Enough is enough – I’m going on a diet.
Those are typically the words that come out of my mouth every Friday morning after the Thanksgiving holiday. Certainly, my actions the day before pretty much always set me up for such a statement. After a day of overeating and watching football, I tend to feel a bit slower in my step.
But, as in most years, it never fails that I tend to push that diet off to the week ahead. After all, there are so many leftovers from Thursday’s feast that I’d be a fool to let it all go to waste. Ah, the power of procrastination.
Yet, the idea of repeating the exact same meal from the day before often loses its luster on my tired taste buds. So instead, I seek out ways to re-use all of that goodness before I stare down a week of grilled salmon and salad.
In other words, don’t be bored with your meals, or even worse, let great food go to waste! Entertain your family and friends one more time around with these great ideas for turkey leftovers!
Smokey Turkey Quesadillas
These tasty bites are perfect for enjoying more football with friends. Simple, quick, easy and delicious–just the way cooking’s supposed to be. (Prep 10 minutes, Cook 10 Minutes, Serves 4 – 6)
2 Cups Leftover Turkey, chopped
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
4 Tablespoons Butter, separated
4 Large Flour Tortillas
4 Cups Pepper-Jack Cheese, grated
Sour Cream and Salsa, to serve
Combine the first three ingredients into a bowl and mix until evenly combined; set aside. Meanwhile, melt a tablespoon of butter at a time into a non-stick skillet. When butter has melted, add one tortilla into the pan. Arrange ½ cup chopped turkey, and 1 cup of cheese onto one side of the tortilla. Using tongs or a spatula, carefully fold over the other side of the tortilla to cover the ingredients. Allow the tortilla to cook and slightly brown on one side, flip and repeat on the other side. Remove from pan, cut into even wedges, and serve with sour cream and salsa. Repeat process for remaining ingredients.
Turkey and Sausage Gumbo
A delicious and hearty soup that makes use of all of that wonderful leftover turkey, including the white and dark meat. (Prep 15 minutes, Cook 1 hour, Serves 4 – 6)
¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Onion, finely diced
1 Green Bell Pepper, finely diced
4 Cloves Garlic, finely diced
1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
32 oz Turkey (Chicken) Stock
1 16 oz Bag Frozen Okra, cut
1 lb Andouille or Smoked Sausage, sliced
4 Cups Leftover Turkey, chopped
Hot Cooked Rice, to serve
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, slowly cook the flour and oil together, creating a roux about the color of a dull penny; 20 minutes. Next, add bell pepper and onions and sauté until tender, 4 – 6 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes; continue to sauté for another five minutes. Slowly add the stock and increase the heat to medium high until the mixture begins to simmer. Add okra, return to a simmer, and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally, add sausage and turkey and heat through – 10 minutes. Serve with hot cooked rice.
Turkey Cobb Salad
I like to consider this as somewhat of an “indulgent” salad. Filled with tasty bits of turkey, crispy bacon, and creamy blue cheese dressing, this is a great way to get started in moving towards the direction of a diet–even if it is a bit heavy. Keep in mind that many of these ingredients can be prepped ahead of time; making this meal more of an “assembly” rather than an actual dish that requires cooking. (Prep 10 minutes, Cook N/A, Serves 2)
4 Cups Romaine Lettuce, chopped
1 Vine Ripe Tomato, diced
½ Red Onion, finely diced
4 Slices Crispy Cooked Bacon, chopped
2 Hard Boiled Eggs, diced
1 Cup Leftover Turkey, chopped
Blue Cheese Dressing, to serve
Create a bed or even layer of lettuce onto a large plate or serving platter. Next, top the salad evenly with remaining ingredients. Serve with blue cheese dressing on the side.
A comforting casserole filled with cheesy carbs, vegetables, and tender turkey. A great make-ahead dish that can be prepped for dinner later in the day, or simply frozen and used for a meal on a busy weeknight. (Prep 15 minutes, Cook 45 minutes, Serves 4 – 6)
1 lb Dried Spaghetti
½ Stick Butter
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Onion, diced
1 Jalapeno, finely diced
1 Cup Frozen Peas
1 lb Velveeta Cheese, chopped
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/3 Cup Milk
4 Cups Leftover Turkey, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook spaghetti according to directions on the box, or al dente; 10 – 11 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter into a skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, and jalapeno and sauté until tender, 4 – 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, including the cooked pasta, and mix thoroughly until the cheese is just melted and ingredients are well combined. Add the entire contents of the skillet into a greased casserole dish and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve.
Pesto + Turkey Submarine Sandwich
An upgrade on the traditional turkey sandwich, the pesto adds a sweet and savory flavor that enhances the delicious turkey. Pile these ingredients high on a loaf of Italian bread, and slice into individual portions to serve your hungry guests. In a pinch, most grocers offer pre-prepared and jarred pesto to save time. (Prep 10 minutes, Cook N/A, Serves 4)
2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled
¼ Cup Pine Nuts or Walnuts, toasted
½ Lemon, juiced
Fresh Cracked Pepper
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
Combine the first five ingredients into a food processor and pulse until evenly chopped. With the processor running, slowly stream in olive oil until fully incorporated and smooth; season with salt and pepper. Add cheese, and pulse until combined. (Keeps in the fridge up to 3 days.)
Turkey Submarine Sandwich
1 Large Loaf Italian Bread
1 lb Leftover Turkey, sliced
Iceberg Lettuce, sliced
Vine Ripe Tomatoes, sliced
Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Using a bread knife, carefully slice the loaf of bread in half, creating a top and bottom side. Smear the bottom side with pesto sauce, and add a layer of mayonnaise to the top side. Begin layering the sandwich, starting with the turkey, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and splash with vinegar. Place top side of bread on top of sandwich and slice into individual servings. Serve.
How do you put your turkey leftovers to use? Give us your recipes in the comments!