5 Ways to Use Your Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey


It’s the feast that keeps on giving!

When you’re stuck with tons of leftover food from overstuffed Thanksgiving guests, have no fear! RyanSeacrest.com has some creative recipes that are sure to turn your turkey remnants into spiced-up meals and snacks.

1. Roast Turkey Sandwiches

Food Network

Tyler Florence/Food Network

2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs tarragon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (4-pound) turkey breast
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices country bread
1/2 pound fontina cheese, sliced thinly
1 large ripe avocado
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 slices maple bacon, cooked until crispy
Pepper lettuce (watercress)
Butter, for sauteeing

(If cooking turkey) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Blend herbs and butter into a food processor until smooth. Rub the mixture on the turkey breast along with salt and pepper. Place turkey in a baking dish and into the oven for one hour. Otherwise, use leftover turkey.

Assembling the sandwich: rub herb butter on one half of the bread. Place one piece of cheese and many turkey slices on the other half of the bread.

Peel, slice and toss the avocado in lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the avocado, another slice of cheese, lettuce, and bacon on the sandwich. Spread butter on both sides of the sandwich and heat up in a pan.

2. Turkey Enchiladas

Taste of Home.com

Taste of Home.com

8 bacon strips, chopped
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/3 cup chopped onion
10 ounces thinly cooked turkey, shredded
1-1/2 cups (8 ounces) shredded swiss cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 yellow corn tortillas, warmed
1 carton (10 ounces) refrigerated Alfredo sauce
1/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 can (1/4-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained

Makes 4 servings: Saute bacon, red pepper, and onion in a large skillet until bacon is crisp and vegetables are tender; drain. Combine turkey, bacon mixture, 1 cup of cheese, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Place 1/2 cup of this mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side down on a greased baking dish. In a large bowl, combine Alfredo sauce and milk and pour over the tortillas. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cover with more cheese and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Garnish with lettuce and tomatoes.

3. Quick Turkey Croquettes

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray

2 tablespoons vegetable or light-colored oil, plus some for frying
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 pound leftover sliced turkey
1 1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
A few pinches of nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg beaten
cranberry sauce

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, carrot and parsley, and cook until softened (5 minutes). Heat a 1/4 of an inch of oil in a deep skillet. Shred the leftover turkey using two forks. Add the mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs, poultry seasoning, nutmeg, salt, pepper, egg and cooled veggies to turkey. Mix to combine and form 10 patties about an inch thick.

Dredge the patties in the remaining breadcrumbs and brown in the hot oil for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with cranberry sauce and gravy alongside.

4. Turkey and Blue Cheese Salad

David Prince/RealSimple.com

David Prince/RealSimple.com

2 heads of Boston lettuce, chopped or broken into large pieces
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 pound of sliced, roasted turkey (the leftovers)
4 ounces of blue cheese
1/4 cup store-bought vinaigrette

Toss lettuce, onions, and almonds in bowls. Top with turkey and blue cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

5. Penne with Kale, Goat Cheese, Olives, and Turkey

Martha Stewart.com

Martha Stewart.com

1 pound dried penne
salt and pepper
3 small cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 bunch of kale, stems removed, leaves thinly sliced (8 cups)
2 cups shredded turkey
6 to 7 ounces of goat cheese
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in salted water. Reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking water, then drain. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and the red-pepper flakes. cook until shallots are translucent (about 3 minutes). Add lemon zest and wine. Cook until wine has evaporated (1 minute). Stir in kale and 1/4 cup reserved cooking water. Cook until kale wilts (about 3 minutes).

Add turkey and cook until heated. Add goat cheese and remaining 1 1/4 cups reserved cooking liquid, stirring until sauce is creamy. Add pasta to skillet, and cook, stirring, until pasta is coated and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in olives and lemon juice. Sprinkle with Parmesan and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

Happy Turkey Day Leftovers!