Aaahhh ... Thanksgiving. It’s a time to be thankful for all the things we have in life. One of the things we’re the most thankful for is turkey! Not only is it delicious, but it has tons of protein and very little fat! It’s also packed with key nutrients, such as potassium, iron, zinc, and more! So make an extra large turkey this year and stash some of it for later use! There are plenty of things you can do with it!
Turkey Leftover Storage
Making sure your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers are stored properly will allow you to keep the meat fresher longer, thus allowing you to use it for more delicious meals! According to the Food Network, you want to cool your turkey as fast as possible to keep bacteria from growing. The best way to store it is in multiple shallow containers in the refrigerator, not in one big container. And don’t stack the containers one on top of the other. Large, stacked containers hold in the heat, which keeps it in that limbo temp where food isn’t safe. When kept in the fridge, your leftovers will last about four days. So if you plan on going turkey crazy and binging on all things turkey over the next few days, stash it there. If you want to prolong the turkey goodness, you can put it in the freezer. Here it will last for months.
Lots of recipes call for turkey or chicken stock, and there's nothing better than homemade stock. Here's how to make it.
8 C. water
1 medium onion, chopped
½ tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
Step 1: Put the turkey carcass in a large stockpot along with the water, onion, salt, and bay leaves. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer while you have your Thanksgiving dinner, or for at least 2 hours.
Step 2: Strain the broth to remove the bones, onion, and bay leaves. Once the broth is cooled, skim the fat off the top.
Turkey soup is one of the easiest things you can make with your turkey leftovers and you can get started as soon as the bird is carved! Follow along with this recipe for a delicious soup that will take the chill off in no time!
8 C. turkey stock (see recipe above)
1 C. carrots, chopped
1 C. long grain rice (uncooked)
⅓ C. celery, chopped
¼ C. onion
1 small can of cream of chicken soup
1 C. turkey meat
Step 1: Combine turkey stock, carrots, rice, celery, and onion in a large pot and heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer until all the veggies and rice are tender.
Step 2: Stir in the cream of chicken soup and turkey meat and heat thoroughly.
Turkey stew is as good as turkey soup, maybe even better! It’s thicker so it’s a bit hardier and really hits the spot on a cold winter evening. Curl up with a bowl of this stew and slip into your well-deserved food coma!
3 C. turkey stock (see recipe above)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 Tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. dried marjoram
1 C. leftover turkey pieces
Step 1: In a large pot, melt the butter and cook the onion until it's tender.
Step 2: Stir the remaining ingredients into the onions. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 30 minutes, or until all veggies are tender and the broth is thickened.
Thanksgiving All Over Again
This casserole is basically Thanksgiving all over again but in one dish! You get to use more than just the leftover turkey for this one. That is, if you have leftovers. You may want to make sure to make extra just so you can put this dish together.
Leftover mashed potatoes
Leftover green beans
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350° F.
Step 2: In a greased baking dish, spread out the leftover stuffing.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, mix the turkey, green beans, and gravy. Top the stuffing with this mixture.
Step 4: Top with mashed potatoes. Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until heated through.
Turkey Pot Pie
More leftovers hit the pan with this pot pie, along with some easy to use frozen veggies. This pot pie beats the pants off those dinky frozen ones any day! Even the kids will love it!
4 Tbsp. butter
½ onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
⅓ C. flour
½ tsp. dried sage
¼ tsp. dried thyme
1½ C. leftover gravy
½ C. water
½ C. milk
1 package frozen veggies, 14 oz.
3 C. leftover turkey
1 10” double pie crust
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425° F.
Step 2: Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until tender.
Step 3: Stir in flour, sage, thyme, gravy, water, and milk until blended. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Add the turkey and veggies and boil another 5 minutes.
Step 5: Press the bottom crust into a pie plate and pour in the mixture. Top with the other crust, pierce with a fork for venting, and line the crust with tin foil.
Step 6: Bake for 25 minutes, and then remove the tin foil. Bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Step 7: Rest for 10 minutes and serve!
A creamy turkey casserole with pasta? You can’t get much better than that. This recipe can be made ahead of time, frozen, and then thawed later for an easy meal. Perfect for those nights when you’re just to tired to cook.
1 Tbsp. butter
½ C. minced onion
⅓ C. minced celery
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. salt
¾ C. frozen peas
¾ C. carrots, chopped
½ C. white wine
½ C. flour
4 C. turkey stock (see recipe above)
1 C. parmesan cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. package spaghetti, cooked
2 C. leftover turkey meat, chopped
½ C. breadcrumbs
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Step 2: Melt the butter in a pan and add in the onions and celery. Cook until tender.
Step 3: Add the flour and toss to coat.
Step 4: Add wine and stir until well blended. Then add the turkey stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 5: Remove from heat and stir in the pepper, salt, cream cheese, and ½ cup of the parmesan cheese. Stir until melted and smooth.
Step 6: Stir in the peas, carrots, turkey, and cooked spaghetti, and mix until blended.
Step 7: Prepare a casserole dish with non-stick spray. Add the mixture to the casserole dish.
Step 8: In a separate bowl, combine the remaining parmesan cheese and the bread crumbs. Top the casserole with this mixture, and bake for 30 minutes.