Easy, Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas
You have been cooking for days and the main event has come to an end. The dishes aren’t even out of the dishwasher yet, but you need to figure out what to do with all of the Thanksgiving leftovers.
I’ve been pinning ideas and laughing at the options out there. I cannot be the only parent that watches their children munch a few bites of turkey, eat some potatoes, and push around everything else on their plates… right? All of that hard work! Who am I kidding? I’ll be excited if my kids taste the stuffing, but I won’t hold my breath.
Have you looked at the leftover recipe ideas for kids out in the blogosphere? Cranberry waffles. Will your kids eat something other than maple syrup on top of their waffles? If you answer yes, please send me all of your parenting secrets.
I would bet very few toddlers will devour a waffle covered in a thick cranberry sauce full of chunky berries. Am I wrong?
These are the things I’m finding.
I think it’s a joke; or I am just doing something terribly wrong. Our organic, local turkey, and amazing dishes won’t go to waste though. Neither should yours. Nor should you keep eating the same exact meal for the next 6 days. (I’m pretty sure that the kids would boycott after day 2.) All of the fried turkey balls, stuffing sandwiches, and zucchini stuffing boats can find their way to a more formal kitchen because my house is a bit more down-to-earth.
What will I be making with my leftovers? I am so glad that you asked!
Top Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes That Kids Will Eat
Homemade Mac and Cheese with Hidden Everything: I skip the mushrooms and add different types of cheese to this one.
Shepard’s Pie: I enjoy mine with stuffing, but you know that won’t go well with the kids…
Turkey Pot Pie: I use leftover veggies and a small layer of mashed potatoes on top before adding the crust.
Grilled Cheese and Turkey Sandwiches (or Quesadillas): Add everyone’s favorites to personalize each sandwich.
Stuffed Crescent Rolls: Again, personalize everyone’s to individual likings.
Turkey Soup: I typically strip the meat from the turkey Thanksgiving night and make this broth in the crockpot (or the instant pot).
Enchiladas: Ditch the black olives and use the sauce sparingly, but don’t go light on the cheese.
Turkey Pasta (or Rice, or Potatoes) with Cream Sauce: Two of my kids will pick the mushrooms out, but whatever, that’s their deal. This recipe is SO good over mashed potatoes or noodles.
Baked Cheesy Turkey Pasta: Hide whatever you think you can get away with in there!
Pizza: Homemade dough is ridiculously easy to make – although messy to roll out. You can make individual sizes or a large one that holds all the turkey leftovers. We do individual portions so that I can load mine with veggies, BBQ sauce, and hot sauce!
I promise that I have made these meals and my children actually approve of them. I leave out any odd textured ingredients when called for and just eat them on the side with my husband. I also have tried including the ‘riskier’ ingredients in half of the leftover dish instead of the whole thing. That way the adults can enjoy every delicious flavor without making two different meals. The biggest thing I have learned with trying to please a family of 6 is that you CANNOT please everyone with the same recipe. My kids cannot even decide on the same pizza toppings. I will not win this battle, but I feel triumphant if there’s enough flavor for the grown-ups and at least one child licks their plate clean. I’ll always have one kid gagging and pretending to die over anything that does not contain sugar, but you understand me there. I beg you to skip the slaving away over creative leftover recipes and stick with the simple meals for the next week or so. Good luck – and may the leftover-picky-eating-toddlers of the world eat without (too many) complaints.
Also – Buy more wine.