Food Network Chefs Answer: "What Do You Do with All Those Thanksgiving Leftovers?"

From classic to creative, get the stars' best ideas for repurposing Thanksgiving leftovers.
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Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

There are two schools of thought when it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers: classic and creative. You can either keep the day-after eats exceedingly simple, with fixings smashed between slices of bread for rustic sandwiches, or you can dress up the goods that remain and turn them into all-new meals worthy of their holiday. FN Dish checked in with some of your favorite Food Network chefs to see how they put leftovers to work, and as it turns out, they, too, lean toward either easy-does-it sandwiches or inspired, next-level creations. Read on below to see what they have to say, and then leave a comment telling us how your family enjoys leftovers.

Alex Guarnaschelli

The first day, you eat a sandwich, you eat a salad, you’re just kind of eating, you’re grazing again, because you’re having the meal again. But, then the day after, if you still have a lot of leftovers, you’ve got to get creative, because people start to get that look in their eye, like they want to order a pizza. I like to make what’s called a hachis parmentier, which is like a shepherd’s pie. And you just chop up whatever turkey meat — and this way you can use the not-so-pretty pieces and the little scraps — and put that in the bottom of some gravy or some stock and then cover it with the leftover mash or the leftover potato gratin, or the leftover sweet potatoes, and you bake it with a layer of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top, until it gets all bubbly. And it’s sort of, like, a really beautiful garbage to throw all your leftovers in, bake it and have, like, this delicious, bubbling hot thing.

Photo by: David Lang ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

David Lang, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Anne Burrell

I make [a] leftover turkey sandwich. So I take bread, I toast it, use leftover gravy as the mayonnaise and then I put in stuffing, mashed potatoes and turkey. So I make a sandwich the next day with all the stuff that I had on the fork the day before.

Photo by: Todd Plitt ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Todd Plitt, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Sunny Anderson

Fry it. Like stuffing — 'cause the next day it’s like a brick. I’ll make it into a ball, and then I’ll dredge it, and just a typical dredge using panko. Fry that, and then I dip it in the cranberry. The recipe is on the website. (Editor's note: Find it here.) And then mac and cheese, same thing. It’s like a brick; just dredge it, fry it.

Chopped Judge Amanda Freitag, as seen on Food Networks Chopped, Season 14

Photo by: David Lang ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

David Lang, 2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Amanda Freitag

I usually go for the traditional sammie — you know, get that sandwich going. I’ve [also] put turkey in eggs before. Scrambled eggs with toast with turkey is so good. … Turkey, little greens, little scallions. Yum!

Guest judge Valerie Bertinelli, as seen on Food Network's Chopped Junior, Season 1.

Photo by: Scott Gries ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Scott Gries, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Valerie Bertinelli

We always cook an extra turkey just so we can make gumbo the next day.

Photo by: David Lang ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

David Lang, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Michael Symon

For me, it’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I don’t do anything crazy special, but because I’m cooking a whole meal, by the time dinner comes, I don’t eat a whole lot. But the cold turkey sandwich with hot sauce on it out of the fridge is — turkey, stuffing, hot sauce, bun.

Aarón Sánchez

We do everything from chilaquiles to enchiladas.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Giada De Laurentiis

Turkey sandwiches. I have a post-Thanksgiving Monte Cristo in my new cookbook. It calls for leftover cranberry sauce, too!

Chopped: After Hours Chef Marc Murphy, as seen on Food Network's Chopped: After Hours.

Photo by: David Lang ©2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

David Lang, 2013,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Marc Murphy

I do have one of my favorite dishes, and it’s — I take the leftover turkey, the leftover stuffing, dice it all up, I put it in a pan, put a little bit of butter, then I take the leftover mashed potatoes, mix them with, like, Gruyère cheese, put it on top like a shepherd’s pie, but it’s a shepherd pie made with all the leftovers. And you can actually take the gravy and fold it into the meat and the stuffing to moisten it, and then you put the potatoes on top and you just bake it in the oven.

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