You open the fridge and there’s a huge turkey carcass staring back at you. How do you still have so much turkey left? Create tasty turkey leftovers, from classic and home style dishes to more international entrees. Half of your work is already done, as the meat is cooked and you just need to create the right flavor vehicle for your meal. With fresh turkey, you can make some of these and freeze for future meals. For previously-frozen turkey, share your extra leftover creations with coworkers and friends who did not cook at home for Thanksgiving.
Turkey Tacos in a Pita
Shred pieces of turkey breast and dark meat, removing skin, bone or cartilage. Place in a large frying pan with 3/4 cup of water and a package of low-sodium taco seasoning. You can make your own taco seasoning.
1/2 to 1 tbsp chili powder (depending on how hot you like it)
2 tsp. onion powder (not onion salt)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tspn lite salt or Kosher salt
1 tspn sugar (optional)
Chop up a fresh green pepper and half of an onion. Sautee in a hot frying pan. Once the vegetables are tender, stir in the water turkey and spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop turkey out without excess liquid. Place shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes in the bottom of whole wheat pita breads, add the turkey taco mix and sprinkle with low-fat Mexican cheese.
Inside Out Turkey and Peppers
Turn the tables on the Thanksgiving turkey and stuff the leftovers inside of whole peppers. For one pound of turkey meat, combine these ingredients and spice to taste. Measurements are approximate, as you may like a different ration of rice to turkey.
8 ounces of fresh chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce (more if you want a bolder tomato flavor)
1 cup of cooked brown or white rice
1 cup fresh spinach (optional)
1 cup cooked turkey
Italian seasoning, parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper to taste
3 to 4 whole red, yellow or green peppers
Cut the tops off of whole green, red or yellow peppers and remove the seeds. Stuff the turkey mixture inside. For added creaminess and flavor, stick a wedge of cheese in the center. Replace the top of the pepper and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees. This a one-dish meal, complete with meat, grains and vegetables.
Bottomless Turkey Pot Pie
Use up turkey and fixings in a bottomless turkey pot pie. Skip the bottom crust to save on calories and fat. Mix leftover turkey, gravy and vegetables together. Chop up and boil extra carrots and celery if you have none. Add to the mix. Spice with salt and pepper and salt-free poultry seasoning. Place the ingredients int a pie dish. Make a “crust” with leftover mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes.
End of the Road Turkey Soup
When you think you’ve done all you can do with the good chunks of leftover turkey meat, it’s time for soup. Boil the carcass in a large pot of water. Add a bay leaf and some Italian seasoning. Remove from heat and let it cool. Run the broth through a strainer. Pick off any remaining bits of meat from the bones and discard the carcass. Return the broth to the heat, adding any extra turkey meat.
Add sliced carrots. chopped celery, a can of white beans, and any leftover Thanksgiving green beans. Flavor with Kosher salt, ground pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil then turn it down and let it simmer. Remove from heat, let it cool and refrigerate. Use a spoon to remove excess fat which will have hardened on the surface of the soup. Add cooked rice or pasta, heat thoroughly and serve with a fresh salad.