Enjoy turkey leftovers long after Thanksgiving

Holiday leftovers take on new life in soups, sandwiches and other foods after the big day

    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 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 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.




Turkey Orzo Soup

2 cups diced white onion
1-1/2 cups diced carrots
1 -1/2 cups diced celery
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 pounds turkey breast cutlets or 3 to 4 cups shredded turkey
10 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups dry orzo pasta
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    Place diced vegetables and olive oil in a soup pot and sauté five minutes on medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute two minutes.
    Add turkey, broth, and dry pasta. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Test the orzo for doneness before turning off the heat. Remove turkey cutlets, shred them using two forks and return meat to the pot. Add the lemon juice and fresh parsley. Stir to combine and serve hot.
    Add additional liquid when reheating leftovers as the orzo will absorb additional liquid. Soup can be frozen for as long as three months in freezer bags in two-cup portions.



Leftover Thanksgiving Casserole

4 cups prepared stuffing
4 cups coarsely chopped leftover cooked turkey
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
2 cups mashed potatoes
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

    Spoon two cups stuffing into an 8-inch-square baking dish coated with cooking spray, then top with turkey.
    Combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise with cranberry sauce and evenly spread over turkey.
    Combine remaining mayonnaise, mashed potatoes and cheese in large bowl. Evenly spread over the cranberry mixture, then top with remaining stuffing.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven for 40 minutes, until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish, if desired, with dried cranberries.


Thanksgiving Leftovers Pierogies

For dough:
4 cups flour
1 cup water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
For filling:
1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes, chilled
1/2 cup cooked turkey meat, 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 dipping sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
Dried cranberries, for serving
Chopped parsley or chives, for serving

    To make dough, mix flour, water, egg, and salt together in a bowl until dough forms. Place dough on a floured surface and knead about five minutes, until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
    To make filling, mix potatoes, turkey, onion, cranberry sauce and cheese in a bowl until combined. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    To make sauce, whisk together sour cream and mustards, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Set up a large skillet and add a couple tablespoons of butter.
    Divide dough ball in half and roll each half until 1/8-inch thick. Using a knife or biscuit cutter, cut dough into 3-inch circles.
    Place one heaping teaspoon filling in center of each circle, then fold the dough in half, pinching together the edges to seal. Continue until all the pierogies have been formed.
    In batches, place pierogies in the boiling water and cook for eight minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.
    Remove boiled pierogies with a slotted spoon, allowing excess water to drip off, and cook in the melted butter for two to three minutes, until crispy and golden. Repeat with remaining pierogies.
    Garnish with the dried cranberries and herbs. Serve warm with the dipping sauce on the side.
    Pierogies taste best if made just before eating. You may store formed but unboiled pierogies in the refrigerator, covered well for a day or two. Boil and fry in butter when you are ready to eat.


Turkey Pozole Rojo

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 29-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 29-ounce can tomato sauce
1 29-ounce can Mexican hominy
1 8-ounce can green chiles diced
1-1/2 cups sweet salsa, such as mango or pineapple
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 cups shredded, cooked turkey
2 cups shredded carrots
For seasoned cabbage:
3 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

    Heat olive oil in a large pot heat over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook two more minutes.
    Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, hominy, green chiles, sweet salsa, chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.
    In a small bowl, toss cabbage, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper until combined. Set aside.
    Add cooked turkey to pot along with the carrots. Cook an additional 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve hot with seasoned cabbage, avocado, cilantro and limes.


Leftover Turkey Harvest Cobb Salad

3 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 ounces cooked turkey breast
2 cups cubes butternut squash, 3/4-inch dice
Olive oil spray
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper
3 cups spring mix lettuce
3/4 ounces crumbled feta
1/4 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons craisins
For vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped red onion

    Place butternut squash on a large nonstick baking sheet, coat with olive oil spray, season with salt and pepper and bake in a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn cubes over and cook an additional 10 minutes, until tender. Let cool a few minutes.
    Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk.
    Divide the lettuce between two plates.Top each with half of the bacon, turkey, squash, feta, pecan and craisins. Serve with dressing on the side.


Turkey Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Cranberry Mustard

4 slices whole grain or sourdough bread
4 to 8 ounces sliced turkey breast
4 slices of brie cheese
2 tablespoons butter
For cranberry mustard:
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
3 to 4 tablespoons whole grain mustard

    Stir the cranberry sauce and mustard  together. Spread some cranberry mustard generously on all four slices of bread. Layer two slices of bread with turkey and brie, then top with the other slices.
    Heat butter on medium-low heat and pan-sear the sandwiches, cooking them until crisp and golden on both sides.
    Place sandwiches on a sheet pan and finish in a 400-degree oven until the cheese is melted.
    Cut in half and serve with a salad.


Leftover Turkey in Creamy Mushroom Sauce

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 non-stick pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and diced onions and sauté four to five minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden. Add mushrooms and sauté five to seven minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden. Remove mushrooms and onions from pan.
    Place butter in the hot pan and melt. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking continually, for 1-1/2 to two minutes, until roux is golden brown, then whisk in chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and season to taste.
    Add mushroom mixture to the pan. Stir in turkey and heat until meat is just heated through. Garnish with finely chopped parsley, if desired.


Leftover Turkey Broccoli Soup With Stuffing Croutons
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet white onion, diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large stalks celery, chopped
5 to 6 cups broccoli and cauliflower stems, chopped
6 to 8 cups broccoli and cauliflower florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
8 cups turkey or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, minced
1 bay leaf
4 to 5 cups shredded leftover turkey meat
3/4 cup half ‘n half
1 cup shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1to 2 tablespoons honey
Juice of ½ a lemon or 1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups leftover turkey stuffing.

    In a large soup pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery along with a heavy pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for five to seven minutes, until vegetables are soft. Add thyme, rosemary, garlic, bay leaf and another pinch of salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
    Add broccoli florets and stems and turkey broth. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until the stems are soft.
    Remove the bay leaf and, working in batches, blend the soup in a blender, taking care not to burn yourself, until completely smooth.
    Return soup to the pot and add remaining broccoli and cauliflower, turkey and, if the broth is unsalted, a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer five to seven minutes, until the florets are soft but still retain some chew.
    Break stuffing into small cubes and place on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet on the upper third of the oven and broil three to five minutes. When crispy, carefully turn each crouton over and broil two more minutes. Remove from the oven, cool and set aside.
    When the broccoli and cauliflower are done, remove from the heat and stir in cream, cheese, honey and lemon juice, stirring until the cheese is melted. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
    Serve soup warm with croutons and extra cheese on top.


Thanksgiving Leftover Pop Tarts

3 cups 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

    Place flour, sugar, cold butter and shortening into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 12 to 15 times, until the butter is pea-sized and the dough looks crumbly. Slowly add ice-cold water, pulsing the food processor until the dough pulls from the sides into a large ball. Be careful not to over-mix.
    Roll the pie dough into 28-by-12 inch rectangle that’s about 1/8-inch thick. Cut off excess edges using a pizza cutter.
    Cut dough into eight 7-by-5-inch rectangles. Roll excess scraps into 14-by-10-inch rectangle and cut it into four rectangles. Place rectangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
    Remove dough from the refrigerator and spoon one tablespoon cranberry sauce onto six of the rectangles. Layer one tablespoon mashed potatoes, one tablespoon stuffing and small bits of turkey on top Cover each with a plain rectangle and pinch the edges together to seal.
    Use a fork to make lines along the edges of the tarts, cutting off uneven edges to make a clean line, if desired. Place tarts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a toothpick to poke several small holes in each tart.
    Beat the egg and one teaspoon of water in a small bowl.  Brush the egg wash on each tart, then bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
    Drizzle with warmed, leftover gravy and serve warm.



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