We know our families work hard and do their best to make the holidays memorable for all. So, waste not, want not – when it comes to the festive spread! There’s bound to be leftovers - here are a few favorite recipes for your big bird and some tips on storage. These are delicious and will help you get the most of things; keeping your holiday budget on track!
There is always be some meat left after the big Thanksgiving dinner irrespective of the size of your turkey or the number of guests at the annual feast. While the simple turkey sandwich has its ubiquitous place on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the versatility of this lean, mild meat means it can provide a variety of satisfying possibilities.
How to handle turkey leftovers safely
- Let your cooked turkey completely cool, then refrigerate at the first opportunity – within 90 minutes is best.
- Don’t leave your turkey hanging around after the meal as it may become unsafe to eat. Keep this in mind before settling down for a nap or a football game.
- Leftover turkey should be eaten within two days, so if you don’t think you’ll get through it in time stick it in the freezer in portions.
- If you do freeze your turkey for a later date, make sure it’s wrapped properly or put in a sealed container to avoid freezer burn. It’s also good to use sticky labels to add dates and descriptions to your frozen goods.
- If you’re storing your leftover cooked turkey in the fridge, place it on the middle shelf along with all your other ready-to-eat foods. Save the bottom shelf for raw meat and fish.
Turkey Noodle Soup
If you’re concerned about your turkey drying out, cook it in a nourishing turkey noodle soup. If you’re really organized you could even make your own stock out of the turkey bones.
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 4 small carrots
- peeled and chopped
- 1 bag medium egg noodles
- 8 oz shredded, cooked turkey
- 1 box frozen peas
- 1 bunch spring onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
Bring the stock to the boil and throw in the carrots. Boil for 4 mins, then add the noodles and simmer for 3 mins. Stir in the turkey, peas and the white part of the spring onions, heat for 1 min or until everything is hot through. Ladle into bowls, scatter with the green part of the onions to serve.
Turkey Cacciatore with a Twist
This Italian-style bake will be a crowd-pleaser thanks to its cheesy breadcrumb topping and rich tomato sauce. Just the relief when all the festive-themed food gets a bit much.
- 2 small or 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 3 small cans chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp sugar
- splash of vinegar
- 2 cups leftover turkey shredded into chunks
- 1- 8 oz ball of mozzarella
- 2 handfuls fresh breadcrumbs
Fry the onion and garlic in the oil until softened. Add the tomatoes and sugar, a little splash of vinegar and some seasoning, then simmer for 20 mins until thick. Stir in the turkey and transfer to a baking dish. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Tear over the mozzarella in chunks, then scatter over the breadcrumbs with a bit more ground pepper. Bake for 20 mins until turkey is piping hot through, and the top is golden and bubbling. Eat with mashed potatoes, rice or pasta
Leftover Turkey Casserole
This more traditional dish also uses up surplus side dishes. Throw in any hearty root vegetables, such as carrots and celery.
- 2 onions
- finely chopped
- 1 apple
- cored and chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried sage
- or 5 sage leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 cups leftover turkey, shredded
- about 1 ½ cups leftover roasted vegetables like roast potatoes, parsnips, celery and carrots
- chunky diced
Fry the onion and apple in the oil until softened in a casserole or deep pan. Stir in the sage for 1 min, then stir in the flour. Gradually stir in the stock followed by the mustard and honey. Bring up to a simmer and stir in the turkey and roast veg. Cover and gently simmer for 15 mins until turkey is piping hot. Season and eat with mashed potatoes.
Mini Turkey & Cranberry Pies
If you’re in charge of any post-Thanksgiving entertaining, these mini turkey pies will delight your guests!
- 1 box refrigerated pie crusts
- plain flour, for dusting
- 1 cup shredded leftover turkey
- 8 tbsp heavy cream
- 8 tsp cranberry sauce
- 1 egg, beaten
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface so that it’s just thinner than a penny. Cut out 4-inch circles using a pastry cutter or small saucer, then cut 3-inch circles for the lids – you may need to re-roll the trimmings. Push the larger circles into 8 holes of a muffin tin, then divide the turkey, cream and cranberry sauce between them. Season well and brush the edges with a little egg. Place a lid on top of each and pinch the sides together to seal. Chill for 15-20 mins.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops with more egg, then bake for 25 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden. Serve warm or leave to cool and enjoy cold.
Kids will love this festive pizza, topped with leftover meat and, rather ingeniously, a scattering of stuffing. Not a good choice for Italian food purists.
- 1 box pizza crust mix
- 6 tbsp tomato pasta sauce
- large handful leftover stuffing (a sausage stuffing works well for this)
- large handful (about 4 oz) leftover cooked shredded turkey
- 4 oz mozzarella, sliced
- Sage leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the pizza base mix following pack instructions. Once rolled out, leave to rest for 10 mins, then top with the pasta sauce. Scatter over the stuffing and turkey, then top with the mozzarella. Toss the sage leaves with the oil, then scatter over the pizza, drizzling over any remaining oil. Bake for 10-12 mins until the crust is crisp and the cheese has melted.
T's Learning Center, the top-rated child daycare facility in St. Johns and surrounding areas, wishes all a very Happy and Safe Thanksgiving. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to serve our wonderful community!