Dry turkey or other meat leftovers? No problem!

So Thanksgiving has come and gone and if you’re like me (who made a tad too much turkey), you’re wondering what you’re gonna do with all those scraps of leftover turkey meat that are drying up by the day.  But before you send the remains of your bird to the trash can or to your dog’s food dish, take a gander at some of these recipes that can breathe a brand new and maybe even tastier life into your leftover turkey and other thanksgiving dishes.  Feel free to use these recipes for other leftover meats like chicken or beef or even fish as well!

Turkey Shepard's Pie with Mashed Potatoes

Close-up of the Shepard's Pie

Turkey Shepard's Pie with Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Close-up of Sweet Potato Shepard's Pie

Turkey with stuffing casserole variant

A twist on what Gordon Ramsay calls a “Great British Classic”, Turkey Shepard’s Pie is not just a creative turkey encore for your next get-together, but its also a great way to inject precious moisture back into your bird in addition to finding use for leftover mashed potatoes.  This recipe is based on a Yahoo! article I stumbled upon, with a few minor changes.  I originally made this for church on Sunday (It was me and Steve’s turn to make food for the congregation) with the leftover Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes and when I realized that I had more turkey than potatoes, I made a second casserole dish by omitting the potatoes and instead stirring in leftover stuffing.  I then made this dish again today with regular mashed potatoes.  So heres the recipe, with instructions for both sweet and regular mashed potatoes as well as the stuffing casserole variant.  Note for when I made the dishes, I went through the recipe twice each time to make two batch layers of turkey and veggie mixture (thus using double the ingredients) before adding the mashed potatoes.  Enjoy!

– 2 tablespoons of olive oil

– 6 chopped green onions

– 1 to 2 carrots, finely minced

– 3 cloves chopped garlic

– 1/3 cup white wine

– 3 tablespoons flour

– 1 tablespoon dry basil

– 2 cups chicken stock

– 2 cups cooked turkey

– 1 cup frozen peas

– 5 to 6 russet potatoes or sweet potatoes

– 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream (only if you are using regular potatoes)

– 2 to 3 tablespoons butter (use more butter if using sweet potatoes)

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 1 canned chipotle chili pepper (only if you are using sweet potatoes)

– Stuffing (only if you are making the turkey and stuffing casserole variant)

– Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or sauce pan over medium heat.  Finely mince carrots using a grater.  Saute carrots and green onions until onions appear well cooked.  Add wine, stir, and reduce until it’s gone.  Add flour and basil and stir until flour dissolves.  Add chicken stock and stir consistently until it begins to boil.  Heat peas separately and add cooked turkey and peas and stir into mixture.  Pour into a casserole dish and set aside.

Peel and chop potatoes into cubes.  Cook potatoes until chopstick tender (it is recommended that regular potatoes be boiled and sweet potatoes be steamed).  If using regular potatoes, add butter, salt and pepper to taste, and ½ cup of cream and mash.  Add more cream and seasonings gradually to make potatoes creamier and more flavored and continue mashing until desired texture and flavor is achieved.  If using sweet potatoes, add butter, salt, and pepper and mash until desired texture and flavor is achieved before spooning in a chopped chipotle chili pepper.

Spread mashed potatoes over the turkey and vegetable mixture.  Top potatoes with parmesan cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

If you are making the stuffing variant, simply add leftover stuffing to the mixture after adding turkey and peas.  Stir, pour into casserole dish, top with cheese, and bake until cheese is golden brown.  Serve hot.

Turkey Tarragon Pasta Salad

Perfect for picnics and outdoor lunches, this tasty Pasta Salad is a Eurasian Epicurean original!  I conceived this idea while trying to think of a variant of chicken salad using turkey.  It began with combining turkey and mayo.  Then I thought of adding classic picnic salad vegetables like olives, corn, celery, and onions.  Then, to add a bit more texture to the dish, in came the penne pasta (Just for the record, I absolutely love cooking with pasta).  And finally, while preparing the dish, I fumbled through some of my herbs and out popped tarragon, a very handy herb used in many salad bar pasta favorites.  This dish can be altered in many ways and you can add whichever produce or pasta you like in addition to substituting meats such as chicken or fish for turkey.  But keep the tarragon and mayo whatever you do!  Here’s the recipe!

-2.5 cups cooked turkey

-1 can (15-16 oz) canned corn

-1 can sliced olives

-1 onion chopped

-1 cup chopped celery

-1 lb dry penne pasta

-2.5 cups mayonaisse

-2 to 3 tablespoons dry tarragon

-1 to 2 tablespoons dry cumin

-Optional: 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (more if desired)

Drain corn and olives and place into a casserole dish.  Combine with raw chopped onions and celery.  Boil salted water and cook dry penne pasta all the way to tender perfection (12-14 minutes).  Drain well and let it cool.  Add pasta, turkey, and mayonnaise to casserole dish and mix with vegetables

Add tarragon and cumin and mix well.  Add cayenne pepper if desired.  Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Rachael Ray's Hearty Turkey and Corn Chili

Original Recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/turkey-corn-chili-recipe/index.html.  This is Rachael Ray’s Turkey and Corn Chili.  My variant has a few very subtle changes (the biggest ones being me using freshly chopped tomatoes and canned tomato sauce and omitting the bay leaf) but nothing too deterred from the original recipe.  I added an option of adding beans as well.  Enjoy!

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 onion, chopped

-1 bell pepper chopped

-1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

-1.5 pounds cooked turkey

-1.5 to 2 tablespoons chili powder

-1.5 to 2 tablespoons ground cumin

-1 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot for this one)

-Salt and pepper to taste

-2 cups corn (frozen, canned, or leftover works fine)

-1 32-ounce can of chunky style crushed tomatoes (You can also try using canned tomato sauce and 4 freshly chopped roma tomatoes)

-2 cups chicken stock

-Optional: 1 can of black or pinto beans, drained

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium high heat.  Saute onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno until onions are transparent.  Add the cooked turkey and season with chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well.  Add corn, tomatoes, and chicken stock.  Add beans if desired.  Stir well.  Bring to boil and turn down heat, let simmer for 10 minutes before serving hot.

So there you have it, a few ideas that you can put to use the next time you have a mountain of holiday leftovers that you don’t want to go to waste.  Don’t forget that you can also use your turkey bones and carcass for making soup and stock.  And remember, all these recipes work great for leftover chicken, beef, and many more kinds of leftover meat.  Oh yeah, if you happen to have leftover ratatouille, by all means keep in it the fridge and age it further, then reheat and eat for more flavor!   Feel free to comment and share any ideas you may have as well!

Bon Appetit!

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One Response to “Dry turkey or other meat leftovers? No problem!”

  1. that turkey corn chili was quite divine.

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