I have a confession. I like leftovers. I have no problem bringing home piles of mashed potatoes, loads of wild rice and containers full of turkey after a big family meal and house them in my fridge for a while.
I like them because, well, it means everyone got enough to eat, but I also like them because I can easily feed my family for weeks on leftovers without anyone getting sick of them. Really.
The Art of Eating Leftovers
Yes, eating leftovers is an art. I’d admit that if you just loaded up a Thanksgiving-style plate every day for lunch and dinner, you’d tire of them rather quickly. Instead, the key here is to take those leftovers and turn them into something new and different than the Thanksgiving meal they came from. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Look for different seasonings and flavors. Fried rice made with leftover vegetables tastes nothing like stuffing and mashed potatoes, so it will keep you and your family interested in what you’re eating.
- Think outside the box. Don’t limit yourself to the obvious – turkey sandwiches. Instead, think of new and different ways you can stretch those leftovers. Can turkey pieces be added to calzone pockets instead?
- Mix it up. Mashed potatoes make a great canvas for things like potato dumplings when you add in a bit of flour and baking powder.
Here are two of my favorite turkey leftover meals.
All photos by Shaina
Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
1 cup leftover turkey, diced
1 cup frozen carrot coins (or other vegetable)
1 cup leftover or blanched green beans
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 generous tablespoon cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together turkey, carrots, green beans, fresh herbs and garlic and place in a 2-quart baking dish. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix cream with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour cream over the top of the vegetables. Reheat potatoes just slightly to make them easier to work with and stir in the remaining tablespoon of cream. Add them into a large piping bag and pipe over the top of the vegetables.
Bake covered at 350°F for 40 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 20 minutes to allow potatoes to brown slightly. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.
Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups mirepoix (diced onions, celery and carrots)
½ cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
¼ cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
¼ cup sherry or dry white wine
1 cup cooked leftover wild rice (white or brown rice can also be used)
1 cup leftover turkey, chopped
Heat one tablespoon of butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add in mirepoix and mushrooms (if using) and sauté for 10 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add in the remaining butter and melt. Whisk in flour and continue to cook for approximately 3 minutes until roux is a nice, golden brown color.
Stir in chicken broth until there are no lumps left. Add sherry, rice and turkey. Allow to simmer 20 minutes until heated through. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed*. Serve with leftover dinner rolls.
*You’ll need to add more or less salt depending on how seasoned your stock is.
More Leftover Turkey Recipes
- Turkey Linguine with Thyme | Under the High Chair
- Creamy Turkey and Mushroom Casserole | Food for My Family
- My Favorite Turkey Sandwich, The Beach | Food for My Family
- Leftover Turkey Pot Pie | The Pioneer Woman
- Cranberry-Turkey Enchiladas | Recipe Girl
- Turkey Cranberry Sandwich | Savory Sweet Life
- Turkey Tetrazzini | Simply Recipes
Are you a leftover lover as well? Share some of your favorite leftover meals.