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Three Thanksgiving leftover makeovers


It’s no secret that the holidays can be a blessing when you’re out on your own; a chance to indulge in great food with family carries amazing healing powers to release you from the stresses of school and work. There’s serious nostalgia lurking in the mounds of leftovers forced into your possession as you return to school, especially if you haven’t had the pleasure of a home-cooked meal in ages.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much repetition your taste buds can handle before they’re begging for change. Not to look a gift bird in the mouth, but plain ol’ turkey and gravy can get boring really fast, especially since the FDA suggests eating it within 3-5 days before it spoils. So instead of recreating your Thanksgiving feast over the next week, grab a few ingredients and turn that turkey into an easy and interesting meal with one of these recipes.

Turkey sandwiches | Lazy Factor: 5/5

If you’re looking for a solution that’s a step above “shove-food-into-microwave” and still within the range of “pretty lazy,” turkey sandwiches are great. Just slap the turkey on some bread and add your favorite fixings with a dash of pepper. Drown it in gravy and mashed potatoes and eat it with a fork, or add mayo, mustard and cheese and eat it like a regular sandwich. If you’re feeling daring, add some Sriracha and let your mouth explode with flavor (and sweet, sweet rooster pain).

Easy Turkey-ritos or Chimichangas | Lazy Factor: 3/5

Turn your turkey into a Mexican delight with these simple ingredients:

1 cup or more Picante sauce

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

4 big handfuls of leftover turkey chopped

1 cup or more of shredded cheddar cheese

2 green onions  chopped


Mix the ingredients together, and add more salsa as needed. Stuff into tortillas, roll, and voila! Instant turkey-ritos. If you have access to an oven, place the rolls seam down in a shallow, greased baking dish. Generously sprinkle the tops with cheese. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Devour.

Baked Turkey Pasta | Lazy Factor 1/5

This recipe requires a little more time and prep, but if you’re trying to make the most out of your leftover turkey, this will definitely do the trick. You’ll need:

2 tbsp Olive oil

1 lb diced tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

4 cups marinara sauce

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

3 cups turkey

1 box pasta of choice

3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese

1 lb mozzarella cheese

Heat your oven to 400 degrees and cook the pasta according to the package.

Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add plum tomatoes, onion, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until tomatoes soften. Stir in marinara sauce and red pepper flakes; continue to simmer 5 minutes. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in turkey.

Drain pasta. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with extra-virgin olive oil. Layer some of the pasta in dish, then some of the remaining sauce, basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and mozzarella. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with mozzarella on top. Bake 25 minutes, until top is golden and pasta is crisp on edges.

What’s your favorite leftover turkey recipe? Share with us in the comments below!

About the Author

Amanda Duncil

Amanda is currently a Contributing Writer at GenTwenty. She has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University. She is interested in video games, gender studies and reading. She aspires to one day be on staff at a publication and write a novel.