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Recipe ideas using Thanksgiving leftovers

Terri Geiser with the UT Culinary Institute has 3 different recipes to help you use up those Thanksgiving leftovers.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Mexican Twist on Shepherd's Pie

A great way to use Thanksgiving dinner left overs

Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


2 tablespoons cooking oil

1/2 cup green or red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 cups left over gravy

1 tablespoon granulated garlic 

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 cups left over turkey, diced 

1 cup frozen yellow corn, canned (drained) or fresh when available

1 cup diced tomatoes

3 cups mashed potatoes, seasoned

1 cup shredded cheese (choice: Mexican blend, cheddar, etc.)

Jalapeno pepper slices to garnish, optional

Cilantro to garnish


In a medium pan, heat the oil and saute the onions and green peppers until soft. Stir in gravy, granulated garlic and chili powder. Add turkey, corn, and tomatoes and gently mix. Transfer the turkey mixture to 4 oven proof serving bowls or an 8 x 8 inch square baking dish. Spoon on mashed potatoes to cover the top and top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Thanksgiving Dinner Burrito

Serves 2 or cut in half to serve 4
Prep time: 10 minutes; Total time: 


2 large flour tortillas

2 heaping tablespoons sour cream mixed with 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 cup leftover roast turkey (white or dark meat)

1/4 cup leftover mashed potatoes

2 tablespoons leftover stuffing

1 tablespoon shredded cheddar

1/4 cup leftover turkey gravy

Optional: Leftover cranberry sauce

Garnish: Cilantro, Chives, or Parsley (chopped)


Gather the ingredients.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. place one rack above the middle rack in the oven. 

Quickly warm the burrito-sized tortillas in the microwave for about 15 seconds. This makes it easy to fold.

Place the tortilla on a large oven-safe plate, then spread the center with sour cream. 

Separately, heat up the roast turkey and leftover stuffing in microwave for faster results.

Add the dressing, turkey and cheese to the center of the warmed tortilla, covering the sour cream. 

Roll the burrito by folding the end of the burrito over the filling and then folding in the sides while rolling the tortilla. Bake the burrito until top is toasted and golden.

Meanwhile, heat the gravy in a small pot on medium-low heat (or in microwave) until it is hot.

Pour the gravy over the top of the burrito while it is hot. Cover as much, or as little, of the burrito that you wish. Top with leftover cranberry sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs of choice. 

Caprese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Terri Geiser

Serves 2-4
Prep time: roasting squash about 20 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes 


1 spaghetti squash

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 & 1/2  cups left-over turkey 

6-8 ounces Mozzarella cheese

10 Cherry tomatoes with enough olive oil and salt to season them

Fresh basil leaves to garnish

Balsamic Glaze:

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoon brown sugar


Preheat oven to 375 F. Place squash in baking dish and rub with oil and roast for 20 minutes or until tender.

Remove from oven cut in half, remove seeds and scrape up flesh to loosen using a fork. 

Sprinkle each half of the squash with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle on Italian seasoning. Add turkey and cover the whole top of each half with Mozzarella cheese. Oil and salt the cherry tomatoes and place around on top of the cheese. 

Place back into the oven and cook until the tomatoes have roasted, the cheese has melted and the dish has heated through, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make balsamic glaze by bringing balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes on med-low heat until it reduces and thickens.

Remove spaghetti squash from oven and generously top with fresh basil leaves, then drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve and enjoy

Terri's Tips:

For more tomato flavor, mix in 2 tablespoons tomato paste when loosening the flesh. 

Can use diced chicken or ground beef, (cooked).