Enjoy turkey long after the bird is carved

Thanksgiving leftovers take on new life as soups, sandwiches and other foods for days after the big meal

Thanksgiving is a time to acknowledge our blessings, visit with family and friends and feast on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

But don’t stuff yourself too much. As delicious as the holiday meal is, the leftovers can be just as tasty.

They can also be healthy. Leftover turkey is lean protein with fewer calories and less fat and sodium per serving than beef, veal, pork or lamb.

Turkey sandwiches are almost as much a tradition on the day after Thanksgiving as holiday sales, but there are other ways to use the holiday entree.

Make a rich turkey stock with the carcass, adding bits of turkey and leftover vegetables to the broth to make a warm, hearty soup.

Chop the white and dark meat and add it to an omelet, quiche or salad. Combine it with cooked vegetables and a thick cream of chicken soup to make a filling for biscuits or rolls.

Create a turkey taco with leftover meat garnished with lettuce, tomato and cheese and rolled in tortillas.

Even traditional turkey sandwiches can take on new life. Instead of mayonnaise, use a little leftover cranberry sauce to ramp up the flavor. Or top the turkey with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese, then broil for an Italian flavor.

Remember not to leave the Thanksgiving turkey standing around a warm kitchen for too long after carving. Cover and refrigerate within two hours of serving.

Use the leftovers within three days, otherwise freeze the meat. It will last a month or two and can be quickly thawed for a last-minute meal in the hectic days to come. Freeze cooked, boned turkey in portions by wrapping it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and sealing it in a freezer bag.

Following are a few ideas for leftover turkey from foodiecrush.com.


Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffed Shells

12 jumbo pasta shells

1 cup turkey

1 cup mashed potatoes

1 tablespoon celery, diced

2 tablespoons yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

1-1/4 cups gravy

1 cup bread stuffing



Boil pasta shells, cooking for eight to nine minutes. Drain and set aside.

Chop turkey into bite-sized pieces. Heat mashed potatoes until just warm. In a medium bowl, combine turkey, mashed potatoes, onion, celery, minced garlic and half  the shredded cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season. Stir and toss to combine well.

Spread 3/4 cup gravy on the bottom of a lightly greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Use a medium cookie scoop to fill each pasta shell with turkey mixture. Place shells in gravy. Top with leftover stuffing, remaining gravy and shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, chives or green onions, if desired. Serve warm.

Makes three to four servings.



Leftover Turkey in Gravy

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons flour

1-1/2 to 2 cups low sodium chicken broth

4 to 6 cups leftover turkey, torn into bite-sized pieces

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon parsley, optional

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions and sauté four to five minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden. Add mushrooms and sauté five to seven minutes, stirring, until soft and golden. Remove mushrooms and onions from pan and set aside.

In the same hot pan, melt butter, then whisk in flour and cook, whisking continually, 1-1/2 to two minutes, until roux is golden brown. Whisk in chicken broth, bring to a simmer and season to taste.

Return mushrooms and onions to the pan, stir in turkey and cook until turkey is just heated through. Garnish with finely chopped parsley, if desired.



Turkey and White Cheddar With Caramelized Onion and Grape Grilled Cheese

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small onion sliced

12 to 15 red seedless grapes

1 tablespoon fresh sage, slivered

1 pound turkey deli meat, shaved

2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup arugula leaves

8 slices sourdough bread



In a medium skillet, melt one tablespoon butter and vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until semi-transparent and caramelized. Add grapes and sauté five minutes. Add sage and remove from heat.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of each piece of bread. On unbuttered side of four slices of bread, layer 1/4 cup cheese, onion, grapes, 1/4 portion of turkey, 1/4 portion of arugula and 1/4 cup more cheese. Place slice of bread on top, buttered side up, and grill in skillet until golden. Flip sandwich once and cook until cheese melts and bread is golden. Cut in half and serve hot.




Deer Valley’s Famous Turkey Chili

8 tablespoons butter

2 pounds cooked turkey breast meat, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 medium yellow onions, diced

7 stalks celery, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 cup masa harina

1/2 cup rice flour

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon paprika

8 cups chicken broth

1 15-ounce can corn, drained and juice saved

1 15-ounce can creamed corn

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained, or 3 cups cooked black beans

Melt four tablespoons butter over high heat in a large six-quart Dutch oven or stockpot. Add turkey and cook five minutes, until turkey browns. Remove turkey from the pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining butter. When melted, add onion, celery, red pepper and garlic and cook five minutes, until the vegetables soften, stirring occasionally.

Return turkey to the pot. In a small bowl, whisk together masa harina, rice flour, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, kosher salt and paprika. Sprinkle over the turkey and vegetables and stir to coat. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil for five minutes, stirring and scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add corn kernels and creamed corn, bring to a boil, then simmer 25 to 30 minutes, until thickened. Stir in black beans.

If chili is too thick, add some of the reserved juice from the canned corn. If it’s too thin, combine one tablespoon rice flour and 1/4 cup broth, mash into a paste and whisk into the chili.

Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onions.



Thanksgiving Leftovers Pierogi

For dough:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup full-fat yogurt

1 large egg

Egg wash, for sealing

For filling:

1-1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, chilled

1/2 cup cooked turkey, shredded or chopped

1/4 cup very finely diced or grated onion

3 tablespoons cranberry sauce

1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

For sauce:

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard




Dried cranberries

Chopped parsley or chives

Make dough by mixing the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Place yogurt, melted butter and egg in another bowl and whisk to combine. Pour yogurt mixture into the flour and stir until a ball of dough forms.

Place dough on the counter or a cutting board and knead for a minute or so with damp hands until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest 30 minutes.

  For filling, mix potatoes, turkey, onion, cranberry sauce and cheese in a  bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

To make sauce, whisk together sour cream, Dijon mustard and whole grain mustard. Season, to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

After dough has rested, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until 1/4-inch thick. Using a three-inch biscuit cutter or glass, cut out circles of dough.

Place about two teaspoons filling in the center of each circle. Brush the edges with egg wash, then fold dough over the filling, sealing the edges with your fingers. Press the edges together with the prongs of a fork. Set pierogi on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.

Repeat until all the pierogi are formed.

Cook pierogi in batches in boiling water about two minutes, until they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and return to the sheet tray.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of butter. When melted, add pierogi in batches of six to eight and cook two to three minutes per side, until crispy and golden.

  Garnish with cranberries and herbs. Drizzle any remaining butter in the pan over the pierogi. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce on the side.



Thanksgiving Leftover Pop Tarts

3 cups gluten-free flour

1 tablespoon sugar

12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

1/4 cup shortening, cold

1/2 cup ice cold water

Cranberry sauce

Mashed potatoes




1 large egg

1 teaspoon water

Pour flour, sugar, cold butter and shortening into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 12 to 15 times, until butter is pea-sized and the dough looks crumbly. Slowly add ice-cold water, pulsing until the dough pulls from the sides into a large ball. Be careful not to overmix.

Roll pie dough into a 28-by-12-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Cut off excess edges using a pizza cutter. Cut the dough into eight 7-by-5-inch rectangles. Roll excess scraps into a 14-by-10 inch rectangle and cut out four more rectangles — a total of 12. Place rectangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover and chill in the refrigerator one hour.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Remove chilled rectangles from the refrigerator. Spoon one tablespoon cranberry sauce onto a rectangle. Then, layer one tablespoon mashed potatoes, one tablespoon stuffing and small bits of turkey. Cover the tart with another dough rectangle and pinch the edges together to seal. Repeat  until you have six pop tarts.

Use a fork to crimp the edges. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Use a toothpick to poke several small holes in each tart. Beat egg and one teaspoon water in a small bowl, then brush each tart with egg wash. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Drizzle with leftover gravy that’s been warmed and serve.




Turkey Avocado Tetrazzini

16 ounces spaghetti noodles

8 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, pressed

1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, stems removed

Freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups chicken or turkey broth

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Juice of one lemon

2 avocados, seeded, halved and peeled

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

4 cups shredded turkey

1/3 cup dry bread crumbs

Cook noodles in salted water according to package directions, until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water, then drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Melt one tablespoon butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add mushrooms and onions and cook about 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Stir in fresh thyme leaves and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a separate saucepan, melt six tablespoons butter over medium heat, then whisk in flour, stirring constantly, about two minutes, until flour smells nutty and is lightly golden. Add broth and raise the temperature to medium high and cook three to five minutes, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in wine.

Transfer mixture to a blender and add avocado halves. Cover the blender but leave the plastic center of the top off to vent the heat. Blend one minute, until smooth. Add 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated nutmeg and lemon juice and mix to combine.

Pour avocado sauce over the pasta, add peas, turkey and reserved mushroom mixture and mix well. Add more kosher salt or pepper to taste. If mixture is too thick, add a little reserved pasta broth until creamy.

Melt remaining butter in the microwave. Place bread crumbs and reserved Parmesan cheese in a small dish and drizzle with the melted butter. Toss to combine.

Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, add spaghetti mixture and sprinkle with bread crumb mixture. Bake in a 450-degree oven for 15 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly and the top is golden brown. Serve immediately.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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