All the preparation, anticipation, and hours of work for the one big meal on Thanksgiving may be a bit more difficult to justify if it wasn't for the best part -- leftovers.
Knowing that your refrigerator is stocked with all those delectable dishes just waiting for you is one of the best rewards of all the efforts.
But let's face it, after a few meals, even the most passionate Thanksgiving connoisseur can get a little tired of the same plate.
Here are a few ways to jazz up your Thanksgiving leftovers so you get the ultimate meal mileage from all that work:
It's such a versatile meat that doesn't get enough play during the rest of the year in most households. It can be used in virtually any dish you would use chicken. One of my favorite post-Thanksgiving dishes is Turkey Enchiladas.
There are only so many servings of stuffing you can eat before you're stuffed. Try whipping up this stuffing frittata that uses eggs and cheese. It's a great brunch dish if you have house guests.
Shepherd's pie is an easy meal to make if you have the potato part taken care of already. It's also a great meal to feed a large group and easy to make ahead.
Crazy for cranberries, but not quite ready to hit the sauce early in the morning? Whip up a batch of these morning-after cranberry muffins.
Some nice, warm soup is the perfect post-shopping meal on Black Friday. Try this sweet potato bisque that uses your leftover yams.
You don't need much of a recipe for this most amazing use of the traditional Thanksgiving dessert -- pumpkin pie milkshakes. Just toss leftover pie into a blender with some vanilla ice cream, add a little milk to get your desired consistency, top with whipped cream, and ... yum! It's better than the plain old pie any day.
As for your leftover energy ... never mind.
What are your favorite recipes for leftover Thanksgiving foods?
Image via Bitman/Flickr