Ahhh, roast turkey: that centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table. How frequently do we prepare turkey throughout the rest of the year? Not as often as we might; turkey can be very straightforward to cook and, thanks to its high-quality protein and low levels of fat (particularly lean turkey breast) can be a healthful option, too.
If you find yourself with a pile of turkey leftovers this holiday season, we have a few clever ways to make next-day use of the Thanksgiving bird. And if you’re looking for good year-round turkey recipes, we’ve got you covered there as well.
Let’s start with this: the classic roast turkey recipe, the only one you’ll ever need. Fragrant with orange and herbs, this classic roast turkey earns the spotlight on your holiday table, and it makes darn tasty leftovers, too.
With a slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese and a topping of zingy cranberry sauce, this will be your new go-to turkey sandwich. Use high-quality low-sodium deli turkey, or take thin slices of breast meat from your holiday roast.
Press rounds of prepared piecrust (homemade or store-bought) into muffin tins or ramekins, prick the dough with a fork and bake at 425 for 8 to 10 minutes until the crusts are golden brown. Fill with leftover turkey, dressing, potatoes (or any Thanksgiving side), gravy; warm the pies in the oven for a few minutes before serving. Top crust is optional!
Cooked turkey (white and dark meat, chopped) is a great substitute for chicken in your family’s favorite dishes. Here, you can pair cooked turkey with packaged salsa, whole-wheat tortillas and some Jack cheese.
I’m not sure where the name came from, but this was a Thanksgiving leftover staple in my family when I was growing up. For each serving, toast a slice of whole-grain bread, then top with sliced turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy for a hearty open-face sandwich.
Tear or chop cooked dark-meat turkey into bite-sized chunks. Heat corn tortillas in a dry skillet or hot griddle; top with turkey, shredded lettuce, shredded low-fat Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, prepared salsa and fat-free Greek yogurt.
Saute shredded potatoes (from your grocer’s refrigerator case), a medium onion, diced, and a green or red bell pepper, diced, in a little olive oil until the vegetables are soft and golden brown. Add 1 cup of shredded cooked turkey (dark meat works well) and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the hash is crispy brown in spots; top each serving with a fried egg, if desired, or sprinkle on low-fat Cheddar cheese.
Ground turkey makes a terrific lower-fat substitute for ground beef in burgers; this recipe from Chef Meg features the Mediterranean flavors of Feta cheese, mint and oregano.
Not a leftovers recipe, but rather another great use for ground turkey. This low-fat chili packs a ton of heat, so adjust the amount of chili powder if you’d like.
This meatloaf recipe scored big ratings on SparkRecipes, and no wonder. It features lean ground turkey, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan cheese and flavorful spices; a great alternative to higher-fat meatloaf made of pork and/or beef.
What is your favorite way to eat leftover turkey?
Bryn Mooth is extending her 20-year career in publishing as an independent journalist and copywriter. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.
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