For some, the day after Thanksgiving is for Black Friday shopping, looking ahead to the next family holiday, and digging out their favorite Christmas decorations. For others (me), it’s about eating leftovers. Eating cold Stove Top, turkey, and cranberry sauce sandwiched between two sides of a dinner roll while lounging on the couch and being thankful that you aren’t in the Black Friday mess is the best feeling. No matter how you spend the day after Thanksgiving, I think we can all agree that you have to do something with all that turkey, and sandwiches are the answer. But, hey, why limit yourself to your basic turkey sandwich? Make the most of your leftovers with sandwiches from pop culture icons to sandwiches as old as the holiday itself.
Turkey, Apple & Cheese Panini with Hot Pepper Jelly
With fancy bread, spicy jelly, and unpronounceable cheese this is not your mother’s turkey sandwich – not that there’s anything wrong with your mother’s turkey sandwich. Elevate your day after with this delicious, creamy panini.
- ½ ciabatta loaf, or 4 slices of your favorite panini bread
- 2 ounces good quality camembert cheese or brie cheese
- 4 tablespoons hot pepper jelly, or cranberry jelly
- sliced roasted turkey
- ½ Granny Smith apple, sliced thin
- Slice the ciabatta in half lengthwise. Place slices of cheese on one half of the bread, then layer the apples, turkey and hot pepper jelly on top. Salt and pepper to taste and cover with the remaining bread.
- Preheat a non-stick skillet or panini pan on medium-low. Brush a little oil in the pan and toast the panini until lightly browned on both sides and the cheese is melted. Slice the ciabatta into 3 or 4 slices and serve immediately.
The Ultimate Leftover Turkey Club
- 6 slices bread, whole-wheat sandwich
- ¾ pound turkey, leftover
- ½ cup cranberry sauce, leftover
- ¼ cup mayo
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and cut in half
- red onion, sliced
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 ounces cream cheese, light
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl mix mayo and cranberry sauce together
- Spread cranberry mayo on all six pieces of bread.
- Pile ¼ of the turkey onto two slices of bread and top with lettuce, followed by 2 slices of bacon, cheddar cheese and red onion.
- Place another piece of bread on top, cranberry side down.
- Spread the middle piece of bread with one ounce of cream cheese.
- Top with turkey, followed by lettuce, bacon, cheese, and red onion.
- Place toothpicks in the corners of the sandwich.
- Place on a sheet pan and bake until cheese is melted.
The Ross Geller
Now for an arguably more well-known reference. Ross Geller, in case you don’t know, is a character from the ‘90s phenomenon Friends. I admit I was not a Friends fan, but I do know that Ross is known for two things: being a neurotic mess and constructing a killer Thanksgiving sandwich.
Sure, the ingredients are your basic Thanksgiving leftovers staples:
- Turkey leftovers
- Cranberry Sauce
- Mashed potatoes if available
The beauty of Ross’ sandwich is the construction; it’s all about layers. The ingredients need to be layered intuitively. Turkey gets gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes get cranberry sauce. It just makes sense.
But wait…there’s more. Ross Geller adds a gravy-soaked third slice of bread to bring it all together. Sounds weird, but it’s actually pretty smart.
HOW TO MAKE A THANKSGIVING LEFTOVER SANDWICH
- Spread mayonnaise on a piece of bread. Sourdough is a great choice, but any bread will work.
- Top it with some greens if you want.
- Add slices of turkey.
- Dip a piece of bread in gravy and place it on the turkey.
- Top your gravy bread and mashed potatoes with some stuffing.
- Add cranberry sauce.
- Finish off another piece of bread spread with mayonnaise.
Myles Standish Sandwich
- 4 thick slices of fresh sourdough bread
- 6 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon dry sage
- 4 leaves crisp lettuce
- 10–12 ounces fresh roasted turkey slices
- Cranberry Orange Relish
Mix the softened cream cheese with the dried sage and divide evenly between the four slices of sourdough bread.
Top with the crisp lettuce, fresh turkey slices, and the cranberry orange relish.
That’s it! But who the heck was Myles Standish?
Myles Standish was an English officer who came to America on the Mayflower. Helping to establish Plymouth Colony, it is believed that Myles Standish was present at the first Thanksgiving celebration, which may be why the classic leftovers sandwich is blessed with his name. Although, I am skeptical. How can you have a sandwich featuring cream cheese when Philadelphia didn’t exist? And, in my world, if it’s not Original Philadelphia Cream Cheese, why even bother? Regardless, the Standish name lives on in current-day Massachusetts and will forever be linked to Thanksgiving.