Not Your Average Dinner: Thanksgiving Leftovers Quesadilla Bar

Turn yesterday's feast into a fun make-your-own-plate meal the next day.
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Photo By: Carlene Thomas, RDN, L.D.

Photo By: Carlene Thomas, RDN, L.D.

Photo By: Carlene Thomas, RDN, L.D.

Photo By: Carlene Thomas, RDN, L.D.

Photo By: Carlene Thomas, RDN, L.D.

Photo By: Carlene Thomas, RDN, L.D.

Photo By: Carlene Thomas, RDN, L.D.

Photo By: Carlene Thomas, RDN, L.D.

Photo By: Carlene Thomas, RDN, L.D.

A Surprising Second-Day Spread

Reimagining Thanksgiving leftovers as an entirely new post-holiday meal is as much a tradition as the turkey itself. We're guessing you've had your fair share of Black Friday turkey sandwiches over the years, but that's not all you can do with a fridge stuffed with a feast. This year, set everything out on the counter, add a few extra ingredients (read: lots of cheese), and flip fully loaded quesadillas for dinner. Here are eight mix-and-match combinations to try.

Turkey + Stuffing + Cranberry Sauce + Goat Cheese

This ultimate classic combination (often piled between two slices of bread the day after the party) needs no introduction. Tangy goat cheese is the perfect complement to the cranberry sauce, and it also brightens the savory stuffing and turkey.

Cranberry Sauce + Apple + Brie

Don't let the leftovers from yesterday's first-course cheese platter go to waste. Steal some melty Brie from your stash and layer it with tart green apple slices and cranberry sauce on a corn tortilla to recast your favorite appetizer flavors in a whole new way.

Roasted Vegetables + Cheddar Cheese

We're guessing roasted vegetables appeared on your Thanksgiving table in many forms — good thing they all taste great together, no matter what. Mix them together (we added some sliced mushrooms, too) and sprinkle with aged cheddar on a corn tortilla.

Macaroni and Cheese + Butternut Squash + Ham

If your family serves ham on Thanksgiving (it's a popular Southern tradition), we dare you to transform the elegant main into a devilishly decadent dinner the next day. Salty ham packs a delicious punch next to macaroni and cheese (you know your mouth is already watering!). Toss in cubes of butternut squash for a nutritious addition and a hint of sweetness. The kids are gonna love this once-a-year treat.

Turkey + Avocado + Bacon

You’re not restricted to Thanksgiving leftovers at this quesadilla party! With some extra ingredients (avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato), you've got the fixings for a twist on a turkey club. Fill the quesadilla with avocado slices for a chunkier texture, or mash and spread the avocado to meld the flavors even more. And don’t forget a little mayo or spicy aioli to make it extra savory.

Green Bean Casserole + Ham

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without this retro-yet-timeless casserole on our buffets — and yet someone always makes too much of it. Take advantage of its umami cream sauce and crispy fried onions for your next-day quesadilla. Add ham to complete the bite.

Brussels Sprouts + Blue Cheese + Mashed Potatoes

Leftover Brussels sprouts might turn mushy in the microwave, but they pair fabulously with mashed potatoes, funky blue cheese and fresh thyme between two tortillas. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half or in quarters so the tortillas sit evenly. 

Sweet Potato + White Chocolate + Chai

We didn't forget dessert, of course. Sweet potatoes might have been a side yesterday, but with white chocolate, chai spices and corn tortillas, they just might become your favorite fall sweet.