Throw a leftover potluck

Nov 3, 2011 at 8:26 p.m. ET

If the day after Thanksgiving usually finds you staring into the refrigerator thinking “What do I do with these leftovers?”, you’re not alone. Your friends are probably in the same boat, so why not invite everyone for a potluck?

Thanksgiving potluck sandwich


Take a quick poll of friends to find out who will be around for Thanksgiving. Send a group email, or create a poll on your favorite social networking or e-invitation site. Once friends RSVP "yes," you can set up a list of dishes you'd like them to bring. This will help avoid a potluck that consists of ten pumpkin pies but no leftover turkey!


Planning your leftover potluck is about more than just the food. Will your potluck be a casual get- together or a formal affair? If it's casual, check out festive disposable tableware and tablecloths.

Also, think about how you'll be incorporating leftovers into your potluck. If you'll be serving leftover turkey sandwiches, buy rolls and condiments ahead of time. Be sure to have a variety of beverages on hand, like wine, seasonal beers, liqueurs and non-alcoholic options, too. Planning your potluck before the big holiday means less stress and more time for our third step:


You may want to cook extra on Thanksgiving so you'll actually have leftovers for your potluck! For example, if you normally roast a 12-pound turkey, buy a larger bird to be sure there's enough for everyone. (A good rule of thumb is roughly one pound of turkey per person.) Double the batch of sauces and sides. Or, rather than sharing leftovers in their "leftover" state, add them to different recipes. Add turkey to a flour tortilla and top with shredded cheddar cheese and you have a twist on quesadillas. Chop leftover vegetables, simmer in chicken or vegetable broth and then purée to make a hearty seasonal soup.

The possibilities for a leftover potluck are endless. Just remember our three Ps -- poll, plan and prep -- and you and your friends will be able to effortlessly share the season and great food together.

Watch: How to make turkey pot pie

Perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers of turkey and vegetables, turkey pot pie is a warm, filling dish that gives you loads of room for creativity in the ingredients.


More Thanksgiving ideas

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