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Five Creative Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas (That You Can Make in Your Dorm Room!)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Starbucks has its red cups out, Christmas music is playing, the leaves have turned and it’s almost Thanksgiving. That also means it’s the time of year when leftovers will be eaten for days, if not weeks, after the biggest meal you will consume until next November. So how does a collegiette™ not get bored with the traditional cold turkey sandwiches for the rest of her Thanksgiving break? She gets creative!

Here are some easy ideas for how to put a creative spin on your leftovers so you can still enjoy them long(ish) after the holiday is over. (And ladies, most of these you could make in your own dorm room, so pack up some of that cranberry sauce and bring it back with you!)


Turkey Nacho Dip
Serves: 32
Total time: 10 minutes
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cheddar cheese, undiluted
¾ cup salsa
1 cup cubed turkey
Tortilla chips
Combine soup and salsa in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir in cubed turkey. Microwave until warm. Serve with tortilla chips.
You can make this easily in your dorm room, and it’s a great study snack!
Cranberry Turkey Salad
Serves: 12
Total time: 5 hours (most of this includes refrigeration!)
1 (3 oz) package lemon gelatin
2 cups boiling water (separate in half)
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
4 celery ribs, chopped
8 oz processed cheese cubed (such as Velveeta)
1 cup chopped almonds
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 cup whipped cream
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon onion salt
1 (3 oz) package raspberry gelatin
16 oz cranberry sauce
In a mixing bowl, dissolve lemon gelatin in 1 cup of the boiling water; refrigerate until slightly thickened. Beat for 1 minute. Stir in turkey, celery, cheese, almonds, eggs (optional), mayonnaise, whipped cream, salt and onion salt. Spread evenly into a baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Dissolve raspberry gelatin in remaining boiling water; stir in cranberry sauce until melted and blended. Spoon over turkey mixture. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Cut into squares.
I would recommend making this recipe at home unless you live off-campus. Trying this in a dorm room might be a bit much … but where there’s a will there’s a way!

Cranberry Fruit Dip
Serves: 10
Total time: 5 minutes
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup cranberry sauce
1 cup whipped cream
Beat the cream cheese and cranberry sauce together. Then add the whipped cream. Serve with fruit.
Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful breakfast? Skip the Pit when you come back and make this yummy spread instead!

Mashed Potatoes Au Gratin
Serves: 4
Total time: 35 minutes
4 cups leftover mashed potatoes
Salt and pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan
Leftover gravy
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread the mashed potatoes into a buttered baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until top is golden and crispy. Serve with reheated leftover gravy.
Voila: comfort food at its finest. Heat up the cold (and getting colder) nights with this yummy recipe.

Turkey Salad
Serves: 6
Total time: 15 minutes
1 ¼ lbs diced turkey breast
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped scallions
¾ cup chopped celery
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup seedless red grapes, cut in half
3 oz provolone cheese, cubed in ½ inches
½ cup sliced almonds (optional)
3 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons chives
Place the turkey in a medium mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining ingredients and combine. You can serve on bread to make a sandwich as well.
A yummy lunch idea! For those of you who like chicken salad, this is a great alternative. You can cut down on extra ingredients such as the scallions, grapes, cheese and chives if you like. You can also cut back some of the mayo to make it a little healthier.
Reinvented Green Beans
Serves: 4
Total time: 5 minutes
4 cups leftover cooked green beans
2 shallots, minced
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Place green beans and shallots in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Add mixture to green beans and toss.
This recipe has a kick and is pretty low in fat. Sounds like a win-win to me!

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