Nov 23, 2021

Level Up Your After-Thanksgiving Food Routine

Aaaaahhhhh, your Thanksgiving belly is full.  And there’s still SO MUCH FOOD.  What are you going to do with it all? If you’re bored with making the traditional turkey sandwich for the next week, let’s level up your after-Thanksgiving leftover recipes menu, shall we?

Here’s a few recipes to get you playing with family in the kitchen this weekend. Who knows, maybe you’ll start a great new holiday tradition!

Gnocchi with pork ragu
Picture Credit: Brian Woodcock. Recipe adapted from Kate Merker & Taylor Murray at

Thanksgiving Level Up Leftovers Recipe #1: Gnocchi with Pork Ragu

Nothing says family night like preparing a fun Italian shareable meal together. And you’ll use up your Thanksgiving leftover mashed potatoes in the process of making this gnocchi.  Added to a delicious pork ragu, these gnocchi are light, fluffy, and just the thing to liven up a Friday or Saturday night with the fam!

BONUS: You’ll never think about leftover mashed potatoes the same way again!


  • Mashed Potatoes, about 3 Russett’s worth (approximately 32 ounces)
  • 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour, with additional for working
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tblsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 Tblsp Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock (or Turkey Stock if you boil your leftover turkey bones for soup!)
  • 1/4 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped (or dried about 1.5 Tblsp)
  • 2 Tblsp Fresh Chives, Chopped (or dried about 2 Tsp)
  • 1 Tblsp Fresh Tarragon, Chopped (or dried about 1 Tsp)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese, for serving
Food Mill processing potatoes for gnocchi

  • Scoop
  • Handheld ricer or food mill
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Clean Kitchen Towel
  • Plastic or silicone baking mat for rolling dough
  • Cookie sheet that fits in your refrigerator for chilling gnocchi
  • Skillet
  • Chef’s knife
  • Glass jar with lid to catch excess fat from pork (if any)
  • Large Pot for boiling gnocchi


Mill or Rice your mashed potatoes into a mixing bowl.

NOTE: If there were skins in your mashed potatoes, you’ll be better off removing them, or using a food processor to make sure they’re very VERY small pieces.  The food mill or hand ricer makes sure your gnocchi is more fluffy.

Add egg (lightly beaten), flour, and 1 tsp. salt. Stir gently, and only until the mixture comes together. Don’t overmix!

Divide the dough into 3 pieces and cover with a clean kitchen towel over the mixing bowl.

Dust your dough mat (baking mat) with flour so your gnocchi doesn’t stick. With the first of the 3 pieces of dough, roll a 1″ thick rope on your mat with floured hands.

Then, cut the rope into 1″ pieces (most baking mats have measurements written on them – use them!), place them on your cookie sheet.

Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.

Refrigerate your gnocchi while you make the sauce. If you can’t use all of them for this meal, freeze them for up to 1 month, and make the bag as airtight as possible to avoid freezer burn.



Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add your ground pork, season with salt and pepper. As you cook the pork, break it into small pieces and continue until browned, 4-6 minutes. If there’s excess fat in the pan, drain it off into your glass jar with lid.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until pork starts to get crispy, 2-3 minutes.

Add wine and simmer until mostly evaporated, 2-3 minutes.

Add stock and bring to a simmer.  For dried herbs, stir in while on the heat. For fresh herbs, stir in after removing from heat.


Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.  When the Ragu is finished, cook your gnocchi 2-4 minutes (they will start to float to the surface). Drain.

Place Gnocchi dumplings into a bowl, top with pork ragu sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and cracked pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Please Note: If your mashed potatoes are heavily “doctored” with dairy, like cream, sour cream, etc., the gnocchi may not turn out to be the right texture. Just keep that in mind.  If you are a “half sour-cream and half potato” mashed potato kind of family, you’ll probably need to get new potatoes for the gnocchi. I always like to try with what I have first, and have a plan B if they fall apart, and I encourage you to do the same.

To restart with new potatoes, bake 3 large russets (about 2 pounds) at 350 degrees F for 60-75 minutes. Make sure you stab your potatoes with a fork all over before baking. Then, scoop out the insides (discard the skins or make loaded potato skins with them!) and send the gnocchi through the ricer/food mill as above.

Crustless quiche
Photo by Brian Woodcock. Recipe adapted from Taylor Murray at

Thanksgiving Level Up Leftovers Recipe #2: Crustless Quiche

Friday morning breakfast after Thanksgiving is a great place to use ham and turkey leftovers in unexpected ways! Ever wanted to make a quiche but didn’t want to bother with crust? Then this is the quiche for you! Use up some of your leftover ham and/or turkey.

BONUS: You can make the quiche mix ahead the night before and then bake in the morning!


  • 1 Tblsp. Olive Oil, plus more for baking dish
  • 2 Medium Leeks, chopped
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 4 ounces of leftover turkey or ham (or both!), torn or cut into small pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 Cup Creme Fraiche*
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Tblsp Dijon Mustard
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 Cup)
  • 2 Tblsp Chopped Fresh Chives (2 tsp dried)
  • 2 Tblsp Chopped Fresh Parsley (2 tsp dried)

*non-buttermilk creme fraiche recipe below – you need a 12 hour head start, but it’s super easy!!

Leeks really are a pretty veggie! Part of the onion family but with a milder flavor.


  • 2 Quart Baking Dish
  • Knife & Cutting Board
  • 2 Mixing Bowls, small to make Creme Fraiche, and large to mix quiche ingredients together
  • Mason Jar (to age and store Creme Fraiche)
  • Skillet
  • Hand Mixer or large whisk
  • Flexible silicone spatula (for folding ingredients together)

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and lightly oil your 2 quart baking dish. (Remember you can make the quiche mixture ahead of time so this step might be first, or last!)

Heat 1 Tblsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add leeks and onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 6-8 minutes or until tender.

Add the ham/turkey. Cook until liquid is evaporated, 2-3 minutes.

Add the eggs, creme fraiche, milk, mustard, and 1/4 tsp salt and pepper in a bowl, and beat together.

Add the cheese, chives, parsley, and leek/onion/meat mixture and fold it in – don’t overmix, just distribute evenly.

Note: At this point, you can either store the ingredients in an airtight container in the refrigerator until morning, or continue to make it same day.

Pour the mixture into your oiled 2 quart baking dish. Bake until just set, 45-55 minutes (enough time for everyone to have their coffee!). Let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving!


To make creme fraiche without buttermilk – which is a method that is way easier which is why I do it – you need 2 ingredients: Heavy Whipping Cream (pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized, look at the label!) and some plain Greek Yogurt with no added ingredients or sweeteners.  In this case, you are using the yogurt to “inoculate” the cream and make it into creme fraiche.

For every 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, you need 1 Tablespoon of Greek Yogurt. So for a pint of heavy whipping cream (16 oz) you’ll need 2 Tablespoons of Greek Yogurt.

Put the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using a medium or large whisk (or hand mixer with whisk attachment), whisk until the cream is smooth. Cover with a cloth and secure (I use binder clips on the edge of my mixing bowl, or I spoon creme into a mason jar with a 2 piece lid, cover with a coffee filter, and screw on the outer ring, leaving the coffee filter to allow air to pass through).

Allow to sit out, your ambient temperature should be in the 70s Fahrenheit range (not the 60s or the 80s). Allow it to sit unrefrigerated and undisturbed until the creme sets, about 12 hours.  You’ll know it’s set because it only very slightly jiggles when disturbed.

Cranberry Overnight Oats
Layering oats and cranberry filling ups your flavors in every bite!

Thanksgiving Level Up Leftovers Recipe #3: Cranberry Overnight Oats

I know most people think of oats as a breakfast food, but I think of overnight oats as a lunch, or filling dessert. This particular recipe is a great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce and/or apples too!

Again, you’ll need to prep this ahead, it’ll need to be refrigerated over night (thus the name) so that your oats are softened. Great to grab for some protein and fruit goodness on your way out to go shopping post-Turkey day!


  • 1/2 Cup Oats – steel cut or rolled are fine, just not instant
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup Milk (or almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, etc)
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Apples, diced (optional)
  • Honey (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Chia or flax seeds, whole or ground (optional)


  • 2 Small Glass jars with lids, about 1 cup capacity each
  • Small silicone spatula (for mixing and spooning yogurt/oat mix into the jar)
  • Tablespoon (for spooning the cranberry sauce into the jar)
  • Mixing Bowl

Put Oats and Greek Yogurt in a mixing bowl. Add any of the optional ingredients you want, to taste. Add 1/2 cup of milk (your choice of milk type).  Mix it all together with the spatula until well blended.

Put 2 Tblsp cranberry sauce into the bottom of each jar. Divide the oat mixture into two and add it to the jar.  Put 2 Tblsp cranberry sauce again on top of the oat mixture.

Add extra apples/cinnamon/honey to the top to taste.  Put on the lid and allow to sit in the refrigerator overnight.

Makes 2 jars of overnight oats.

When you’re ready to eat, mix everything together in your jar, and dig in!  Easy to transport wherever you go!

BONUS: Think of how many ways you can flavor this basic recipe! Simple Honey Cinnamon oats. Apple Pie Oats (use an apple cider and diced apple reduction instead of cranberry sauce), Blueberry Pie Oats (fresh blueberries and just a little blueberry jam), Berry Cobbler Oats (fresh berries, all-fruit jam, and granola).  Go wild!!

Thanksgiving Table with food
Now you have a few ideas for using up some Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. What are you doing with yours this year? Let me know!

Until next time, Keep Growing!


P.S. Want some more recipes?  Check out this holiday blog with recipes from our readers!!

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