Father-in-Law’s Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

Yes, you are correct.  This is Chex Mix, not a sandwich.  You will have to use your imagination about what the sandwich looks like, because just like you, I do not have any leftovers yet.  But when you do have some – and it won’t be long now – I want you to be ready to do something really good with them.  More about the Chex Mix later…

My father-in-law was a man of few words.  When he did say something, you remembered it, and it was the kind of advice that stuck with you.  He was always very kind to me.  And he definitely had some great ideas when it came to Thanksgiving leftovers.  I was barely getting over the foreignness of the whole-berry thing, when I was shocked to see what my new husband was doing with his leftovers.  This was not the open-faced warmed turkey on white bread with gravy I was used to.  I was starting to wonder about this new marriage of mine.


Father-in-Law’s Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

2 slices bread (Ciabatta, whole grain?) 
whole berry cranberry sauce

Put turkey and stuffing on one slice of bread.  Spread cranberry on the other.  Put both sides together and enjoy.

My husband said that sometimes his dad would add some lettuce, a little mayonnaise, or some butter, but that was it.  He liked to keep things simple.

My kids have done all sorts of things to this sandwich.  Our family always has roasted Anaheim peppers at Thanksgiving, so these somehow got added in, along with Provolone cheese, and sometimes the sweet potato casserole is used as a sandwich spread.  Last, but not least, it gets heated in a panini press and then served french-dip style with warm gravy.  What would Dad have to say about that?

Additions From The Grandsons

roasted Anaheim chili peppers (could also use Hatch, or pickled Jalapeños)
Provolone cheese (or Pepper Jack)
mashed sweet potatoes 

Assemble sandwich omitting the cranberry sauce.  Brush outside of both sides lightly with olive oil and toast in a panini press.  Open warm sandwiches and add cranberry.  Slice in halves and serve with warm gravy.


Thanksgiving is two days away and I am fretting about pies and casseroles, and of course, the turkey.  I asked my son if there was anything special he was looking forward to.  He asked if I was making Chex Mix.  So there you have it.

This underscores a very important part of Thanksgiving.  Your family is expecting you to make what you usually do.  Tradition rules!  Unless you want a mutiny on your bounty, you better stick to what people are expecting.  Feel free to add new things, but don’t you dare take anything away.  This is a big day to young and old alike, and sitting down to that special meal together is what it’s all about.

I am definitely making Chex Mix.  Why?  Because it is fun.  It says “party!” and it makes every get-together feel more friendly.  It has been so long since I bought a bag of Chex Mix at the store that I can’t remember what is in it, but I am pretty sure it was something I didn’t want (preservatives) because I always make my own.  I lightened up the recipe, left out the nuts (because of allergies) and made it gluten-free.  I have been cutting the amount of butter in half for years and no one is the wiser.  This time, I tried making it with half butter and half olive oil, because I saw a recipe on the internet that used olive oil.  You could make it with all butter or all olive oil, too, though I have never tried the all olive oil version.

Made in the microwave, this is super speedy.  Stored in a Ziploc bag, it keeps amazingly well in the freezer.  You can take some out when you need it, and add things in to fit the occasion.  Just be sure to take it out earlier in the day so that it can thaw out before you start adding.  Seasonal colored M&M’s, Corn Nuts, small crackers, you can get creative and change up what you add in to fit your gathering.  How about dried cranberries and pistachios for Christmas, with some yogurt or white chocolate covered dried fruit?  Team colors for your favorite team (go, Seahawks!).  You get the idea. You will be surprised how handy that stash of Chex Mix will come in.


Lightened-Up Chex Mix (Gluten-Free)

4 1/2 cups Rice Chex
4 1/2 cups Corn Chex
1 cup peanuts (or mixed nuts)
2 cups gluten-free pretzels
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

In a small microwaveable bowl, melt butter on low, about 1 minute, until melted.  Add olive oil, and stir in seasonings.  In a large microwaveable bowl, mix cereals, nuts, and pretzels.  Pour melted butter over cereal mix and stir well until evenly coated.

Microwave uncovered on high, stirring after every minute, 5 to 6 minutes.  Spread on paper towel lined baking sheet to cool.  Store in airtight container.

Thanksgiving mix-in ideas:  dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, corn nuts, harvest colored M&M’s.


And last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to include some of that Northwest bounty in your feast.  Gather local apples and pumpkins for your pies, some nuts and chestnuts for your stuffing, cranberries for your home made sauce…  Everything grows here.  Use it!  Local wines, beer, coffee and tea..  We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful, bountiful place, and that is something to be thankful for every day.

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

Scroll to top