Especially since you've earned the right to politely tell family members to please help themselves. But piling slices of cold meat, coagulated gravy, and mushy sides on a plate destined for the microwave can leave you longing for yesterday. Which is why we challenged five area chefs, all with different cooking styles and tastes, to create memorable sandwiches using Thanksgiving leftovers.
Now you can be thankful for no more over-nuked white meat.
Click on the links for recipes and photos of our five sandwiches.
The chef: Nick Farrell of Sovana Bistro in Kennett Square.
The sandwich: Roast turkey with chopped autumn salad, fig dressing, sweet potato-chipotle aioli, and arugula on grilled pita.
The inspiration: "I can remember countless bundles of tin-foil packages and Tupperware containers filled with leftovers. This sandwich is a great way to use up turkey and sweet potato. The chopped salad with seasonal veggies like beets was my way of freshening it up. The grilled pita is a nice alternative to heavy bread, especially after you have already eaten five pounds of stuffing."
The chef: Peter McAndrews of Modo Mio, Monsù, and two Paesano's sandwich shop locations.
The sandwich: Turkey Torrezou, with sausage stuffing, sharp provolone, cranberry aioli, and roasted mushrooms on toasted brioche.
The inspiration: "I look forward to the sandwich the next day. I appreciate the dark meat more than anyone else. I usually have leftover soft Parker House rolls, and use cream and stock [when warming up turkey] and cranberry to keep things tasting good. The next day I get to relax, watch football, and eat a couple of sandwiches."
The chef: Tim Spinner of Cantina Feliz in Fort Washington and the soon-to-open La Calaca Feliz in Fairmount.
The sandwich: Turkey taco with jalapeno-potato puree, canela spiced cranberries, green bean salsa, and toasted pecans.
The inspiration: "I carve the turkey every year, but my mother-in-law takes pride in making everything. My aunt and grandma would always make tortellini soup, so I bring it to my in-laws'. This taco is easy to execute, and the only thing extra you really need is cilantro and lime juice. Everyone has some sort of pecan pie, so has leftover pecans to use."
The chef: Joey Baldino of Zeppoli in Collingswood.
The sandwich: Sliced turkey, crispy pancetta, and chive cream cheese on toasted bread.
The inspiration: "We always have a little Italian food along with our traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I used the semolina bread I make at the restaurant, but lightly toasting a baguette in a pan will work too. I love the combination of the cream cheese, turkey, and salty pancetta or bacon. The cranberry sauce is optional, and I spiced mine up with chile flakes so you get sweet and spicy flavors too."
The chef: Michael Schulson of Sampan in Center City and Izakaya in Atlantic City.
The sandwich: Turkey banh mi with spicy mashed potato aioli and pickled brussels sprouts on a banh mi roll.
The inspiration: "Thanksgiving is the holiday I'm in love with. It's all about my favorite things, food, family, and football. It's the only time I eat leftovers, but they have to be in a different form from how I had them the night before. It's better to not reheat leftovers, so they don't overcook - keep the ingredients cold. I love pickling things, try it with the brussels sprouts or green beans."
Contact staff writer Ashley Primis at 215-854-2244, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @ashleyprimis in Twitter.