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Bring Thanksgiving Outdoors with These 3 Easy Recipes Using Leftovers!

Bring Thanksgiving Outdoors with These 3 Easy Recipes Using Leftovers!

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Without a doubt, you'll likely have a ton of leftovers when Thanksgiving has come and gone-and that's something to be thankful for. Why? Well, your meals this holiday weekend at the crag doesn't have to be power bars and oatmeal. Using leftovers as ingredients, you can put together simple, delicious meals that pack up easily for your long days climbing in the outdoors. To prove it, we've teamed up with Michelle Park of the Out of Thyme blog to provide you with 3 recipes easy enough for the culinary-illiterate! Michelle, take it away!


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I’ll be honest. My Thanksgiving leftover fix of choice is as follows: a ciabatta roll spread with garlic aioli and filled with unholy proportions of stuffing, turkey, cranberry and gravy. It doesn’t travel well, and the only activity it inspires after its consumption is a nice, long nap.

This is usually fine by me, but I liked the challenge of repurposing the same leftovers in a more versatile way. These three recipes transform almost every part of Thanksgiving dinner into a tasty and portable snack, perfect for refueling all throughout your big day outdoors.

pumpkin cranberry oat bars copy

1. Pumpkin puree + cranberry sauce =
Pumpkin and Cranberry Oat Bars 

Yield: 24 bars | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes

Don’t you hate it when a recipe calls for less than a can of something? Cheer up and use that pesky leftover pumpkin puree in these tasty bars—they’re vegan and gluten-free, too!

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup cranberry sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Grind the oats into a flour in a blender or food processor. Measure out 2 1/2 cups of the oat flour into a large bowl and add the baking powder and baking soda. Stir to combine.

Combine the pumpkin, sugar, oil, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, 1/4 cup of the cranberry sauce and 1/4 cup water in another large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and spread out into an even layer. Dollop the remaining 1/2 cup cranberry sauce over the top and use a butter knife to draw vertical and horizontal lines through the dollops, creating a marbleized effect. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 25 minutes.


potato and turkey croquettes2. Mashed potato + turkey + gravy =
Potato and Turkey Croquettes
Yield: About 15 croquettes | Prep Time:  10 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour

I’ve been eating and testing Thanksgiving recipes all week, and I still voluntarily ate two of these. They’re that good. They hold together surprisingly well due to their slightly flattened shape, so they’ll still be in one piece until you decide to eat them.

  • 3 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cooked turkey meat, finely shredded or chopped
  • 1/4 cup gravy or cranberry sauce
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the mashed potatoes and 1/2 cup of the flour in a large bowl and stir to combine. Combine the turkey meat with the gravy or cranberry sauce in a medium bowl. Season the turkey mixture with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place the panko breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Roll 2 tablespoons of the mashed potatoes into a ball, then flatten it slightly into a disc. Place 1 teaspoon of the turkey filling in the center and carefully pinch the surrounding potato around it to enclose the filling. Roll it back into a ball and flatten it slightly into a disc again. Set it aside on a plate and repeat with the rest of the potato and turkey filling. If the potato mixture starts to get too wet, stir up to 1/4 cup more flour into it.

Set the plate of croquettes in the freezer for at least 5 minutes to firm up. Dip a croquette into the egg, letting the excess drip off, then into the panko so that it's completely covered. Repeat with the remaining croquettes.

Arrange the croquettes on the prepared baking sheet, spray generously with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes. Take them out, gently flip each one over and generously spray the other side with more cooking spray. Return to the oven and bake until the tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes more.

stuffing frittata bites

3. Stuffing + herbs =
Stuffing Frittata Muffins
Yield: 12 frittata muffins | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes

These cute little frittatas were by far the easiest and, in my opinion, the tastiest recipe of the bunch, and I love that it manages to use up some leftover herbs, too.

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 milk (or 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup chopped herbs
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 heaping cup of stuffing, broken into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the eggs, milk, herbs, a heavy pinch of salt and some pepper in a small pitcher. Distribute the stuffing among the 12 muffin cups and fill each one 3/4 of the way with the egg mixture.

Bake until the eggs are completely set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.


Michelle studied Classic Culinary Arts at the French Culinary Institute in SoHo and worked at the prestigious Betony in Midtown (New York). She is a chef, writer, and freelance recipe tester currently working as an editorial intern at the Food Network. Follow her on Instagram @outofthyme

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