How to Use Your Leftovers—the Right Way



How many times have you rounded up the leftovers from the holidays on a plate, microwaved them into a sort of day-after goo and dug in? Too many. Why not use your leftovers the right way? We've rounded up some of the best (healthy) recipes to give you some delicious options. Enjoy!

Turkey Quesadillas

This is kind of a no-brainer recipe, meaning exact ingredient amounts are up to you. You'll be keeping these healthy with turkey and low-fat cheese. Cut up some peppers and add in some salsa on top or on the side for dipping. Ditch the sour cream, unless you want to go for the low-fat version. Whole wheat tortilla shells will make them even healthier, and no less delicious. These are perfect for prepping ahead of time and then zapping at the office for lunch, too.

Turkey Pesto Club Sammy

Turkey sandwiches are boring, right? Not this one! give us this fast, easy recipe:

  • 2 teaspoons prepared pesto
  • 1 ounce sliced turkey
  • 1 slice of turkey bacon (cooked)
  • 4 slices of tomato
  • 2 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2 slices of pumpernickel bread
  • 1 apple

Slap it all together in a sandwich. The apple adds texture, sweetness and healthy nutrients while the rest of the ingredients serve to keep your energy and metabolism going strong. No turkey-induced snooze fest with this one.

Worcestershire Turkey Burgers

Fave Health Recipes gave us this little gem. And it's perfect for using the very last of your turkey leftovers (you know, those pieces you don't really want to see on your plate, but are perfectly edible). Start by cutting them all up finely.

  • 2 cups finely chopped cooked turkey
  • 7 whole-wheat crackers, crushed (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 hamburger buns, partially split
  • 4 Kosher Dill slices
  • 4 lettuce leaves

Combine the turkey, crackers, eggs, sauce and pepper, then press into patties. Cook in a frying pan, put between your bun, have those pickles on the side and lettuce on top.

Turkey and Prosciutto Pizza

Cooking Light recommended this recipe. Again, when it comes to something like pizza, you can be creative the ingredients, but here's a list of the suggested toppings to put on an already-made pizza crust (that can be bought at your grocery store). Just load up the crust with toppings and bake at 425° F for about 12 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

  • 1(12-ounce) pre baked pizza crust
  • 3/4 cup tomato and basil pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cooked turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup torn arugula leaves
  • 3 slices prosciutto, finely chopped

Healthy Turkey Waldorf Salad

There's nothing like a delicious salad to make you feel like you're on the right health food track. But we all know that dressings can be a major healthy-food killer. They're loaded down with calories. And so many chicken and turkey salad recipes call for mayo—one of the worst! What to do? Ditch the mayo, instead mix your leftover turkey (cut into chunks) with plain Greek yogurt and a few pinches of curry. How much will depend on your taste. Add in halved grapes or some of those leftover cranberries from that homemade sauce you labored over. Some cut up walnuts to taste and put on top of lettuce or radicchio leaves. What else can you come up with? Try celery or peppers for crunch, or a sprinkling of low fat cheese. Make it your own!

Yo-Cran Parfaits

Thanks to the venerable New York Times you've got an easy and delicious snack recipe to use with your leftover cranberry sauce. Just take plain Greek yogurt, honey, and chopped nuts leftover from that snack bowl you put out for guests before the big meal. Layer yogurt, then the cranberry sauce, then honey. Top it off with more yogurt and walnuts. Yum and full of ingredients that pack good-for-you vitamins and protein. 

Boiled Mash Potato Wontons

It's true that mashed potatoes from the holidays are a healthy diet no-no, but if you've got them sitting in your fridge, there's no reason to eat them in their boring original iteration. Buy wonton wrappers at your local grocery store in the international food section. Fill them with the mashed 'taters. For extra flavor, sauté some onions and garlic in olive oil and mix those in. Fold over the wontons and seal with water. Boil them in hot water for several minutes. So much healthier than fried and total comfort food. Use low fat sour cream as a condiment.

Ham and Brussles Casserole

Casseroles are usually unhealthy affairs (but so delicious). Use your leftover ham to make a savory and healthy casserole by adding Brussels sprouts. Baking the sprouts eliminates the sometimes bitter taste they can have and only leaves yummy veggie goodness behind. Here's the recipe from My Recipes. The white bread is optional and the recipe calls for toasting it into crumbs, but to save time, just put all ingredients into a casserole dish that's sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with extra parm cheese if you please.

  • 1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
  • 3 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped country ham (about 1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese