Friday, November 19, 2010

15 Recipes for Thanksgiving Turkey Leftovers

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Exactly a week from today, many of us may have Thanksgiving leftovers staring at us in the fridge. Perhaps you'll warm them up and enjoy them as is or you'll be looking for something different to use them up in other recipes. Here are 15 recipes for Thanksgiving Turkey Leftovers that may come in handy!

The key thing to using up turkey leftovers is to use them just as you would chicken. Recipes calling for cooked chicken and/or rotisserie chicken are great places to start. The recipe collection below includes soups, salads, sandwiches and baked pastas. Simply substitute the cooked turkey leftovers where chicken is called for in the recipes below and/or add it to the dish to make it heartier. Enjoy those leftovers!

Using turkey in this soup is a great alternative, especially if you like southwestern flavors. Don't forget the garnishes like sour cream, fresh cilantro and tortilla strips to complete this soup!

Prepare the recipe as written, omitting the chicken, and hold off adding the cooked turkey until the end so it can warm up.


This is a great soup if you like Asian flavors. It's a step up from regular ramen soup that's much better tasting without being a sodium bomb. Substitute cooked turkey for the chicken in the recipe and add the cooked turkey with the ramen noodles so they cook up together, making it faster to prepare.


After that heavy holiday meal, perhaps a salad will be in order. Chopped up leftover turkey and use in place of chicken in this recipe. It's colorful, flavorful and a nice change of pace from a carb overload.

This is still my favorite recipe for chicken salad where you can use cooked turkey too. The varying textures is great and makes for a great sandwich!

This is a salad that's pretty similar to restaurant style Chinese salads. Turkey goes well with the Asian flavors of the salad and it's another reason to encourage a salad after that heavy holiday meal.


Chopped salads are a great way to use up leftovers. Turkey can be used in place of chicken and the addition of BBQ sauce is a nice twist to the traditional chopped salad.


We loved this warm sandwich with chicken and it's equally delicious with turkey. The melted cheeses, saut├ęd peppers, mushrooms and onions pair nicely with turkey so give it a try!


Mmmm.... grilled cheese. The original recipe didn't call for chicken so I'm suggesting adding slices of leftover turkey to make this ultimate sandwich go above and beyond. Turkey, cheese and bacon is a winning combo in between Parmesan-herb crusted bread...


Similar to the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich above, this recipe adds fresh slices of creamy avocado. Substitute the deli turkey slices with leftover turkey slices to give the sandwich a more true turkey flavor.


Here's a pizza recipe where cooked turkey wouldn't hurt to be added. Just add shredded or chopped leftover turkey as a topping to this pizza and enjoy how it pairs well with bacon, lettuce and tomato!

Making a traditional pot pie can be labor intensive if you're making a homemade crust. But why bother when you can enjoy the same flavors in a pasta dish? Use leftover turkey in place of the chicken called for in the recipe for a nice twist to pot pie.

Stuffed pasta shells are one of my fave ways to use leftovers and they're great to portion out when served too. This recipe uses pesto instead of a tomato sauce and you can substitute the chicken with cooked turkey.


Another stuffed shell recipe, but this one highlights Southwestern flavor. Sweet corn, black beans, and salsa gives this dish a nice twist and using turkey makes it all the better.

Another pasta dish that's leftover friendly is lasagna. Using pesto again, this lasagna combines pesto, cream cheese, seasonings and chopped turkey to create a tasty lasagna filling.  

5 comments:

Lindsey said...

Wow, these all look SO yummy! I'm torn between the philly cheesesteak, the BLT Pizza, and the stuffed shells. :) I can't wait to give some of these a try! Thanks so much for sharing.

Kim said...

Great ideas! I have saved for the day after Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing!

lasagna recipe said...

This are really cool ideas! I think my kids will particularly love the turkey lasagna. They are all lasagna eaters. Not a week gone by without a lasagna dish in our table, lol! Although I have to admit, using leftover turkey in my lasagna never really cross my mind until now. That sounds really practical and yummy, too. :)

Sara said...

Joelen- every.single.recipe looks amazing. Thanks for putting this together!

Nicole said...

Joelen-
Love Chicago (I am on the Northe Shore)...thanks for sharing your recipes, they all look good!!

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