5 Ways to Turn Extra Thanksgiving Ingredients into Dinner

5 Ways to Turn Extra Thanksgiving Ingredients into Dinner

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Christine Gallary
Nov 21, 2014
(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

There are some Thanksgiving ingredients that come in bunches or set quantities that may be more than you need for stuffing or gravy: carrots, celery, fresh herbs, boxes of chicken broth, a loaf of bread. But these extra ingredients aren't just for Thanksgiving. They are building blocks for quick, easy dinners, especially when you're in the midst of holiday prep.

Here are five recipes that will help you turn those extra Thanksgiving dinner ingredients into delicious, economical meals now.

1. Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Topping

  • Thanksgiving ingredients it uses up: Leeks, onions, milk, eggs, carrots, green beans, chicken broth, and pie crust if you want to skip the biscuit topping.
  • Why you should make this recipe: Pot pie is a great way to use up extra vegetables (feel free to skip the chicken entirely and just add in more vegetables), broth, dairy, and even an extra pie crust instead of the biscuit topping to make life even easier. I've even skipped the topping and served the filling on its own with some store-bought rolls or biscuits instead.

2. Savory Parmesan French Toast

  • Thanksgiving ingredients it uses up: Eggs, milk, cream, garlic, bread, and fresh herbs.
  • Why you should make this recipe: French toast is perfectly acceptable at any time of day, especially when it's savory. Use up bread that isn't destined for breadcrumbs or stuffing in this easy but satisfying dinner.

3. Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Thanksgiving ingredients it uses up: Onion, celery, carrots, chicken broth, bay leaves, and fresh herbs like thyme.
  • Why you should make this recipe: Use up your mirepoix ingredients and extra broth and herbs in this soup that can be easily adapted to whatever else is hanging out in your pantry or fridge. Add in cooked rice or grains instead of the pasta, and throw any remaining vegetables from the crisper drawer into the soup pot to free up even more fridge space. Soup is light but still comforting, a great precursor to the big meal.

4. Pumpkin & Ricotta Pasta Casserole

  • Thanksgiving ingredients it uses up: Pumpkin puree, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, pecans, fresh sage, eggs, and garlic.
  • Why you should make this recipe: Pumpkin puree is the perfect base for a vegetarian pasta sauce and a nice way to use up leftovers for dinner. This casserole also uses some pumpkin pie spices like nutmeg and ginger, along with crunchy pecans and fresh sage.

5. Pork Meatballs with Lemon and Thyme

  • Thanksgiving ingredients it uses up: Breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, onions, fresh sage, chicken broth, and fresh thyme.
  • Why you should make this recipe: Make a quick batch of meatballs with your extra breadcrumbs, aromatics like sage and thyme, and chicken broth. Serve over mashed potatoes, with pasta, or over rice.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)


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