I’m one of the lucky ones. The only leftover turkey in my fridge after Thanksgiving is what was plated and sent home with me by my mother and Ian’s mother after our long day of traveling to Windsor, gorging ourselves, traveling some more to Rumford, further gorging ourselves, and then completing our trip when we arrive back home in Bangor — exhausted and with food coma impending. But, because I understand the struggles of the leftover-laden kitchen — mostly because I don’t think my mom has ever made a turkey that weighed less than 25 pounds in my lifetime — I bit the bullet and roasted one just so I could feel your pain more intimately… and help you do something creative and delicious about it.
These aren’t your typical post-Thanksgiving sandwiches, turkey soup and mashed potato pancakes, either — though those all have their place, certainly. These are meals that share the common bond of being made from Thanksgiving leftovers, but are something else entirely. They’re meals you won’t mind eating after you’re done with your turkey dinner sandwich, and that won’t make you want to throw your foil-covered container of sliced white meat at the next person who asks you what’s for dinner and to please not say turkey. And, best of all, when you’ve recently spent an entire day or more in preparation for a single meal, they’re fast and easy to make.
Incidentally, if you haven’t discovered brining your turkey yet, I highly recommend it. I loosely followed Alton Brown’s brine method, making a few tweaks here and there based on what I had in my kitchen, and the result was an incredibly juicy turkey. Even a couple of days later, the white meat in my fridge was still moist and flavorful. If your bird has dried out in the fridge, though, don’t worry. These recipes will breathe new life into those leftovers.
Cranberry Turkey Quesadillas
- 1 cup leftover cranberry sauce
- 2 cups chopped leftover turkey
- 1 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons hot sauce (more or less according to your tastes)
- 1 bag shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- 2 scallions, chopped.
- your favorite wheat tortillas
In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt cranberry sauce down. Add garlic powder, cinnamon and hot sauce and combine well. Add turkey and cook until heated through. In another, dry, hot skillet, place a tortilla. Sprinkle liberally with cheese over whole surface. Scoop about 1/3 cup of the turkey mixture onto one half of the tortilla and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and fold in half. Cook until browned on both sides and cheese is thoroughly melted. Cut into wedges to serve. (Dip them in sriracha or your favorite hot sauce for an extra kick.)
Squash & Turkey Curry
- 1-2 cups leftover mashed squash (or use a can of squash puree if your family polished it off already)
- 2 cans diced potatoes
- 1 can sliced carrots
- 1 can peas
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/3 cup Madras curry powder
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce (adjust to your own taste, of course)
- 1 cup cranberry sauce
- 2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
In a saucepan on the stove, combine squash, coconut milk and stock; add curry powder and ginger. Stir well. Drain potatoes, carrots and peas and add to the pan along with turkey. Cook until heated through, then stir in cranberry sauce until it melts. Serve over rice (or leftover mashed potatoes.) I opted for canned veggies to make this a fast, tasty dish you can easily throw together while still recovering from spending a day cooking and having a house full of relatives; you could absolutely substitute frozen carrots and peas, and feel free to add any leftover veggies you have in the fridge as well.
Turkey & Potato Empanadas
- 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes (with or without gravy)
- 2 cups leftover turkey, shredded (I used the food processor)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
- 1 package puff pastry (or use up leftover pie crust dough)
- 1 egg, beaten with water for egg wash
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine potatoes, turkey and spices. Divide thawed puff pastry into 6-8 portions and top each portion with a scoop of turkey filling. Place on a cookie sheet, fold dough over filling, and press edges with a fork to seal. Brush with egg wash, and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
For more recipes from my kitchen to yours, please visit http://www.forkable.net.