Battle of the Thanksgiving Leftovers!!

Thanksgiving leftovers

So far in our Thanksgiving-themed series, we’ve talked about how to cook a Thanksgiving  turkey, dished about side dishes, and drooled over desserts.  Thanksgiving Day will be here before you know it and it’s a day that can be filled with good food, the company of friends and family, and who knows, maybe even some Detroit Lions football.  Before we all know it though, the day has come and gone and we’re left we our memories and likely some leftovers…and in some cases, lots of leftovers!  This leads us to ask, what can you do with all of those Thanksgiving leftovers?  I mean, how many turkey sandwiches can one person really eat?!

Battle of the Thanksgiving Leftovers!!

We put out the call to several of our Chef Instructors here at Dorsey Culinary Academy, and asked them for their re-imagined creations using Thanksgiving leftovers.  It’s a little something we like to call, Battle of the Leftovers!!

Each chef was provided with a list of Thanksgiving leftover ingredients:

  • Turkey (lots of turkey!)
  • Green Bean Casserole with Fried Onion Topping
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • One-half of a full Pumpkin Pie

They were then tasked with giving their spin on transforming common Thanksgiving leftovers into a new meal.  The chefs were allowed to use additional ingredients (that may be around the house) to craft their culinary creations.  The dishes should be something executed with easy to medium difficulty in a relatively short amount of time.

We want to know…after reviewing the recipes below, which chef do you think created the most creative meal (and the meal that sounds the tastiest)??

Let’s meet our contestants:

  • Chef John Piazza CEC, Program Director for Dorsey Culinary Academy
  • Chef Jeremy Abbey CEC, CEPC, CCE, CCA, Associate Director for Dorsey Culinary Academy
  • Chef John Felczak, Catering Manager and Chef Instructor for Dorsey Culinary Academy

Now, let’s get cooking!

Chef Piazza’s Menu


  • Fried Potato Cake with a tomato and cheddar salad
  • Turkey Pot Pie
  • Creamy Pumpkin Muffins

Turkey Pot Pie – One complete meal with leftovers.


butter1/2 oz
mushrooms, medium4 oz
saltto taste
pepper, ground blackto taste
potato, red bliss (medium dice)3 oz
carrot (medium dice)3 oz
onion, pearl3 oz
*Green Beans, rinsed clean and cut small3 oz
corn kernels, fresh (may use frozen)3 oz
*Turkey Gravy1 1/2 pt
cream, heavy4 fl oz
*Turkey Pieces, boneless (cooked, large dice)1 lb  4 oz
Biscuit Dough (cut into small discs)as needed
Egg Washas needed



  1. Heat the butter in a small sauté pan and sauté the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Blanch or steam the potatoes, carrots, onions, and corn separately until tender.
  3. Bring the turkey gravy to a simmer. Add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the turkey, potatoes, green beans and other vegetables to the sauce, season with salt and pepper and ladle into a shallow half-size hotel or other pan.
  5. Cover the pan with the biscuit dough. Egg-wash the top of the dough. Bake at 400°F (200°C) until the top is well browned, approximately 15 minutes.


Makes 8 servings

Crispy Potato Pancakes with Tomato and Cheddar Salad


Potato Pancake Ingredients

*Leftover mashed potatoes1 lb  7.5 oz
cumin, whole1/4 oz   (2 tsp)
coriander, ground1 tsp
turmeric1/2 tsp
garam masala1 tsp
saltTo taste
chili powder1/2 tsp
onion, yellow (minced)2 oz   (1/3 cup)
cilantro, fresh (minced)3/4 oz   (1/4 cup)
oil, olive (for frying)as needed
yogurt, plain and thickas needed



  1. Warm leftover mashed potatoes in a sauce pan without adding any additional liquid.
  2. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, salt to taste, chili powder, onion, and cilantro to potatoes.
  3. Form patties about 1/2 inch (1 1/2 cm) thick using 2 tablespoons (43 g) of potato mixture each. Heat enough oil to cover bottom of skillet over medium heat until hot.
  4. In batches, sauté potato cakes until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Drain on paper toweling. Keep warm in low-temperature oven while frying remaining potato cakes.
  5. Top with table spoon if cold yogurt and serve with salad.


Makes 10 portions at 2 ½ ounces each

vinegar, red wine3 tbl
Orange Juice (fresh) (or pineapple juice)1/4 cup  2 tbl
Olive oil1/4 cup  2 tbl
salt1/2 tsp
ground black pepper1/4 tsp
lettuce, green leaf (torn into bite size pieces)14 oz   (9 cups)
tomatoes, fresh (cut into bite size pieces)1 lb  2 oz   (6 ea)
cheese, aged sharp cheddar (crumbled)3 oz   (1 cup)
Pistachio nuts (toasted and chopped)2 1/4 oz   (1/4 cup  2 tbl)
scallions (sliced thin)3/4 oz   (2 tbl)



  1. Place all ingredients for vinaigrette in bowl and whisk until well mixed and slightly thickened. Correct seasonings.
  2. Mix all salad ingredients in bowl.
  3. At serving time, pour vinaigrette over salad, toss gently to coat thoroughly.
  4. Serve with freshly fried potato pancake.

Pumpkin Muffins with soft pumpkin center

and cream cheese icing

Muffin Ingredients

flour, all purpose10 3/4 oz
baking soda1/2 tsp
baking powder1 1/4 tsp
cinnamon, ground3/4 tsp
cloves, ground1/2 tsp
ginger, ground3/4 tsp
cardamom seed, ground1/8 tsp
eggs3 1/4 ea
sugar, granulated1 lb  1 1/2 oz
oil, vegetable3 1/4 fl oz
salt1 tsp
pumpkin, canned13 1/4 oz
orange juice5 fl oz
Leftover pumpkin pie (crust removed) Approximately 1/3 pie


  1. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  2. Whip the eggs in a mixer fitted with the whip attachment until well beaten. Add the sugar, oil and salt and whip for 5 minutes on medium speed. Add the pumpkin purée and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Pour in the orange juice and mix until smooth.
  3. Scale the batter into greased and paper-lined muffin tins or paper baking cups approximately 2/3 full. Using a table spoon measure, scoop the pre-made pumpkin pie, form into a ball, and push into the center of the muffin batter.  The batter should completely cover the inserted pie scoop.
  4. Bake at 400°F (200°C) until the muffins bounce back when lightly pressed, approximately 18 to 22 minutes.
  5.  Once cooled, top the muffins with the cream cheese icing.


Makes 12 muffins

Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients

cheese, cream (softened)8 oz
sugar, confectioners3 1/4 oz
butter, unsalted (softened)1 1/4 oz
vanilla extract0.08 fl oz



  1. Blend the cream cheese on low speed in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the powdered sugar in increments stirring well between additions and scraping down the bowl frequently.
  2. Add the softened butter and vanilla. Blend on low speed until smooth, scraping down the bowl frequently.

*recipes adapted from Pearson Kitchen Manager to accommodate the Thanksgiving Day leftovers.

Chef Abbey’s Menu

“I’m sick of pumpkin pie!”

As the Thanksgiving holiday winds down, you may be absolutely sick of eating pumpkin pie but not wanting to throw it out. Here is a great alternative to eating dessert that can utilize some of those leftovers before they end up in the freezer until the next holiday:

Turkey in Pumpkin Mole with Potato Cakes and Crispy Green Bean Casserole

Pumpkin Pie Mole

  • 1/2, 8 inch pumpkin pie
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 Tbls Canola Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbls Chili powder
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 ancho chili peppers, whole
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups Turkey (chicken) stock
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup almonds
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add all the spices and the ancho chili. Cook until fragrant. Break up the pie and add to pan. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add almonds. Reduce heat and cook for 20-30 minutes. Remove ancho peppers (for a spicier sauce, remove the stem and seeds from the pepper and return to the pot) and puree until smooth. Return to heat and continue simmering until a deep, complex flavor is developed (additional 20-30 minutes). If sauce becomes too thick, add water until desired consistency is reached. Stir in chocolate to melt and season with salt and pepper.

Turkey in Mole

Cut the turkey into desired portions size. Coat generously with Pumpkin Pie Mole and heat in 400°F oven until heated through.

Mashed Potato Cake

  • 1 cup Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup All-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbls Chopped Parley
  • Canola Oil as needed

Mix first 4 ingredients together until a patty can be shaped. Shape patties into desired size and pan fry in canola oil until slightly browned and heated through.

Green Bean Casserole Crisp

  • 1 cup Left over green bean casserole
  • 1 egg white

Gently fold egg white into casserole being careful not to incorporate any air. Spread mixture thin onto a pre greased baking pan. Bake in a 400°F oven until crispy. Break into pieces.

Serving Suggestion

On a warm plate, place a hot potato cake slightly off center. Arrange the heated turkey closest to the presentation side of the plate. Spoon extra mole over the turkey. Top with crispy green bean casserole. Enjoy this unique use of pumpkin pie and leftovers.

-Chef Jeremy Abbey, CEC, CEPC, CCE, CCA

Chef Felczak’s Menu

“When I think about thanksgiving leftovers may things come to mind, soups, stews, sandwiches, and casseroles to name a few. As I thought about things to make with these leftover items, my favorite breakfast meal kept coming to mind, eggs Benedict.  So I decided to create a play on the classic with new, leftover flavors involved.  This is my take, a green bean casserole bites and turkey Benedict over a pumpkin potato cake.

First start with the classic Benedict sauce. Cook egg yolks in a double boiler stirring constantly until the eggs become thick, then add a little white wine, Tabasco sauce, and finally melted butter until the sauce is slightly thinned.

Next we need to make our green bean bites. Take the leftover green bean casserole and chop it lightly to create smaller pieces of beans.  Then stir in eggs and breadcrumbs and mix well, then roll the large marble size balls of filling in extra breadcrumbs. Pan Fry to a golden brown and reserve.

Next up is the pumpkin potato cakes, simply mix together the filling of the pumpkin pie and the left over mashed potatoes together. Then gently mix in eggs, flour, and salt and pepper to taste. Pan fry the cakes until crispy and golden brown.

The last step is to heat our leftover turkey and assemble our meal. Over medium heat, sauté the turkey with some carrots, onions, and celery, toss that together with the green bean bites. Spoon the hash over the potato cakes that have had cranberry sauce spread on them. Place an egg cooked to your liking over the top and finish with the hollandaise sauce.

This dish may seem as if it involves a lot of steps, but trust me, after that first bite you will be in pure heaven, making the effort involved well worth it! I hope you have all enjoyed my take on a left over meal. Happy Thanksgiving to you all and a safe and blessed Holiday.”

John R. Felczak

Catering Manager

Dorsey Culinary Academy

The Culinary Arts Program at Dorsey Schools

The Culinary Arts program at Dorsey Schools is designed to assist students in taking their love for food and transforming it into an exciting new career.  Training in the Culinary Arts program at Dorsey takes place in the classroom, in the commercial kitchens (with industry-current equipment) on campus, as well as during the externship (which takes place the final module of training).  The Dorsey Schools Culinary Arts program strives to expose students to various facets of the culinary industry including Butchering, Baking & Pastry, Nutrition and Healthy Cooking, International Cuisine, Catering, and more!  The Culinary Arts program is offered at the Roseville, MI and Waterford-Pontiac, MI campuses of Dorsey Schools.  It’s also worth noting that the Culinary Arts program at Dorsey Schools is programmatically accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation’s (ACFEF) Accrediting Commission.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the Culinary Arts, consider the program at Dorsey Schools.  You can call us at 888-422-1188 or click here to contact us online!

Culinary Arts Program – Gainful Employment Disclosures

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who have completed the program, and other important information, please click here.