What To Do With Your Thanksgiving Leftovers, According To Bobby Flay

Thanksgiving is one of the most delicious days of the year. With turkey, stuffing, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and all kinds of other tasty sides and desserts, it is perhaps the most anticipated meal of the holiday season. But once the turkey is cooked and the dinner is finished, it is pretty much inevitable that there will still be lots of food leftover after a Thanksgiving meal. As much as we might love Thanksgiving food, not all of it ends up on our plates. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Thanksgiving is one of the biggest food waste days of the year, with an estimated 172 million pounds of turkey, 40 million pounds of mashed potatoes, and 38 million pounds of stuffing winding up in the trash can.

One of the best ways to ensure all that food doesn't go to waste is to find ways to incorporate your Thanksgiving leftovers into meals for the upcoming week. Although some people may be content to simply eat smaller versions of Thanksgiving dinner all week long, others like to get a little more creative. Earlier this week, celebrity chef Bobby Flay gave listeners some great ideas for what they can do with all that leftover turkey, stuffing, and more on his podcast, "Always Hungry," which he co-hosts with his daughter, Sophie Flay.

Use each individual leftover on its own

In the newest podcast episode available on iHeart Radio, Bobby Flay shared some creative tips for how to turn classic Thanksgiving leftovers into innovative new dishes once the holiday is done. "Some people eat leftovers for way too many days," Flay joked, but he agreed that leftovers are fair game for at least a day or so after the holiday. And he certainly has strong opinions on Thanksgiving leftovers. "I don't like dishes [that] take all of the ingredients from Thanksgiving and put them in a casserole," he explained, saying instead that he preferred to "take each individual ingredient and take a look at how I can utilize that ingredient as if it were the only thing I had."

This way, Flay creates unique meals from each leftover, such as Brussels sprouts nachos, which he makes with cheese sauce, turkey, and a garnish of pomegranate seeds, or a tart cranberry relish for the ideal addition to any charcuterie board. Flay also had no shortage of suggestions for the main course. Leftover meat can be used to make turkey tacos, turkey enchiladas, turkey pot pie, turkey soup, and of course, the classic turkey sandwich, although Flay recommends adding cranberries, gravy, or even brie for an extra flavorful touch. So no matter what foods you have left in the fridge the day after Thanksgiving, there is no shortage of delicious meals you can make without letting anything go to waste.