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The #1 Use for Thanksgiving Leftovers: Strata

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I have never hosted Thanksgiving, but I did recently throw my first dinner party, and I’ll tell you what: The aftermath was bleak.

Photo by James Ransom

The party itself was a great success, and I’ve never felt more like a domestic goddess than I did while filling and refilling my friends plates with a meal of my own creation. But at the end of the night, after closing the door behind the last guest, it was all I could do to stumble to my bed (ignoring the feat of structural engineering that was the stack of dirty dishes in the sink) before passing out in proud, stuffed, slightly inebriated exhaustion.


The next day, the concept of cleaning up was favorable only in comparison to the concept of feeding myself. Leftovers? Blah. Cooking? After last night? Hilarious joke. I’ll have 6 bagels instead.

As far as I can tell, the days after hosting Thanksgiving are just that whole mess jacked up on tryptophan. Save yourself from a coma by whipping up a strata.

Photo by James Ransom

With just a little bit of foresight, it’s possible to translate would-be holiday table scraps into a next day meal that feels and tastes like something totally new.


After dessert, on a break from rinsing out wine glasses, throw the thing together: Cube the abandoned loaf end in your breadbasket and tear up the last few kale leaves that didn’t make it into your salad. Pillage the leftover ingredients in your fridge: Fresh herbs are perfect; mushrooms are ideal; cheese is spot on. Toss the lot into a casserole dish with a bunch of beaten eggs and set it on a shelf in your fridge to meld overnight.

By tomorrow, you'll be a brief stint in the oven away from a breakfast, lunch, or dinner that's way better than yesterday's dishes piled on bread.

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Mushroom, Kale, and Sausage Strata

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Serves 5 to 6
  • 1 pound kielbasa sausage, cut into pieces and halved longways
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 small bunch of kale, torn or chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, in pieces
  • 1/2 small loaf of crusty bread, cubed

Tags: strata, breakfast, make-ahead, leftovers, thanksgiving, casserole, savory bread pudding