Thanksgiving dinner takes so much time, energy and planning to prepare, and then everyone’s done eating in what feels like five minutes. It’s enough to drive a conscientious cook crazy.

Thank goodness, then, for the meal’s many leftovers, which give those of us who prepare the holiday feast a second (and maybe even a third) chance to show off our culinary mettle — hopefully at a much more relaxed pace, without the insanity of a typical Thanksgiving meal prep, where so many things have to come out of the oven at exactly the right time.

We’re not talking about predictable turkey sandwiches. Ditto on simply reheating the spuds, corn or rolls, which is equally uninspired.

To really keep the celebration going, why not get your creative juices flowing with recipes that reinvent what you had for dinner instead of simply duplicating it? That way, your leftovers won’t feel like, you know, leftovers but rather like something special.

Blended with oil and vinegar and a little Dijon mustard, surplus cranberry sauce is easily transformed into a tangy-sweet salad dressing. Mashed potatoes mixed with Cheddar and chives are reborn as savory, pop-in-your-mouth mini muffins.

With a little garlic and chili, rolls destined to be chopped into breadcrumbs become tender sponges for a spicy egg drop soup. Chiles also can breathe new life into leftover bowls of corn, folded into an eggy batter to be fried up into griddle cakes.

As for the main-event turkey? This year, why not forgo the traditional leftover turkey casseroles, potpies, turkey à la kings and turkey-frame soup in favor of a slow cooker chowder made with wild rice, wine and mushrooms?

Enjoy. The winter holidays have only just begun.