It's easy to have leftover turkey once the Thanksgiving holiday has passed. Many people miscalculate the number of pounds of turkey they need to feed the family, or an excess of side dishes makes Tom Turkey less of the culinary centerpiece he should be. Don't worry if you're one of the people left with an abundance of turkey. There are plenty of ways to turn it into delicious meals to be enjoyed for several days after the holiday.
To enjoy turkey leftovers, first the remaining turkey should be prepared and stored so it can be safely eaten later on. This means that turkey should be deboned and packed up for storage no later than two hours after the bird has been served, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. Generally, leftover turkey can be enjoyed 3 to 4 days after Thanksgiving if it is refrigerated. If the meat is frozen, it can last much longer.
Now comes the time to whip up delicious recipes from that remaining turkey. Here are some ideas to whet the appetite.
- Turkey chili: Combine the meat with kidney beans, red and green peppers, onions, pureed tomato and a package of chili seasonings from the supermarket. Let simmer and serve with corn bread or over rice.
- Turkey gyro: Top pitas with turkey meat, lettuce, onion, and fresh tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is made by mixing chopped cucumber, garlic and lemon juice with a thick Greek yogurt.
- Turkey omelets: Chop up turkey and add it to the egg mixture when making omelets. Serve with toast spread with cranberry sauce.
- Turkey pot pie: Line a pie tin with homemade or store-bought pie crust. Add the turkey, half a can of cream of chicken soup, a package of thawed mixed vegetables, and the remaining pie crust. Bake until the pot pie is bubbly and hot.
- Turkey Mexican-style: Replace the meat in tacos, fajitas or enchiladas with leftover turkey.
- Buffalo turkey pizza: Toss leftover turkey with melted butter and hot sauce. Use the seasoned meat on top of a homemade or pre-made pizza. Bake and enjoy.
- Turkey-tossed pasta: Add strips of turkey to a dish of pasta, topped with a favorite sauce.
- Turkey panini: Slice a thick, crusty bread and spread the outsides with butter. Add layers of turkey, cheese and cooked bacon. Cook on a griddle, using a heavy pan to hold the panini flat while cooking. Flip over and continue to cook until panini is golden brown and cheese is melted.
- Pulled pork-style turkey: Chop up or pull apart leftover turkey meat. Toss with your favorite barbecue sauce. Serve on soft sandwich buns with a side of cole slaw.
- Turkey salad sandwich: Mix chopped turkey with mayonnaise or salad dressing, diced celery, onions, and shredded carrots for a refreshing cold sandwich filling.
- Turkey and vegetable stir-fry: Heat a wok or skillet with a little oil and saute onions, garlic and favorite stir-fry vegetables. Add the turkey to heat and season with soy sauce or teriyaki. Serve over steamed rice.