When Life Gives You Thanksgiving Leftovers, Make Pizza

Transforming Thanksgiving leftovers into homemade pizza is a creative — not to mention delicious — way to breathe new life into your feast remnants. With a little ingenuity, you can turn those classic, comforting flavors into a mouthwatering 'za your family and friends will gobble up. After all, it's a scientific fact that leftovers taste incredible. Might as well take advantage, right? Here are some ideas for how to put those T-Gives scraps to good use.

Mashed potatoes are an unconventional yet fantastic pizza topping, as they provide a wonderful contrast to the crispy crust. For a creamy, velvety base, spread a thin layer (about 1/2-inch thick) of mashed potatoes over the flattened dough. Then, disperse a liberal amount of bite-sized chunks or slivers of leftover turkey breast and/or ham, just as you would pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, and other pizza-friendly proteins.

To introduce a sweet and tangy twist, plop on a few dollops of cranberry sauce or drizzle it lightly over the top. Whether you love the jellied, canned variety or prefer to make your own from scratch, cranberry sauce's natural acidity pleasantly balances the richness of the other ingredients. Plus, its bold red hue is akin to conventional tomato-based sauce — which you can absolutely still use if cranberry sauce isn't up your alley. Again, the choice is 100% yours!

Thanksgiving leftover pizza is a next-day delight

Like any other ol' pizza pie throughout the year, the options are virtually endless when it comes to one that features Thanksgiving leftovers. Crumble a healthy portion of stuffing across the surface for an aromatic blast of herbs and spices. Dredge a smattering of corn kernels for a pop of chewy texture, sweet flavor, and bright color. Gravy, of course, can be drizzled over the to add viscosity and a rich flavor that impeccably compliments the other ingredients.

We're still talking about pizza here, correct? Well, then a generous sprinkle of shredded cheese is a must! The conventional mozzarella works amazingly, as always, but feel free to experiment with other cheese styles like cheddar, gouda, or provolone. If your hungry heart so desires, toss on additional toppings that harmonize with savory Thanksgiving fare. Sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, steamed green beans, sliced banana peppers, toasted pumpkin seeds, candied yams or sweet potatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes — heck, even zesty pickles — can add depth, crunch, and freshness. Lastly, an extra pinch of fragrant seasoning, such as rosemary, thyme, basil, or crushed red pepper, merely enhances the pizza's overall profile.

Instead of building yet another carved turkey sandwich, rustling up a festive pizza is a fun and inventive means to extend the enjoyment of Thanksgiving dinner. Who knows? Perhaps Friday after Thanksgiving pizza night will become a new, beloved holiday tradition for you.