Enjoy the turkey long after Thanksgiving

Holiday leftovers can be dressed up after the big event to create delicious, healthy meals

    Thanksgiving is a time to acknowledge our blessings, visit with family and friends  — virtually this year — 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 Black Friday 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 it 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 dinneratthezoo.com.



Leftover Turkey Corn Chowder

2 cups shredded fully cooked turkey
2 15-ounce cans cream-style corn
1 15-ounce can sweet yellow whole-kernel corn
3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 celery rib, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cups cubed golden or red potatoes
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Fresh parsley or thyme

    In a large stock pot, combine cream-style corn, whole-kernel corn, broth, celery, bell peppers, potatoes, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes, until potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
    Stir in turkey and season with salt and pepper. When turkey is heated through, serve garnished with fresh parsley or thyme as desired.


Thanksgiving Pizza

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
5 tablespoons gravy
1/4 cup corn
1/4 cup green bean casserole
1/2 cup chopped turkey
1/2 cup stuffing
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup French fried onions
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Basil, parsley or thyme, for garnish

    Gently press puff pastry sheet into a greased 9-inch tart or pie pan. Trim the corners and use them to fill in any empty spaces along the sides of the pan.
    Spread the mashed potatoes over the bottom and drizzle with two tablespoons gravy. Sprinkle with corn and green bean casserole, then top with turkey, stuffing and three tablespoons gravy. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese.
    Bake in a 400 degree-degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with French fried onions and bake for an additional three to five minutes.
    Garnish with basil, parsley or thyme and freshly ground black pepper.



Aunt Bee’s Leftover Turkey Casserole

1-1/2 cups uncooked rotini pasta
1-1/2 cups cooked, diced turkey
2 cups frozen peas
1 10.5-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
1 10.5-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
For topping:
1/2 cup panko or breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter

    Cook pasta in boiling water about nine minute, until just al dente. Drain. Stir in turkey, peas, condensed soups and milk. Transfer to a greased two-quart dish.
    In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and melted butter. Sprinkle over top of casserole.
    Bake, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until heated through and golden brown on top.


Creamy Turkey Wild Rice Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup quick cooking wild rice
1 12-ounce can turkey gravy
1 cup half and half
3 cups turkey, shredded
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

    Place olive oil, mushrooms, carrots, celery and onion in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Cook about five minutes, until tender. Add flour and cook one to two minutes more.
    Add broth and bring to a boil. Add wild rice, reduce to a simmer and cook until the rice is tender.

Thanksgiving Turkey Hot Dish

4 croissants. halved
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup leftover turkey or more, warmed
1 cup leftover gravy or more, warmed
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 ounces prosciutto, torn, optional
2 cups tater tots
Leftover cranberry sauce
Fried sage, for serving

    Line croissants, cut side up, in a greased baking dish or 10-inch skillet and place a small pat of butter on each. Add turkey in an even layer, then drizzle with gravy. Top with a layer of cheese, then add the prosciutto. Arrange the tater tots in an even layer.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tater tots are crisp. Serve.


Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Egg Rolls

10 egg roll wrappers
1 cup cooked turkey, shredded
1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning, optional
Pepper 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
10 slices of brie, 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick and 1-1/2 inches long
For dipping sauce:
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey

    In a small bowl, sprinkle salt, pepper and poultry seasoning over shredded turkey. Stir until turkey is evenly coated.
    Fill each egg roll wrapper with one tablespoon shredded turkey, one or two teaspoons cranberry sauce and a slice of brie.
    Brush water around the edges of the wrapper, tuck in the sides and roll tightly like a burrito. Seal the end with a little more water, then place it, seam-side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.Repeat until all of the egg rolls are made.
    Spray or brush the tops of the egg rolls with cooking spray or oil, then bake in a 400-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown.
    Combine dipping sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth.
    Cool egg rolls on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then serve with the cranberry mustard sauce.


Leftover Turkey Cranberry Melts  

4 slices hearty bread
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1-1/2 cups shredded leftover turkey
4 slices havarti cheese
1/3 cup arugula
    Spread cranberry sauce on bread slices. Top with turkey and cheese slices. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven for seven to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
    Remove from oven, top with arugula and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.


Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Crescent Braid

1 8-ounce package refrigerated crescent roll dough
1/2 pound leftover turkey, sliced
1/3 cup cranberry sauce
4 ounces brie
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

    Unroll crescent roll dough and place on a lightly greased baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper. Press on the perforations and edges to seal them.
    Arrange turkey slices down the center, then spread cranberry sauce on top, making sure the filling is only about three inches wide. Cut cheese into cubes and scatter evenly on top of cranberry sauce.
    Cut diagonal slits in the dough about 1-1/2 inches apart on either side of the filling. Starting at one end, pull one strip over the filling to the other side, then pull the strip on the other side across.  At the ends, pull the dough up to seal the filling.
    Sprinkle rosemary and Parmesan cheese on top, then bake in a 375-degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes.


Turkey   Avocado Flatbread

For flatbread:
2 large pitas, flatbreads or pieces of naan
1/2 cup freshly grated pepperjack cheese, optional
2 cups iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small avocado, thinly sliced or chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
3/4 cup rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey, shredded or chopped
4 strips center-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
For chipotle ranch dressing:
1/2 cup regular mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/2 tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch Dips mix, dry
1 tablespoon packed fresh green onions
1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon dried minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
Sea salt
Freshly cracked pepper
1 to 2 full chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

    Brush one to two teaspoons olive oil over flatbread and lightly sprinkle with salt. Place on the rack of a 435-degree oven for two to four minutes, until lightly toasted, taking care not to burn it.
    Add freshly grated pepperjack cheese to the flatbreads right out of the oven and allow to slightly melt.
    Top each flatbread with about one cup shredded iceberg lettuce, then divide tomato, avocado tossed with lime juice and turkey evenly over the two flatbreads.
    In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and dab off excess grease. Crumble atop the flatbreads.
    Combine dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
    Add the dressing to the flatbreads and serve.




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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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