Got lots of Thanksgiving leftovers? Make these Turkey Cranberry Cream Cheese Panini! This is my version of a sandwich from a local cafe, and it uses up leftover turkey and cranberry sauce, as well as any extra gravy for dipping on the side.
I made an entire 12-pound turkey for three people.
One of whom (that would be me) doesn’t even like turkey all that much! Almost every year, I gripe and complain about having to cook turkey, but I do anyway (most of the time), because Jay and the bambino really like it. Last year Jay relented and allowed me to cook ham…But I think he was just happy to have something to celebrate, since he’d been sick.
This year, though, I took advantage of a special the grocery store usually runs, as well as a coupon the bank handed out. Buy a ham, get a turkey free, and with the coupon from the bank, I got the meat for Thanksgiving and Christmas covered for all of $12. I need not complain, and instead, should be rather grateful that my family didn’t go without on Thanksgiving and won’t go without on Christmas.
But because I cooked an entire bird for the three of us, that meant a LOT of leftovers.
I decided to make some of them into sandwiches, to do something a little more interesting than just reheating the Thanksgiving leftovers the next day.
An easy Turkey Cranberry Cream Cheese Panini.
I first had a sandwich somewhat like this at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota about a year ago. I tried recreating it at home, but didn’t quite get the cranberry-cream cheese right. I had lumpy cream cheese that looked ugly but tasted fine. This time around, I made sure the cream cheese was at room temp, whipped it up a bit first, THEN folded in the leftover cranberry jelly/sauce. This time, it worked!
The sandwich at the Children’s Museum was on a croissant and was warmed up. I used croissants as well. They make for a crunchy-on-the-outside-creamy-on-the-inside sandwich.
And it is perfection. I’m normally not a fan of leftover turkey, or the cranberry sauce and what-have-you…But this is just too good to pass up! A cup of leftover gravy on the side makes for a fantastic dipping sauce as well.
- 12 oz. sliced roasted turkey (white and dark meat, if so desired)
- 1 8 oz. block of light cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 C cranberry sauce or jelly
- 4 ciabatta rolls, croissants, or brioche rolls, split in half
- Cooking spray, if necessary for panini press
Preheat panini press. Whisk the cream cheese and the cranberry sauce together, until combined (the cranberry sauce doesn't need to be fully incorporated).
Spread each ciabatta half with about a tablespoon of the cranberry cream cheese. Top one half with 3 oz. of the roasted turkey.
If necessary, spray the panini press with cooking spray, then add the sandwiches. Cook about 5 minutes, or until warmed through and golden and crisp on the outside.