Our Favorite Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Ideas

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Do you have leftover turkey meat from Thanksgiving? I know I do! I decided to share a few of my family’s favorite recipes using some of that leftover turkey meat today. We typically have leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, stuffing/dressing, and cranberry sauce. The black olives are the first to go along with the green bean casserole. I try to freeze a few small meals for Mark and me to eat later. I bought some of these containers to make life easier for me for freezing meals. They say lunch boxes, but they are a perfect size for individual meals. They are dishwasher, freezer, microwave and fridge SAFE. Yes, they are BPA and FDA approved. Easy Lunch Boxes

I make homemade rolls, so of course. We make sliced turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce sandwiches. If you don’t have my no-fail homemade roll recipe, here it is Homemade Rolls by Linda I love the store-bought pretzel rolls from Costco as well. One of my recipes below used flour tortillas. Let’s get started.

How To Use Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey

1. Croissants

This is our families favorite. We spread the croissants or my homemade dinner rolls with cream cheese, slices of turkey, cranberry sauce and dressing. They serve this at Kneaders in Utah!

2. Turkey Wraps

This is one of the easiest ones you can make. Grab some of your favorite tortillas, spread some mayo, I prefer cream cheese, add some sliced turkey, some cheese, thinly slices tomatoes, a little lettuce, and roll them up as tightly as possible and wrap in plastic wrap. Place them in the refrigerator and slice them for wrap bites, or cut the wraps in half.

leftover turkey

 

3. Turkey Soup

I do not boil the carcass. I love hearing people do that, but it doesn’t work for me. It’s too much trouble. I know, I know, the broth is fabulous. But, as I said, it doesn’t work for me. Mark pulls every piece of chicken off it and the carcass goes into a bag then it’s dropped in the garbage can.

I actually use my chicken noodle soup and substitute the turkey for the chicken. Here is the recipe:

Leftover Turkey Meat Soup by Linda

Turkey Soup by Linda
Prep Time
12 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 12 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Ingredients
  • 2 cans of turkey (12.5 ounces each drained or substitute 2 cups of cooked turkey)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base or substitute equal amounts of water with chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup freeze-dried onions or 1 fresh onion chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3/4 cup dry dehydrated carrots or 1-1/2 cups diced fresh carrots
  • 3/4 cup dry freeze-dried celery or 1-1/2 cups diced fresh celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 package Grandma’s frozen egg noodles 11-ounces cooked and separated as directed or boil your pasta of choice (you can find these at your local grocery store frozen section) 11-ounces cooked and separated as directed or boil your pasta of choice (you can find these at your local grocery store frozen section)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup undiluted (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, BUT add the Grandma's Noodle the last two hours or they will be mushy. Enjoy!

4. Leftover Turkey Meat Chinese Casserole

Turkey Chinese Casserole
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 15 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Ingredients
Melt butter and cook the following:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
Combine, and add to the above mix and simmer:
  • 2 cups prepared rice
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup turkey broth
Add:
  • 1 small can chow mein noodles
  • 2/3 cups cashew nuts
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients and place in a greased dish and bake at 350 degrees until heated through.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday with family and friends. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world.

My favorite things:

Soup Pot

Casserole Pan

Lodge 6-quart Dutch Oven

 

21 thoughts on “Our Favorite Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Ideas

  • November 26, 2017 at 9:14 am
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    I have always bought 2 turkeys at Thanksgiving, one for turkey day and the other kept till Christmas.. but this year cooked up one turkey a few days before T day and had cut up into 1 inch cubes, made the gravy and thought it would spread out for a long time in the freezer for a serving of hot turkey and gravy over bread from the sandwich zip lock bags.. but a couple of days before T day my great grandson in law called to say he wanted to know what they can bring for t day… I told him I had everything.. so much easier to say that and then pick up a few more things at the store…I had no idea they were planning on coming…So defrosted the other turkey and expected them to be here Wed night but I knew he would have to work on Wed so since the hours passed and not seeing them in the driveway, figured they would be here early on T day… still no sign of them… and about 1 o’clock he phoned to say that his wife and son were coming down with a cold and they felt I didn’t need that so were going to stay home….. there I sat, pies done, turkey ready to come out of the over by 2, I made up fresh cranberry sauce, had bought a large container of the Hawaiian buns and 2 extra gallons of milk and 2 extra gallons of orange juice… and now will incorporate all ideas of what all I can do with the extra turkey, haven’t even taken a slice of it, wonder if I could just freeze the whole cooked turkey as is and defrost for Christmas… Thanks for more ideas with a turkey, I would feed it to the dogs and cats but warning about it killing dogs… always in the past gave it to the animals too but now don’t dare….sliced turkey coated with flour like you would for chicken and fried tastes so good, and I have made turkey pot pies, using real butter instead of oil in the pastry.. so much easier when you have a family come eat and take extras home…

    Reply
    • November 26, 2017 at 9:56 am
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      Hi, Jeanne. Linda may have other thoughts but I wouldn’t refreeze the whole cooked turkey (although you probably could if you’re very careful about how you defrost it). For one thing it’ll take up a lot of space. If it were me, I would cut the breasts off the bone and freeze each individually, cut off the wings, legs and thighs to freeze in whatever portion sizes work for your family, and make stock out of everything else. Nothing will go to waste and you can use the pieces individually or reheat all the pieces together at Christmas. Alternately, might there be a family in your neighborhood that could use a little extra food? Paying it forward is always a good idea and they could be doing you a favor by taking the turkey off your hands.

      Reply
      • November 26, 2017 at 2:02 pm
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        thanks for the ideas, Yes on making the broth, I love the turkey broth and look forward to everyone eating the meat, then the good part of the turkey lives on in beautiful broth. making great gravy or soup stock. Don’t know why they don’t push turkeys at Easter too. I love having it for Thanksgiving and Christmas too.

        Reply
        • November 27, 2017 at 8:07 am
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          Hi Jeanne, I love the broth too! I’m going to buy a turkey for Easter next year and make the broth. Great comment, Linda

          Reply
    • November 26, 2017 at 1:23 pm
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      Hi Jeanne, I would cook the turkey and debone it. It looks like you cooked it, for sure remove the meat from the carcass. When in doubt do what your gut says. I’m so sorry they didn’t make it to your house but on the other hand, I’m glad you didn’t get their colds. The good thing is, you have plenty of meals you can make out of that cooked turkey. Just freeze it in bags. I can always make something with a little meat that’s been frozen. I hope they make it for Christmas, Hugs, Linda

      Reply
  • November 26, 2017 at 9:39 am
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    Hi, Linda. This is for those who would like to try the turkey carcass stock (My family fights over who gets the carcass over Thanksgiving), I have a suggestion. Its easy enough to throw all the bones with skin in a stock pot with a couple of onions with skins, garlic cloves with skins, carrots and celery. Cover with water. Let it simmer for a long time until it tastes great, strain out the solids and freeze or can the broth. Better still, use a pressure cooker (or pressure canner as a stock pot, if you don’t want to break down the bird into smaller pieces). The very best healthiest bone stock comes from cooking under pressure. Even 30 minutes (although I tend to lose track of time and it might be an hour) will extract the most delicious stock. Once the stock is strained, it can be simmered even longer to concentrate the flavors and reduce the amount of liquid to store, freeze or can. It’s a great alternative to tea or coffee on a cold winter morning or to ward off a cold. Reheat a few tablespoons in a cup with water in the microwave as great stock will gel. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We raised and processed 9 heritage breed turkeys before Thanksgiving and my freezer is full. In my prepper mind, I don’t want to waste any part of those birds so I’m encouraging folks to try making stock, along with your tasty recipes for leftover turkey. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • November 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm
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      Debbie, you are my hero! I think this is how my mom made broth and soup from the carcass. We had a small group this year, I think we had 14 or 16. I haven’t told anyone this, but I got sick(not sick-but no control with my eyes) in March, I hope to blog about it, so people can be aware of what happened to me. I just barely started to drive about two weeks ago. I am a tough cookie and rarely go to the doctor. I told Mark to take me to the ER, I have Vestibular Neuritis. I have been going to a Neuro Rehab twice a week to get my balance back. This is beyond vertigo. My right eye skips. This is why I couldn’t face the carcass this year. I’m exhausted every day. But I’m glad it wasn’t a brain tumor or a stroke. I’m pretty private so I don’t post stuff like this on Facebook. I have decided people need to beware of this as soon as I can write about it. Thanks for the steps to make broth. Hugs, Linda

      Reply
      • November 26, 2017 at 2:26 pm
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        Oh, Linda! I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been ill. I know you have a great support system but having to experience it first hand would be understandably exhausting. Adding in the expectations of the holidays can’t be helping. I’ll pray you are one of the 95% that don’t experience a recurrence and that you’ll make a full recovery. Thanks for sharing and I know that your followers will be enlightened when you decide it’s time to blog about it.

        Reply
        • November 27, 2017 at 8:14 am
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          Hi Debbie, that’s what I’m co0ncerned about a recurrence. I’m working on building up my immune system. It all started with a virus in my cochlear nerve or something. Thank you, Debbie! Linda

          Reply
  • November 26, 2017 at 3:02 pm
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    Linda –
    I will pray that your recovery goes without roadblocks.
    As for leftover turkey – I generally make stock for turkey noodle soup. When the stock is finished and strained, I add diced carrots, onion, etc to the broth along with some of the meat. Then my favorite part of turkey noodle soup is the noodle making. I had a pasta machine but it didn’t make the noodles how I wanted them! I like them thick and dumpling like. I don’t want to have store bought noodles either for my homemade soup!

    Another thing that I like to do is make a casserole with stuffing/dressing (you know, the bread stuffing) on the bottom of the casserole dish, shredded turkey on top of that and then smothered in turkey gravy. It goes into the oven until it is piping hot. I serve it with a non-starchy vegetable. And the casserole freezes well.

    I also like turkey ala king – meat, veggies in a white sauce then served over: mashed potatoes or rice or biscuits, or toast. Yum!

    Of course, I always save some of the meat after the big meal for a sandwich or two.

    I always love your posts, Linda and appreciate that you have been able to keep up with the blog in spite of your neurological health issues. Again, I am praying for your recovery.

    Leanne

    Reply
    • November 27, 2017 at 8:18 am
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      Hi, Leanne, oh my goodness you have some great ideas for the leftover turkey! I love to make small casseroles for the freezer so I can pull out a “dinner’ the day before for Mark and myself. One turkey or carcass can yield many meals! Thank you for your prayers, Linda

      Reply
  • November 26, 2017 at 4:22 pm
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    Linda, I love the ideas you and others have given to use up the Thanksgiving leftovers. I do like to put chopped turkey and peas in the gravy and serve over toast. So this year I made too many mashed potatoes and they are going into Potato Pancakes to be enjoyed with homemade applesauce and sour cream sprinkled with chopped green onions. This is always a favorite but since I usually am making mashed potatoes (Honeyville Instant Potato Flakes) for just two of us, I misjudged for the 6 people with all the other delicious sides. No problem, I like the Potato Pancakes which are so easy to mix up with 1 or 2 eggs, about 1/4 cup flour and 2 cups mashed potatoes and salt and pepper to taste. You can add onion, cheese, chives too. Fry up in a cast iron skillet. Delicious! Sorry that you have not been up to par with the neurological problem.

    Reply
    • November 27, 2017 at 8:21 am
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      Hi, Carol, thanks for telling me about the Honeyville potato flakes! I need to order some of those. I loved that you shared your potato pancake recipe! My mouth is watering, I grew up on those! We never used the green onions but I’m going to try that, thank you so much, Linda

      Reply
      • November 27, 2017 at 8:22 am
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        Carol, P.S. I totally forgot the green peas this year! I love them in the gravy over mashed potatoes! Hugs, Linda

        Reply
  • December 4, 2017 at 8:59 am
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    I like the recipe ideas, but I thought you were going to can or dehydrate the left over turkey. Although I figure it would be best to cook and pack it immediately after to ensure the longest possible life and freshest condition. For me and my brother the healthier aspects of turkey or even chicken are preferable as he’s diabetic and I dislike fat. Even ground turkey makes excellent chili. And like chicken, it’s also good for feeding dogs, particularly small ones with sensitive stomachs.

    I love turkey…. the sirloin of poultry.

    Reply
    • December 4, 2017 at 2:24 pm
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      Hi Frank, I love your statement, “I love turkey…. the sirloin of poultry”. I have dehydrated some hamburger jerky but not any other meat. Oh, I love chili, great comment! Linda

      Reply
  • November 10, 2018 at 12:29 pm
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    BACK IN THE LATE 70’S, THERE WAS A NOODLE AND CHEESE PRODUCT, ( MUCH LIKE THE MAC N CHEESE) .MY MOM AND I WOULD MAKE A CASSEROLE WITH LEFT OVER TURKEY BREAST AND ADD PEAS AND CARROTS AND THE NOODLES AND CHEESE MIX. BAKE IT FOR ABOUT 30 MINUTES. THERE WAS NEVER ANY LEFT LOL. WE ALWAYS MADE SOUP WITH THE REST OF THE TURKEY MEAT.

    Reply
    • November 10, 2018 at 12:55 pm
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      HI Judy, I don’t remember this one myself, but I would have made it if I knew about it! I love leftover turkey! Linda

      Reply

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