Today we delve into the art of how to Transform Your Thanksgiving Leftovers: 6 Creative Ways to Use Leftover Turkey!
We all know the feeling – as the festive season winds down, we sometimes find ourselves with a fridge full of leftovers.
Fear not, I’m here to transform your leftover turkey into culinary delights. Moreover, these unique and easy recipe ideas will not only save your leftovers from going to waste but will also bring new flavors to your table..
The first thing I do is separate the meat from the turkey bones. Instructions on how to save them are below.
If you like to make soup or bone broth this is for you. YUMM!
Once everything is separated, I usually make a Turkey and Veggie Soup. Typically, we end up with leftovers from the soup as well. However, don’t worry… You can make other scrumptious delights with the leftover soup.
Savvy Storage – How to Save and Freeze Turkey Bones for Broth and Soups
Maximize Your Leftovers: Saving Turkey Bones for Future Use
Don’t let those turkey bones go to waste!
Indeed, they are a hidden treasure for making rich, flavorful broths and soups later on. Here’s a simple guide on how to save and freeze turkey bones, ensuring you get the most out of your Thanksgiving feast.
Step-by-Step Guide to Saving Turkey Bones
- Gather and Clean: After your meal, gather all the turkey bones. If you want, remove as much meat as possible (to use in the below-mentioned recipe ideas) and quickly rinse the bones to eliminate any excess seasoning. I personally just leave them. I find that I like the season from them already to add to the next dish.
- Dry and Arrange: Pat the bones dry. Arrange the bones on a baking sheet in a single layer to ensure they are not overcrowded. This helps in freezing them evenly.
- Flash Freeze: Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour. This process, known as flash freezing, prevents the bones from sticking together, making it easier to use only the amount you need later on.
- Bag and Label: Once the bones are frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. Squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Don’t forget to label the bag with the date, so you know how long they’ve been stored.
- Freeze and Store: Place the bag back in the freezer. The bones can be stored for up to 6 months, ensuring you have a base for soups and broths long after the holiday season.
Using Frozen Turkey Bones from your Leftover Turkey
When you’re ready to make broth, there’s no need to thaw the bones. Simply take the desired amount from the freezer and add them directly to your pot. Cover with water, add your choice of vegetables and seasonings, and simmer away. The result is a homemade broth that’s not only economical but packed with flavor and nutrition.
By saving and freezing your turkey bones, you’re not just minimizing waste; you’re setting the stage for future culinary creations and healthy meals.
Homemade turkey broth is a versatile ingredient that can enhance the flavor of numerous dishes, from soups to risottos. So, next time you find yourself with leftover bones, remember this simple yet effective method.
Happy cooking and savvy storing!
Let’s dive into these 6 Creative Ways to Use Leftover Turkey!
1. Turkey Soup Pasta Bake
Revitalize your leftover turkey soup with a twist by turning it into a delectable pasta bake.
This dish is the perfect blend of comfort and innovation. Just cook your favorite pasta, mix it with the thickened turkey soup, toss in some diced cucumber for a refreshing crunch, and top it all off with a generous layer of cheese. Bake until it’s bubbly and golden – a true post-Thanksgiving treat!
2. Rice and Turkey Stuffed Peppers
Looking for a healthy yet satisfying meal? Try our Rice and Turkey Stuffed Peppers. Mix cooked rice with shredded turkey from your leftovers, add diced cucumbers, and stuff this flavorful mixture into bell peppers. Bake and enjoy a colorful, nutritious meal that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.
3. Cold Turkey and Cucumber Pasta Salad
Transform your leftovers into a light and refreshing Cold Turkey and Cucumber Pasta Salad. Perfect for a quick lunch or a side dish, this salad combines cooked pasta, shredded turkey, and sliced cucumber with your choice of dressing. It’s a versatile dish that allows you to get creative with additional ingredients like cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, or fresh herbs.
4. Turkey Fried Rice
Give an Asian twist to your leftovers with our easy-to-make Turkey Fried Rice. Sauté onions, garlic, and cucumbers, then add cooked rice and turkey. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil, and finish with a scramble of eggs. It’s a flavorful dish that brings a whole new life to your turkey leftovers.
5. Turkey and Cucumber Risotto
For those who love a culinary challenge, try making a creamy Turkey and Cucumber Risotto. Use the broth from your turkey soup to cook the risotto, adding in shredded turkey and cucumber slices towards the end. This dish is a delightful combination of rich flavors and creamy texture, guaranteed to impress your guests.
6. Turkey and Cucumber Noodle Bowl
Lastly, our Turkey and Cucumber Noodle Bowl is perfect for a quick and easy meal. Top noodles with shredded turkey, cucumber slices, and a zesty dressing made from soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds for a dish that’s both flavorful and visually appealing.
Once our Turkey Soup was almost gone I created a YUMMY Turkey Rice Casserole with it.
Leftover Turkey Rice Casserole I created with a few changes…
▢1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
▢3 cups white long grain rice (cooked basmati or jasmine – not Minute Rice)
▢3 cups turkey (or chicken meat – pulled or cubed)
▢12 oz broccoli florets (roughly between 4-5 cups of florets, or 1-2 heads of fresh broccoli)
▢10.5 oz cream of chicken soup
▢½ cup sour cream
▢2 cups chicken broth or turkey stock
▢½ cup milk
▢1 ½ cups cheddar cheese (grated)
▢½ teaspoon garlic powder
▢each, salt & pepper (to taste)
▢⅔ cup Panko breadcrumbs (or plain breadcrumbs)
▢3 tablespoon butter (melted)
▢2 tablespoon parsley (optional – chopped, fresh)
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease your 9×13 baking dish with olive oil.
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a large mixing bowl combine the PRE-cooked rice with chopped turkey, steamed broccoli, cream of chicken condensed soup, sour cream, broth, milk, cheese, and seasoning (garlic powder, salt & pepper).
Transfer the mixture into your prepared baking dish.
- 3 cups white long grain rice (I used…Jasmine rice) Pre-cooked
- 3 cups turkey, (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 oz broccoli florets (1 cup frozen broccoli and cut up)
- 10.5 oz cream of chicken soup
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 cups chicken broth or turkey stock (1 cup chicken broth with 1 cup of the Leftover Turkey Soup)
- ½ cup milk (1/2 cup Lactaid)
- 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon each garlic powder, salt & pepper
(* I added a layer of chopped green onions (3 stalks) to top. Then a layer of cheddar cheese over the onions.)
Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl (Panko breadcrumbs, melted butter, chopped parsley) and mix until coated with the butter and crumbly in appearance. Sprinkle over the casserole.
- ⅔ cup Panko breadcrumbs (about 1 cup)
- 1 tbsp butter (3 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp parsley (1/4 cup)
Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 30-35 minutes, or until golden on top and bubbling around the edges. Remove from the oven and serve.
I had enough for our dinner and I stored two more dinners in the freezer.
This Leftover Turkey Rice Casserole was a HIT for everyone in my family! Thank you Bake With Love for your lovely recipes! Be sure to visit them for your next meal idea. ♥
Leftovers don’t have to be boring. With these six creative ideas, you can turn your post-Thanksgiving turkey into exciting new dishes. These ideas are not just about saving food; they’re about celebrating flavors and bringing joy to your meals.
So, get creative in the kitchen and let your leftovers shine!
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