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Ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers: a healthy recipe round-up

Try a leftover turkey panini as a creative use for Thanksgiving leftovers.
Try a leftover turkey panini as a creative use for Thanksgiving leftovers.

The big bird has been sliced, bellies are full and holiday carols are humming in the background. Once Thanksgiving Day is over, people are often faced with piles of turkey and the indulgent side dishes that help make the holiday meal special.

If you don't want to commit to a second day of diet splurges, try making main dishes or healthy sides with all of the leftovers reminiscent of your Thanksgiving feasts.

Turkey and Pinto Bean White Chili with Lime & Cilantro: From Kalyn's Kitchen, this protein-packed soup is a nice change from plain turkey stock. It's a great way to use leftover turkey breast, cut into small pieces and added towards the end of the cooking time.

Cranberry Sauce Muffins: From Coconut & Lime, yes, cranberry sauce is delicious on its own or as a dressing on turkey sandwiches. Yet, sometimes there more leftover than you know what to do with. Try cranberry sauce in breakfast instead of lunch or dinner for a change of pace.

Turkey Drumsticks Braised in Cranberry Sauce: From Cooking with Amy, you can make these turkey legs if you're cooking for a small crowd and don't want to waste a whole bird or if you're looking for a healthy way to enjoy leftover Thanksgiving turkey. A little extra-virgin olive oil goes a long way and antioxidant-packed cranberry sauce kicks the dish up a notch.

Green Beans with Browned Butter & Hazelnuts: If you bought too many fresh green beans for your green bean casserole try these snappy green beans from Steamy Kitchen. Browned butter might not be low in calories, but the hazelnuts are full of vitamin B and might help prevent heart disease

Broccoli Rabe, Carrot and Radicchio Salad: If you have leftover vegetables from your Thanksgiving casseroles and salads, why not turn them into the different kind of salad from Dana Treat? After a Thanksgiving carb-overload, most people can't get enough vegetables and this colorful dish will always impress.

Leftover Turkey Panini: If you're tired of the same old turkey sandwich year after year, try a panini. At Panini Happy you'll find recipes for plenty of creative panini recipes for post-Thanksgiving meals - even turkey cranberry sliders.

What are your favorite recipes to make with Thanksgiving leftovers? Share them in the comment section here!