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Julie May's Leftover Thanksgiving Recipe

Hi there Blossman customers!

I know you are already starting to wonder what you are going to do with all those turkey leftovers, right?  If you are anything like my family, they tend to pop up from Thanksgiving through Christmas - especially with multiple family celebrations and such.  Of course there are turkey sandwiches to be made... and then there are paninis!

I am completely a sucker for a toasted sandwich with melty cheese, and this one certainly does the trick!  I could definitely see this one on the marquee at a fancy deli sandwich shop!  Also, your oven is probably so full of cookies right now, that it's nice to have something easy that you can just throw in a skillet on top of your propane cooktop and have a quick and easy lunch ready when you do come up for air!  Ha!

Let's talk about the flavor elements of this panini for a minute.  You have all that leftover roasted turkey in the fridge.  A smear of mayo just doesn't seem to do it justice after all the work that went into it.  Then there is that homemade cranberry sauce - both sweet and tangy, that you've always had snuggled up to your turkey on the plate anyway.  It will be a great accompaniment to the turkey yet again!  As the cheese for our sandwich, I chose Brie - so smooth and creamy with a soft buttery taste.  The sweet/tart chunky cranberry sauce and the richness of the melted Brie are in sharp contrast to each other, which works beautifully here.  And then the peppery bite of the arugula provides us both flavor and texture balance as there is still a bit of crunch as you bite into the sandwich.  Can you taste it yet?!  A fine re-purposing of your leftover ingredients!


  • Slices of leftover turkey
  • Leftover cranberry chutney or a nice chunky cranberry sauce
  • A wheel of Brie
  • A lettuce blend with arugula
  • Multigrain ciabatta sandwich rolls

Please notice the links in the ingredient list, in case you haven't been given a refrigerator full of leftover Thanksgiving goodies and are looking to make your own components. 

Written Method: 

Here's the lowdown - cranberry chutney first and last, with everything piled in between!  Spread the bottom with a generous layer of the cranberry chutney...Then add slices of roasted turkey and some gorgeous peppery arugula salad greens.  If you like a different type of salad, go for it!  Remove the rind from a wheel of brie and cut yourself a generous slice of it, topping the arugula.  Finally, another layer of the cranberry chutney over the brie.  Top this baby with that amazing bun and we are ready to do some business!

Grill the sandwich in your panini maker, grill pan, or regular skillet or griddle. If you don't have a panini maker, you will also need something to "press" the sandwich with.  I allowed my cast iron press to heat up on another burner while the grill pan was preheating.  You could also use a small round heavy pan on top, or even a brick that you have cleaned and wrapped in aluminum foil.  You get the message - something heavy.

To my grill pan, I sprayed a thin layer of cooking spray.  Add the sandwich and your press while grilling. Don't put it on too high of a heat because you want to give the ingredients time to warm up and melt the cheese while the bread is toasting.  Turn when the bottom is golden brown.  The press will obviously lose its heat after a bit, so when you flip and add it to the first side, it really just helps to press the bread.  So you don't have to worry about it over toasting the first side.

Now I can practically hear the "crunch" sound the bread will make as you cut into it!  Then when you open it, the melted cheese starts to ooze slightly, the thick slices of turkey are warm and juicy, and the interplay of flavors and textures is purely symphonic in your mouth!

Wanting to bring your leftover Thanksgiving bounty to work in your own grown-up brown bag lunch?  Well this sandwich is a very hearty lunch.  I was full after half!  Later when I heated up the second half in the microwave for a bit, the cheese got all oozy and melty, and it was delicious all over again!  Enjoy my friends!  Happy Holidays! 

To follow along with Julie with step-by-step photos as well as the links mentioned in the recipe, please visit her blog:


Julie May, PhD

Owner - Asiago Specialty Cheese Cafe

Blossman customer Julie May, PhD, author of the blog Menu Musings of a Modern American Mom and a published cookbook of the same name lives in Hattiesburg, MS, where she also finds time to work as a professor of anatomy and physiology and to raise her four kids. To get people cooking at home with their families, not just for their families.