO. He has been covering L.A.’s restaurant scene for nearly 20 years and writing about travel, gear, and culture as an editor at publications including Grub Street and UrbanDaddy. Hadley’s writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Culinary Backstreets, L.A. Weekly, and more. Follow him on IG @hadleytomicki.