How to Use Turkey Leftovers

How to Use Turkey Leftovers

When one prepares a full turkey for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other time of the year, there tends to be a lot of leftovers. Don’t let these leftovers be forgotten in your fridge to dry out in plastic containers, though! Whether you have huge slabs of meat left over or nothing but bones remaining, there is a huge variety of recipes and combinations out there that can extend the life of your turkey by days, weeks, or even months.

[Edit]Ingredients

[Edit]Day-After-Thanksgiving Panini

  • 2 slices of bread
  • Thanksgiving leftovers (turkey, stuffing, mash potato, gravy)
  • Lettuce
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Candied yams
  • Butter

[Edit]Pulled Turkey Barbeque Emparedado

  • Dark turkey meat
  • 2 hamburger buns, or sourdough buns
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Coleslaw
  • Chili powder (optional)
  • Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • Mustard (optional)
  • Bacon (optional)

[Edit]Turkey Stock

  • Cleaned turkey bones
  • Celery bottoms
  • Carrot tops
  • Onion
  • Bay leaves
  • Water
  • 1 teaspoon (5.7 g) of thyme and sage (optional)

[Edit]Stuffing and Turkey Casserole

  • Leftover turkey and stuffing
  • 1 can of unconcentrated cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can of unconcentrated cream of chicken soup (optional replacement for mushroom soup)
  • of white wine
  • of milk (optional replacement for wine)

[Edit]Turkey Salad

  • Chopped potatoes, celery, and onion
  • Turkey strips
  • Cranberries
  • Cucumber slices, cashew nuts, and hard boiled eggs (optional additions)
  • Lettuce or spinach
  • Mayonnaise, honey mustard, cranberry sauce, or lemon juice for dressing

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Day-After-Thanksgiving Panini

  1. Grab two slices of your favorite type of bread. Any bread will do, but sourdough is considered best for paninis as it keeps its structure with wet fillings and toasts well.[1]
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  2. Lay some lettuce and leftover cranberry sauce on a slice. The lettuce will prevent the sauce and fillings from making the bread too soggy, and the cranberry sauce will add a sweet touch.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 2 Version 4.jpg
  3. Layer slices of your leftover turkey on top of the cranberry sauce. Generally you should use just enough to make a single layer, to stop the bocadillo from getting too big, but if you don’t mind using a knife and fork, go ahead and add as much as your heart desires.
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    • You can optionally spread mashed potatoes or stuffing on the turkey for a heartier panini. You can certainly add both, but it will end up being a heavy meal to eat in one sitting.
  4. Mash up some candied yams to add a sweet touch to the panini. This is not required to make the panini, but some find that the candied yams make the bocadillo taste sweeter. If you used a lot of cranberry sauce, candied yams can counteract its tartness but can also make the bocadillo overpoweringly sweet, so be careful of how much you add.
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  5. Pour gravy on the top of your fillings and put the bread slices together. Don’t go overboard on gravy, as you still have to cook the panini and a runny bocadillo is hard to grill correctly.[2] Put the bocadillo together and spread a light layer of butter on the outside of the bread.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 5 Version 4.jpg
    • A good rule of thumb is to use enough gravy to be able to spread a thin layer on the top slice, so that the bread absorbs some of the liquid and becomes more flavorful while also controlling the gravy’s messiness.
  6. Cook on medium-low heat in a grill pan or skillet. Cook it until the bread looks crusty, not burnt, and make sure the fillings are hot. You can use a panini maker if you have one, but it is not required. Merienda it’s done, grab a plate, a knife and fork if the bocadillo is gigantic, and enjoy!
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 6 Version 4.jpg

[Edit]Pulled Turkey Barbeque Emparedado

  1. Peel off pieces of dark turkey meat, and toss them into a bowl. Pulled turkey barbeque is best with the darker parts of the turkey meat because of its richer flavor and higher fat content, but can be made with any part of the turkey, except of course the bone. Use as much leftover turkey as your heart desires, there is no set amount you should use.[3]
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 7 Version 4.jpg
  2. Add your favorite barbecue sauce to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Use enough to coat all the turkey in a thin layer of barbeque – don’t go overboard or you will completely mask the turkey flavor with smoky barbeque.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 8 Version 4.jpg
    • If you like your barbeque sauce on the hot side, sprinkling a dash of chili pepper or sriracha sauce into the bowl will add a subtle heat element.
    • On the other hand, if you like your barbeque sauce spicy, add a little mustard to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add the mixed turkey and barbeque sauce to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the turkey until it is cooked through, and stir it every few minutes to make sure it is heating up evenly.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 9 Version 4.jpg
    • You can also add bacon to the saucepan for a little extra smokiness. Chop up and saute the bacon until it is crispy in the saucepan before adding the barbeque sauce and turkey.[4]
  4. Toast some buns as the turkey cooks in the barbeque sauce. Use hamburger buns for a sloppy joe style bocadillo, or sourdough buns if you want to absorb some of the barbeque into the bread.
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    • After toasting the buns, add a layer of coleslaw on the bottom bun for a little extra crunch and refreshing flavor to the smoky barbeque bocadillo.[5]
  5. Add a good amount of barbeque turkey to your bun, and feast! Be prepared to get messy, and think about using a knife and fork if the bocadillo ends up being large. Barbeque turkey sandwiches go fantastically with sweet apples, so consider garnishing your plate with a few slices.[6]
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 11 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Turkey Stock

  1. Roast the turkey bones in the oven on a baking sheet. Peel the leftover bones as clean as you can of any pieces of meat or skin. Put the bones on a baking sheet in a single layer, and roast at until it is browned.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 12 Version 2.jpg
  2. Add chopped onion, celery, carrots, and bay leaves to a large pot. Celery bottoms and carrot tops (with the leaves removed) are best for this step as they are usually thrown away, like turkey bones, but contain a lot of flavor perfect for preparing stock.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 13 Version 2.jpg
    • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon (5.7 g) of thyme and sage, and add the skin, fat, and meat that you removed from the bones. Keep everything in big chunks for easy straining when the stock is finished. Thyme and sage are optional, but can infuse your leftovers with fresh flavor.[7]
  3. Toss the roasted bones into the pot, and cover ingredients with water. Fill the pot with water so that it covers the ingredients about higher than the surface. Using more water than this will make your stock taste thin and watery, but use any less and the water could evaporate and you won’t have a high yield of stock when finished.
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  4. Simmer the stock for 3 hours, adding water as needed. On a very low heat, let the ingredients get to know each other in the pot and keep an eye on the water level. If the water level starts going down due to evaporation, re-fill it as necessary.[8]
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  5. Strain out all the veggies and meat with a fine-mesh strainer. After the stock has simmered, use a mesh strainer to separate the delicious stock from the ingredients. Throw away the veggies and meats, as all the flavor has been absorbed by the stock and it will be mushy and unappetizing.
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  6. Let the stock cool for about an hour, then remove excess fat. Any extra fat will rise to the surface of your stock, where you can easily skim it away. Don’t worry if you can’t get it all – when the stock gets cold, the fat will solidify and you can just lift it off the surface.
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    • You can freeze or refrigerate the stock for up to 3 months in a sealed container to use in later recipes or as a warming broth in the winter.[9]

[Edit]Stuffing and Turkey Casserole

  1. Mix your leftover turkey and stuffing together in a casserole dish. Use as much turkey and stuffing as you like, but don’t fill it over the rim of the dish or you won’t be able to add anything else to the casserole without it spilling over.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 18 Version 2.jpg
  2. Pour a can of cream of mushroom soup and white wine over the casserole. Use a full can of cream of mushroom, but try to avoid using concentrated soup. Add about of white wine to the casserole as well.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 19 Version 2.jpg
    • You can use cream of chicken soup if you want the casserole to taste meaty rather than mushroomy.[10]
    • If you prefer to avoid vino, you can use of milk instead of white wine.
  3. Bake the casserole at for 20 to 30 minutes until golden. Be sure to press the casserole down into the pan to make sure it does not overflow the casserole dish when cooking. Look for the stuffing to start browning very lightly on top to know when it is finished cooking.[11]
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    • You can broil the casserole for up to 5 minutes if you want the top to be extra crispy, but be careful of leaving it in the oven too long at this high a heat or you could burn it.
  4. Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes, and serve. You can add leftover roasted veggies as a side, or enjoy the savory and filling meal on its own.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 21 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Turkey Salad

  1. Chop up the potatoes, cranberries, celery, and onion. Chop each ingredient into small pieces and mix together thoroughly in a large bowl. If you are using fresh veggies rather than leftover veggies, be sure to cook them properly first in a skillet.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 22 Version 2.jpg
    • Potatoes can take a little while to be ready to add to a salad, so be sure to boil them in advance. The same goes for onion, which can be sauteed ahead of time if you want them hot, or can be left raw for a cold salad.
  2. Mix the leftover turkey with your veggies and additions in the bowl. Make sure your ingredients are spread evenly throughout while mixing, and be careful not to add too much or you risk masking the flavor of the turkey.
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 23 Version 2.jpg
    • Some common additions to add to the top of a turkey salad include cucumber slices, cashew nuts, and hard boiled eggs.
    • For a green salad, add a layer of lettuce or spinach to the bottom of your bowl and add your other veggies and turkey on top.
  3. Add a salad dressing to the top of your salad and enjoy. Light mayonnaise is a great dressing for this salad as it goes well with both the potatoes and hard boiled eggs, but don’t use too much or it can overpower other flavors. Honey mustard is a good dressing as well for its sweet and savory flavors, and cranberry sauce can turn the salad into a Thanksgiving specialty. You can also use lemon juice as a lighter alternative.[12]
    Use Turkey Left Overs Step 24 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

[Edit]Day-After-Thanksgiving Panini

  • Grill pan or skillet
  • Masher

[Edit]Pulled Turkey Barbeque Emparedado

  • Bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Toaster

[Edit]Turkey Stock

  • Chef’s knife
  • Baking sheet
  • Mesh strainer
  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon

[Edit]Stuffing and Turkey Casserole

  • Casserole dish
  • Oven with broil setting

[Edit]Turkey Salad

  • Chef’s knife
  • Bowl
  • Skillet for sauteing veggies

[Edit]Tips

  • After using the turkey leftovers, if you still have some remaining, you can freeze it to use at a later time. Turkey will stay good frozen for about 6 months. Be sure to re-heat it to an internal temperature of before you eat it to make sure the meat is safe to eat.

[Edit]Related wikiHows

[Edit]References

[Edit]Quick Summary

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