From HuffPo: 10 Recipes, 10 Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

This article was originally published on November 14th in the Huffington Post. Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday -- it's a day that's American to the core and it's a day that's all about what and how we eat.

I learned from my grandmother, who grew up in devastating war times, how important it is to keep with tradition and celebrate the holidays during tough times. Hurricane Sandy showed us that more than anything. Residents in the New York area witnessed the kind of impact one act of nature can have, and now more than ever we need to keep tradition to lift our spirits. It's also the time to offer whatever you can to friends, neighbors or anyone who could benefit from even the smallest gesture of kindness.

I often talk about cooking with a spiritual compass -- when you're making that turkey on Thanksgiving morning, think about buying one more bird and giving it away. Hurricane Sandy lessened the number of food banks receiving free turkeys this year because many who usually donate were displaced by the storm. Additionally, frozen-food sections of supermarkets were damaged, ruining many turkeys that would otherwise be given away. Give someone who is struggling a reason to keep the holiday tradition alive in their home, wherever that may be.

And make sure to eat with a spiritual compass, too. Don't waste any part of your leftovers. A study by the National Resources Defense Council reported that Americans throw away 40 percent of the food supply every year. That's $165 billion annually. If you need help getting creative with how to use your Thanksgiving leftovers, with the help of Food Republic I've compiled my 10 favorite ways to make sure you're not wasting a thing this holiday season.

Turkey Split Sandwich Customers love our popular “Chickety Split” sandwich at the Red Rooster’s sister stand, the Nook. Here’s a new way to use the turkey meat leftovers that’s not only delicious, it will have your guests coming back for more. You can make the bread and butter pickles yourself, or just use store bought ones to save some time. And for an added kick, I love throwing some spice shake onto the fried turkey.

Stuffed Mac-N-Cheese Folding leftover stuffing into freshly made mac-n-cheese isn’t for the faint of heart. But it’s definitely an easy and fun way to use up what’s left. Serve with a side salad and plenty of fresh vegetables to offset the richness of this dish.

Turkey Ramen After Thanksgiving, most people opt to just use the leftover meat for sandwiches and casseroles. But in my house, I like to go 360 degrees on the bird which means using the bones and carcasses to make a rich turkey stock that’s the perfect basis for a hot bowl of ramen the next day.

Harissa Roasted Turkey Breast If you’re entertaining a smaller crowd, you don’t have to buy a whole bird. Think about spicing up a turkey breast with some exotic flavors that will ensure your guests aren’t even thinking about what happened to the drumstick.

Mashed Potato Goat Cheese Kale Instead of just reheating your sides, why not get creative and invent a new dish to have the next day? Here’s a modern take on traditional Irish colcannon, courtesy of Food Republic.

Ham and Cheese Biscuit If your family prefers ham over turkey on Thanksgiving, don’t break out the sandwich bread for your leftovers. Why not make some of your own?

Cranberry Cornbread Trifle Leftovers can be dessert too! This is a no-cook dessert recipe that is as easy as it is delicious using leftover cranberry sauce. Perfect for a sweet ending the day after Thanksgiving, use clear water glasses or martini glasses for a beautiful and colorful presentation.

Glögg From the middle of November on through the New Year, glögg is served in Swedish homes on every festive occasion or when visitors drop by. Many families also like to serve glögg after the evening meal, when everyone is sitting around the fire, and this can be enjoyed all winter long.

Leftover Thanksgiving Hash In Sweden there’s a dish called pytt i panna that’s literally translated to little pieces in a pan. Here, we call it a hash and there’s no better way to use your Thanksgiving leftovers (or any leftovers) than to fry them up with some potatoes and throw in some kind of protein. Here I use fingerling potatoes, brussel sprouts, leftover turkey, and drizzle it with some turkey gravy. The best part? The fried egg on top.

Turkish Candied Squash If you have some leftover squash from your stuffing or roasted vegetable dish, this is a great way to have something unexpected and sweet for your weekend houseguests. Taking cues from Istanbul, this treat is topped with sesame seeds for crunch and can be served with our without sweet cream.

Thanksgiving Day Tips

By: Ashley Bode

This time last year I was in the midst of planning an annual Friends' Thanksgiving for twenty of my favorite people. I spent my days sifting through editions of Bon Apetite and Gourmet, old and new, to find recipes that were unique, delicious, and relatively time-efficient. I budgeted out every expense so as not to overspend.  I was making place-cards, sending invites, learning fancy napkin folds, polishing wine glasses, buffing china and rearranging furniture.

This year my holiday will be much more low key. I will be in my new home, not nearly large enough to host five people, let alone twenty. We will probably go out to eat, taking advantage of the best Thanksgiving meal New York has to offer or stay in and have sweet potato pie and a turkey sandwich. Since I can't partake in the planning of my own feast, I am offering up the eight things I've learned in hosting Thanksgiving that can be tricky if you're not prepared.

1. Don't wait until the last minute I admit, I procrastinate at nearly everything, but paying bills, buying new music, and planning parties do not fall into this category. Plan every detail in advance. Configure your table space, choose your guest list, set your menu in stone, and grocery shop in advance. It will make the rest of the party effortless.

2. Serve only what you feel comfortable serving My first Friends' Thanksgiving I decided to cook everything, because I couldn't insure that my guests would bring something appropriate or plentiful enough for everyone. Taking the cooking into my own hands was a huge task, but I knew exactly what we would be eating and didn't have to worry about two people bringing mashed potatoes or someone forgetting the pie. It was my first turkey experience so I chose the easiest recipe so that I could guarantee success. This is not the holiday to cook outside your comfort zone.  If you do host a pot-luck, assign dishes.

3. Make sure there is a wide variety It is definitely important to have the Thanksgiving essentials, but don't be scared to step out of that box. The past two years I have hosted vegetarians which can be difficult for such a meat-centric meal. Offer vegetable mains like gratins, lasagna, or pasta. These are just as pleasing as side dishes and also make perfect alternatives to those with dietary restrictions or just don't like turkey.

4. Always have a back-up plan Hosting a holiday party seems to be the perfect occasion in which Murphy's Law can be proven. Avoid these instances with a back-up plan. Often times people will bring a bottle of wine or a case of spiked cider for the host, intended to be shared, but don't count on it. Have your own stash available because nobody is going to want to run out to the liquor or grocery store once the drinks are tapped. Have extra chairs should an unexpected guest show. Give yourself ample time between when guests arrive and dinner starts because anything is possible and you don't want to be caught off guard with hungry guests.

5. Time it out! Carefully study your menu and work out the best system for cooking. Many dishes can be made or prepared ahead and finished just before serving. Blanche your veggies! Make your pies in advance! Double check the thawing time on the turkey! A lot of dishes on Thanksgiving also require using the oven, which has limited space since it will be housing The Bird, so make a list of what needs to be cooked, when, and where so you can adjust everything accordingly. I suggest finding unique or alternative cooking methods. Look for recipes that are stove top or in a slow cooker to alleviate that oven space. Do you know someone who owns a Dutch oven? Borrow it.

6. The littlest touches impress the most Many people are familiar with the hodge-podge feasts of their childhood, but now is the perfect time to elevate your holiday by making your guests feel special. Handmade touches throughout your party will impress your guests and have them thinking about being invited again next year. Send out invites, personalized and elegant. Make name cards, set the table and decorate appropriately. Include favorite dishes of your guests so they know you're thinking about them. Create a signature, one of a kind punch. Homemade pie crust and gravy---enough said.

7. The turkey will be the easiest part of your day If this is your first experience cooking a turkey, I promise you will be surprised at how simple the turkey will be. Don't sweat it, seriously. There are about a hundred other things to focus on. Let the turkey be; it practically cooks itself. If this isn't your first rodeo, kick that turkey up a notch. Try a new recipe and center your menu around the flavors of that turkey. My favorite? Sage seasoned turkey with Apple Jack Brandy and Cider Gravy.

8. Pick the right guests Great food and drinks are key, but having the right guest list is equally important. Naturally, invite those closest to you, friends or family. This year it may be time to include new faces; people who that need to be introduced, guests that might otherwise be celebrating alone, or someone you're just getting to know. Truly sharing is the spirit of this holiday.

What are some of your Thanksgiving tips?

Photo: Lindsay Drecoll Brown and Ashley Bode

For more of Ashley's tips and recipes, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

Vegetarian Thanksgiving - Meatless Monday with Katie

Can you guess how many turkeys Americans eat every Thanksgiving? Would you say five million? Or ten million? Those numbers are not even close. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 45 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving every year - yes, that many turkeys are eaten on one day. That's one fifth of the number of turkeys that are eaten in the U.S. on every other day during the year, all 364 of them. The numbers really put the American turkey-on-Thanksgiving obsession into perspective, don't they?

So here is my humble proposal: this Thanksgiving, why not break the mold and forgo the turkey feast for a vegetarian feast? Cosmically speaking, you may find it easier to have an attitude of gratitude on Thanksgiving with a feathered or furry friend-free meal. And isn't being grateful for what we have the true purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving in the first place?  I think so. When thankfully reflecting on my own good health, among other things, I like to add to that the fact that no animal's health, turkeys included, had to suffer for me to celebrate this thankful holiday.

There are countless vegetarian dishes that you can enjoy and really show your thanks with. Like I said, why not have a vegetarian feast? Here are some ideas for your vegetarian Thanksgiving menu:

  • Beet and Goat Cheese Napoleon with Mint

  • Fried Zucchini and Eggplant Wedges with Dill Creme Fraiche
  • Figs, Blue Cheese, and Honey on Toast
  • Shaved Chestnut and Celery Soup with Cranberries
  • Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds
  • Corn Bread Muffins with Apple Butter
  • Sweet Carrots in Brown Sugar
  • Potato Gruyere Gratin
  • Portabella Mushroom Filets
  • Apple Pie with Vermont Cheddar Ice Cream
  • Cinnamon Banana Bread Pudding
  • And of course, Pumpkin Pie with Fresh Whipped Cream

With four appetizers, five mains, and three desserts, you won't even miss the meat! Have you ever tried vegetarian Thanksgiving? If you have, leave a comment below about your experience. If you haven't, maybe you'll give it a try this year? Your feathered friends with thank you.