It”s a dilemma many of us face after the splendor of a Thanksgiving meal: We”ve had our fill of turkey, gravy, potatoes, stuffing, green beans and cranberries, and, yet, we will most likely awaken to find our refrigerators filled with Thanksgiving leftovers. The age-old question prevails: What do you do with Thanksgiving leftovers?
Keeping Leftover Turkey
Turkey leftovers can actually be put to great use with a little creativity. Turkey can be frozen and stored for a couple of months, so you don”t have to prepare all of your leftover turkey right after the holiday.
To freeze your leftover turkey, simply remove the cooked turkey meat from the bones, wrap it in foil, seal it in a freezer bag and freeze. Make sure to date the bags and be sure to use the turkey leftovers within two months to ensure freshness. It is recommended that turkey be frozen within two hours after it is removed from the oven. With quick freezing, bacteria will not have time to flourish in your leftover turkey.
How to Cook with Leftover Turkey
You can use your leftover turkey in a variety of dishes, including:
- hors d”oeuvres
You can substitute turkey for chicken in any of your favorite recipes or simply enjoy it as a high-protein snack.
Consider all sorts of turkey salad variations. Transform a plain salad into a delicious salad by simply adding plain strips of leftover turkey. Or, use your leftover turkey to make a traditional turkey salad. Just dice up leftover turkey, mix it with mayonnaise to taste and add a dash of salt and pepper. This salad goes great on bread or crackers.
Here”s another great salad you can make with your leftover turkey:
Curried Turkey Salad
This salad will add pizzazz to your Thanksgiving leftovers.
- 4 cups diced turkey
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1 cup raisins or sweetened cranberries
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup diced green onions
- Mix ingredients together.
- Add seasoning to taste.
Serve on a bed of lettuce or as a sandwich. Melt cheese on top for extra zest.
Leftover Turkey Sandwich Ideas
Making turkey sandwiches can be as simple as throwing some sliced turkey between two pieces of bread. You can also use leftover turkey on these favorites:
- Turkey Club: Served as a double decker, this classic is delicious when filled with turkey leftovers, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo. Add a dash of your favorite hot sauce for a little kick.
- Turkey Reuben: Traditionally served with corned beef, melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing, this old favorite is a hit when you substitute leftover turkey for the corned beef.
- Turkey Grilled with Cheese: Add protein and flavor to your grilled cheese sandwiches by adding leftover turkey. This is especially tasty if you add a few slices of tomato before grilling.
Thanksgiving Turkey Casserole
For an easy dinner idea that works well with various Thanksgiving leftovers, stick with a classic turkey suggestion: turkey and rice casserole.
Turkey and Rice Casserole
- 3 cups diced turkey
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter)
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions or sweet onions
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 cups cooked white or brown rice
- 1 cup frozen vegetables (or add your leftover Thanksgiving vegetables instead)
- 1 can cream-based soup (e.g., cream of mushroom or cream of chicken)
- 3/4 cup of skim milk
- 1/2 cup leftover stuffing (or breadcrumbs)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Saut onions and celery.
- Mix onions and celery with rice, vegetables, turkey, soup, milk, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place in baking dish.
- Cover the mixture with stuffing (or breadcrumbs).
- Bake at 350?F for forty minutes.
For a crowd-pleasing, easy-to-make dish, why not try turkey pizza?
- 2 cups diced turkey
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp oregano
- 3 to 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 pepper, chopped
- 6 to 8 flour tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- marinara sauce
- Mix garlic, oregano and turkey with 1 tbsp of oil.
- Heat remaining oil and saut onions and pepper.
- Add turkey mixture and continue to simmer.
- Brush tortillas with a dash of oil and bake in a 375?F oven for five minutes.
- Remove from oven and drizzle with marinara sauce, shredded cheese and turkey mixture.
- Bake for ten more minutes, or until cheese is fully melted.
Add vegetables to the pizza for a nutritional boost.
Recipes for Other Leftovers
We all know that turkey isn”t the only leftover filling your refrigerator after Thanksgiving. What can you do with Thanksgiving leftovers that aren”t turkey? Here are a few ideas:
- Add your leftover vegetables to soups or salads.
- Consider making muffins or breads from leftover cranberries, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
- Turn leftover veggies into casseroles.
- Use leftover fruit in a fruit salad.