One of my favourite memories as a kid was eating toasted turkey sandwiches (that my mom made of course). What made them extra special, was stacking them high with all of the fixings–turkey (dark meat for me), stuffing, roasted veggies, cranberry sauce–and then my mom spreading both sides of the sandwich with butter and pan-frying them.
Turkey, vegetable and barley soup was another leftover favourite in our house growing up–the ultimate comfort food. And definitely the more nutritious option between the two.
While these classics are still my favourites, there are many other ways to re-purpose turkey leftovers, making the holiday meal last longer by creating completely new dishes that are perfect for busy weeknights when you don’t have time to cook.
Here are five delicious and nutritious ways to use your turkey leftovers:
Turkey Pita Pizzas:
Lay out as many pitas or pizza crusts as you’d like, spread with your favourite base (tomato sauce, pesto or a combination), add pieces of leftover turkey, peppers, mushrooms, etc. and then top with favourite shredded cheese. Cook at 400 F for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is starting to become golden brown on top. Alternatively, don’t cook, and place in a an air-tight freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for later use.
Turkey Noodle Casserole:
- 1 box (approximately 500 g) pasta (I used bow tie but feel free to use your favorite)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 lb leftover turkey
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups (500 ml) fresh spinach
- 1 1/2 jars tomato pasta sauce
- 2 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella and provolone)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Cook pasta to “el dente.”
- While it is cooking, coat large and deep sauté pan with olive oil and place on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and pepper and sauté until soft (about 5 minutes).
- Turn heat down to medium-low and add turkey, tomatoes and spinach. Sauté for 2-3 minutes spinach is wilted.
- Remove pan from the heat, add jar of pasta sauce as well as cooked pasta and stir to combine.
- Grease a large casserole dish and fill the bottom with half of the pasta mixture. Top with half of the grated cheese. Top with remaining pasta mixture and then sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350 F for approximately 30 minutes or until slightly golden brown on top.
Weeknight turkey Fried Rice:
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cups fresh or frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, peppers, mushrooms etc.)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- 1- 1.5 cups cooked turkey
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- In wok or large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion and vegetables. Sauté until softened (approx. 3-5 minutes).
- Reduce heat to medium-low, add eggs to one side of pan (see photo above) and cook until eggs are scrambled.
- Add rice, turkey and soy sauce and sauté until combined (approx. 2-3 minutes).
*recipe adapted from Maija Craig’s Weeknight Fried Rice Recipe on the Yummy Mummy Club
Baked Turkey Burritos:
- 1 pound leftover turkey meat
- 1 small yellow or red onion, chopped finely
- 2 bell pepper, chopped finely
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 1/2 cup corn kernels, frozen and then thawed
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- chili powder, chipotle spice and cumin (all to taste)
- 1/2 cup mild salsa
- 1/2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 cups (or more) grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 6 10″ soft whole grain tortillas
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease a rectangular baking dish.
- Heat canola oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and peppers and saute until fragrant and slightly soft (about two minutes). Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Turn heat down to medium and season with spices (to your liking). Add turkey, corn, beans, and salsa, combine and cook for a minute or two, turn heat down to simmer and cover for 5-10 minutes.
- Lay your tortillas out and spoon a heaping spoonful of meat mixture into the middle of each. Top with grated cheese (1 cup dispersed among all 6). Fold the tortillas up and place side by side in the greased baking dish. Top all of the folded burritos with remaining cup of cheese.
- Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes until cheese and tops of the tortillas are golden brown. Serve with fresh salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.
Easy Turkey Chili:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 3/4 cup chopped carrots
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh (or canned) mushrooms
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
- 1 (19 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
- 1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel corn, undrained
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, and garlic until tender. Stir in green pepper, red pepper, celery, and chili powder. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.
- Stir in mushrooms, and cook 4 minutes. Stir in leftover turkey, tomatoes, kidney beans, and corn. Season with cumin, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium. Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.