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What to do with leftover turkey

Missvain, Wikimedia Commons

Most of us do not need any help to make a turkey sandwich, but sometimes we want to go a little beyond

just that.


Every year around this time, I share a few recipes that feature turkey left over from the Big Meal.

Many folks don’t really need to worry about having too much turkey meat, as they send their guests home with packets and containers of the main and side dishes. But just in case you end up with a lot of turkey, it never hurts to have a lot of recipes to fall back on.

I will be cooking for just the two of us this year, but I did not want to go minimal with say, a turkey breast roast. I am a throwback who still insists on a whole bird, complete with stuffing inside. Everyone in my family has cooked the stuffing inside the turkey, for several generations, with no problems. It is a personal choice however, so roast the turkey as you see fit.

If you find yourself with a lot of leftover meat, see if you find anything here you may want to try. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Turkey shepherd’s pie

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup chicken or turkey broth

1 cube chicken bouillon

2 cups turkey meat, white or dark, chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup frozen peas

4 cups mashed potatoes

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Small amount chopped parsley, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the onion, bell pepper, carrot and celery. Cook until vegetables soften and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the basil, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic. Stir well and cook for another 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir well. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add the chicken or turkey broth and the bouillon cube and stir until the bouillon is dissolved. Cook for 5 more minutes to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the turkey and peas. Stir well and bring mixture back to a boil. Spread the mashed potatoes over the filling and smooth with a spoon. Using a fork, rough up the surface a bit, then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese melts and the top is golden and bubbly. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired, and serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Turkey noodle casserole

4 cups (8 ounces) uncooked egg noodles

3 cups chopped leftover turkey

1 package (12-oz.) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and warmed

1 can (10.5-oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup milk

1 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1. Cook noodles in salted water according to package directions; drain well. Preheat oven to 350.

2. While noodles cook, place condensed soup, sour cream, milk, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and 1 cup mozzarella in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.

3. Add chopped turkey and mixed vegetables; stir to combine. Add hot drained noodles, then stir once again.

4. Spoon noodle mixture into greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.

5. Bake casserole in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted. Makes 8 to 10


Turkey soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 onion or 2 shallots

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced

2 stalks celery

1 clove garlic, minced

4 sprigs thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

6 cups turkey or chicken broth

1/2 cup giant pearl couscous (or your favorite small pasta, such as pastina, or noodles)

2 cups chopped cooked turkey

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1. Saute onion, celery, carrots and the clove of garlic with thyme leaves in oil and butter over low heat for 5 minutes. Add turkey or chicken broth, cooked turkey, bay leaves and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the giant couscous or noodles/pasta and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat until the couscous is tender. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Muffin tin turkey dumplings

2 cups leftover turkey meat, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup Swiss or mozzarella cheese, shredded (can use more if desired)

1 package (8-count) crescent rolls

1 teaspoon dried dill (I prefer less)

Pinch each of salt, pepper and thyme

Options: dried cranberries or chopped nuts

1. Coat a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Push the large side of crescent triangle into bottom of each muffin tin.

3. In a bowl, mix leftover turkey and all other ingredients together and spoon into each muffin tin hole.

4. Fold small piece of crescent triangle over top of turkey mixture. Bake as directed on crescent roll container, or until lightly browned on top. Makes 8 servings.


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