Use Leftover Turkey in Many Creative Ways

Edited by JMA, Robbi, Lynn, Nerissa Avisado and 1 other

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After Thanksgiving and Christmas, a lot of homes have one thing in common - a refrigerator with a lot of leftover turkey. Many of these homes will eventually throw away the leftovers from their holiday meals - starting with the carcass, the stuffing, the cranberry sauce, before finally moving on to the meat. This is partly because after the second time you have warmed over turkey for a meal, the old bird definitely starts to lose its appeal.

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There are many creative ways to cook leftover turkey. In fact some of the recipes for this ingredient are so good that once you've tried them, you will begin to look forward to having leftovers. For one thing, being able to use your leftovers gives you the satisfaction of knowing you have been resourceful instead of wasteful. It also helps stretch your grocery money when you come up with dishes that include what's left from Thanksgiving. Most of all, though, you and your family will surely enjoy the different flavors that your turkey will take on as you go through these interesting recipes.

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Leftover Turkey Pie

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Here is a delicious, creamy recipe for leftover turkey pie. Guaranteed to be a family favorite, you can choose to make small single-serving pies or make a large one for the family to share. If you stored some leftover gravy, you can use that in this recipe. If all the gravy is gone, you can go ahead make some from a packet.

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Ingredients for the pie filling:

  • 4 tablespoons butter or butter substitute
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced fine
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon dried leaf sage
  • A pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups gravy (either homemade or store bought is fine)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or light cream
  • 3 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey
  • 2 cups frozen peas or mixed vegetables (thawed and drained)
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for the Pie Pastry

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (6 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons chilled butter-flavored shortening, in pieces
  • 5 tablespoons ice cold water
  • Egg wash
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water

Procedure for crust:

Either follow these instructions to make your crust or buy ready-made crust in a tube.

  1. 1
    Whisk together flour and salt
    .
    Cut in shortening until you get pea-sized pieces.
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  2. 2
    Add 1-2 tablespoons ice water at a time and toss mixture to incorporate.
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  3. 3
    Put a piece of parchment paper on the table
    .
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  4. 4
    Gather the mixture with your fingertips and place it in the center of the parchment paper.
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  5. 5
    Fold parchment paper over it and press into ball
    .
    Roll into a tube and chill for half an hour.
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  6. 6
    Roll out into the shape of Pyrex dish or casserole you will be using, giving a 1 1/2 inch allowance all around
    .
    Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until you are ready to put in filling.
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Procedure for turkey filling:

  1. 1
    Sauté mushrooms and onions in butter until the onions are translucent and mushrooms are browned.
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  2. 2
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F if you are going to make the pie immediately
    .
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  3. 3
    Stir in flour, mixing well over medium-low fire until flour is well-incorporated into the rest of the ingredients.
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  4. 4
    Stir gravy and broth, and let simmer until slightly thickened.
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  5. 5
    Add turkey and continue simmering until meat is heated through.
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  6. 6
    Remove from heat and add cream and vegetables
    .
    Mix together gently.
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  7. 7
    Spoon over casserole and sprinkle with grated cheese.
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  8. 8
    Cover dish with crust, apply egg wash with a brush and cut vent holes with a sharp paring knife.
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  9. 9
    Place on a cookie tray lined with foil to catch drippings, and bake until top is nicely browned (about 50 minutes).
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Note: You can refrigerate filling and make the pie the next day if this is more convenient for you.

Leftover Turkey Croquettes

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Your family is guaranteed to love these tiny, creamy bites. You can make them a little smaller than breakfast eggs for a regular meal, or shape them into tiny cylinders to be served as appetizers for a party. After you have shaped them as desired, freeze before you roll them in breading and store until you are ready to use them. How's that for a cook-ahead dish? Thaw and apply breading just before cooking, and serve with cranberry sauce or gravy.

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Ingredients for the croquettes:

  • 2 1/3 cups finely minced leftover turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups leftover seasoned mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if possible, not iodized)
  • A dash of pepper

Ingredients for the breading:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 tablespoon cold water, beaten together
  • 2 cups finely ground fresh bread crumbs

Procedure:

  1. 1
    In a bowl, mix together turkey, mashed potatoes, parsley, and black pepper.
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  2. 2
    Over medium heat, melt butter and add onions, cooking until translucent
    .
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  3. 3
    Stir in flour and mix until blended
    .
    Add chicken broth and milk while stirring continuously for three or more minutes. Season with salt.
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  4. 4
    Combine this with the turkey mixture in the bowl and blend thoroughly
    .
    Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
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  5. 5
    Put 1/2 cup of all purpose flour in a plate
    .
    Put egg mixture in 1 bowl and the finely ground bread crumbs in another bowl.
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  6. 6
    Shape the chilled croquette mixture as desired - into 1 1/2-inch balls for meals or smaller if using for appetizers
    .
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  7. 7
    Roll in flour to coat, then roll in egg, then coat with the bread crumbs
    .
    (This is messy but you can keep paper towels on hand, and chill the mixture again if it becomes too soft to handle well.)
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  8. 8
    Place croquettes on lined cookie sheet
    .
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  9. 9
    Let the croquettes stand for half an hour to dry out and absorb breading.
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  10. 10
    Heat enough oil for deep frying to 360 and fry croquettes for two minutes each or until golden brown.
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  11. 11
    Drain on paper towels and serve with leftover cranberry sauce, gravy, mayo, or store-bought cheese dip.
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Creamed Turkey on Garlic Toast

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter or butter substitute
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups cooked turkey, deboned and diced
  • 12 slices toasted bread

Procedure:

  1. 1
    Melt butter or butter substitute over low-medium heat
    .
    Add flour while stirring well.
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  2. 2
    Add milk and chicken stock while stirring, making sure you eliminate all lumps
    .
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  3. 3
    Season with salt and pepper
    .
    As the mixture thickens, toss in turkey pieces.
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  4. 4
    To serve, spoon over toast.
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Tips and Warnings:

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  • If you think you are going to use the leftovers within three days, pack in cooking portions (Ziploc bags will do fine) in the refrigerator. Otherwise, store potions in freezer.
  • Always freeze cooked turkey in cooking portions so you do not have to thaw more than you need.
  • Brown turkey bones (yes, the bones!) in olive or canola oil, add to the rest of the carcass with onions and garlic. Simmer in 10 cups of water until reduced to half to make stock. Freeze stock in 1 cup portions. This will keep for three months or longer in the freezer.
  • Stick with sandwiches, wraps and other cold items while the turkey is still moist.
  • Use dry pieces and older turkey in casseroles and wet dishes as it can help to moisten it up.
  • Turkey can be frozen for up to six months.
  • Never use turkey that wasn't fully cooked or that was left out of the refrigerator too long.
  • Turkey should be used within two to four days. It is important to check to ensure it still smells good.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Noindexed pages | Holidays & Traditions | Cooking

Recent edits by: Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Robbi

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