Thanksgiving Leftovers


When it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers everyone has their classic standby recipes: turkey sandwiches, soups, casseroles and pies.   While those are certainly excellent choices, they can become a bit tiresome, especially if you have a lot of leftovers to go through. There are many interesting recipes that you can use for what’s left in your fridge that will make your family a little more excited to finish off the turkey and potatoes. The chef instructors at L’Ecole Culinaire are big fans of the wonders that Thanksgiving leftovers can be turned into and have rounded up some of their favorite recipes for making the most of your Thanksgiving bounty.


Turkey Tostadas

Courtesy of Eating Well


  1. 1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, preferably with jalapeños
  2. 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  3. 3 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken
  4. 8 corn tortillas
  5. Canola or olive oil cooking spray
  6. 1 avocado, pitted
  7. 1/4 cup prepared salsa
  8. 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  9. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  10. 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
  11. 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 375°F.
  2. Bring tomatoes and their juice to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Add turkey (or chicken) and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray. Divide the tortillas between 2 large baking sheets. Bake, turning once, until crisped and lightly brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. Mash avocado in a bowl. Stir in salsa, sour cream and cilantro until combined.
  5. To assemble tostadas, spread each crisped tortilla with some of the avocado mixture. Top with the turkey (or chicken) mixture, lettuce and cheese.


Turkey and Mashed Potato Croquettes

Courtesy of Diana Rattray


  1. 2 cups finely minced leftover turkey
  2. 1 cup leftover seasoned mashed potatoes
  3. 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  4. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  5. ***Sauce***
  6. 2 tablespoons butter
  7. 6 green onions, with a few inches of green, thinly sliced
  8. 1 clove garlic, finely minced (you can omit if using garlic mashed potatoes)
  9. 4 tablespoons flour
  10. 1/4 cup chicken broth
  11. 1/4 cup milk
  12. 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  13. ***Coating***
  14. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  15. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
  16. 2 cups finely ground fresh bread crumbs


Combine the turkey, mashed potatoes, parsley, and black pepper.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add green onions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the flour and stir until well blended. Stir in chicken broth and milk. continue cooking, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add salt, to taste. Combine with the turkey mixture, blending well. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1 to 2 hours.

Put 1/2 cup of flour in a plate. Beat eggs in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Put the finely ground bread crumbs in another bowl.

Shape croquette mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (a little smaller if you’re making appetizers). Roll gently in the flour to coat, then in the egg until coated. Coat with the bread crumbs. Place on a waxed paper or foil-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining turkey mixture and crumbs. I keep plenty of paper towels and a bowl of water handy to keep my hands relatively clean.

Let the croquettes stand for about 30 to 45 minutes to dry a bit.

Heat oil to about 360°. Fry the croquettes in small batches for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, depending on size, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with hot turkey gravy and cranberry sauce as part of a post-holiday meal or as appetizers for guests.

Makes about 16 to 18 1 1/2-inch croquettes.


Turkey Hash with Sunny-Side Up Eggs

Courtesy of Country Living



  1. 1 lb. red potatoes
  2. 1½ tsp. salt
  3. 3 tbsp. olive oil
  4. 4 tsp. olive oil
  5. 1 small yellow onion
  6. 3 clove garlic
  7. 1 red bell pepper
  8. 1½ tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  9. ½ tsp. Freshly ground pepper
  10. 3 c. diced leftover white and dark meat roast turkey
  11. 8 large eggs



  • In a medium pot of cold water over high heat, bring potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, drain potatoes, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-low heat. Sauté onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add red bell pepper, 1 tablespoon thyme, pepper, and remaining salt, and sauté for 3 minutes more.
  • Increase heat to medium-high, add 1 tablespoon more oil, reserved potatoes, and turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and stir to mix. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove hash from heat and cover loosely with foil.
  • In two large nonstick skillets over medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons oil in each. Add 4 eggs to each pan and fry until whites are cooked, about 4 minutes. Divide hash among serving plates and top each with a fried egg, taking care not to break yolks. Garnish with remaining thyme.


L’Ecole Culinaire offers classes designed for the at home chef and this December the Holidays are in full swing in our classrooms. We’re offering gingerbread house decorating classes at our Memphis and St. Louis campuses and a Holiday Pies class at our Kansas City campus (among many other great classes!). To learn more or to register click here.

Thanksgiving Alternatives

Jambalaya Pic

Thanksgiving is a time when traditions abound. Everyone has their own version of the turkey-mashed potatoes-stuffing-yams combination they offer guests annually, but who says it has to be like that every year? Sometimes rules (and traditions) were made to be broken and at L’Ecole Culinaire we’re all about breaking the mold and trying something new.

Getting innovative with Thanksgiving dinner may seem strange, but it’s something your guests won’t expect and could very well be a welcome change. It also doesn’t have to be tricky either–in fact it could save you from spending hours laboring over cooking the turkey just right. How about a carrot and parsnip mash instead of potatoes? Or a yummy cavatappi bake instead of sweet potatoes? Here are a few recipes we’ve rounded up to help inspire you try something different.

Instead of a Whole Turkey:

Turkey and Sausage Jambalaya for a Crowd

Courtesy of The Food Network


1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups chopped yellow onions

1 cup chopped green bell peppers

1 cup chopped celery

1/8 cup chopped garlic

1 1/8 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

2 bay leaves

1 pound kielbasa or other cooked sausage, cut into 6 to 8-inch segments

2 smoked or cooked turkey legs

2 pounds cubed or shredded cooked turkey meat

1 cup chopped tomatoes and their juices

1 1/4 cups medium-grain white rice (about 1 1/8 pounds)

8 cups water

Hot Sauce

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme


In a very large roasting pan measuring approximately 21 by 17 by 7 inches with handles on both sides, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, Essence, salt, pepper, cayenne and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are very soft and starting to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Add the sausages and cook, stirring, until they start to brown on the outside, about 7 minutes. Add the turkey legs and meat and stir well. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to incorporate and coat evenly. Add the water, stir well to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover tightly, and cook without stirring until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 35 to 40 minutes, adding more water as needed if the liquid is all absorbed before the rice is tender.

Remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the green onions and parsley, and serve hot.

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Instead of Mashed Potatoes:

Carrot and Parsnip Mash

Courtesy of Brit + Co.


½ pound parsnips

2 carrots, peeled

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon thyme

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium-high heat. Peel the parsnips. Dice the parsnips and carrots, and add to the boiling water. Boil for 12-15 minutes, or until fork tender.
  2. Drain the carrots and parsnips and place in a food processor. Add olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pulse until combined. Enjoy!

Instead of Sweet Potato Casserole:

Cheesy Butternut Squash Cavatappi Bake


Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens


Nonstick cooking spray

3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash

8 ounces dried cavatappi or other elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon butter

8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced

3 green onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup fat-free milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

6 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)

2 slices reduced-sodium bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)

Thinly sliced green onions (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl combine squash and 2 Tbsp. water; cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 4 minutes; stir. Microwave, covered, about 4 minutes more or until squash is tender. Carefully remove plastic wrap. Mash squash; set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a medium saucepan heat butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and green onions. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add milk, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in squash. Add pasta. Gently fold to combine.
  4. Transfer half of the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Add remaining pasta and cheese. Top with bacon, if desired. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Top with additional green onions, If desired.


L’Ecole Culinaire can help you get inspired in the kitchen any time of year with our public cooking classes, designed for the at-home chef. This December our St. Louis campus is offering classes in Holiday Cookies, Wine Tasting and Basic Baking – Beginner (just for kids!). Our Kansas City campus offers classes in Holiday Pies and Stuffed Pasta – Beginner and our Memphis campus is offering a class on building the perfect Gingerbread Cottage. For more information or to register click here.