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Quick and Easy Recipes Using Leftover Turkey or Chicken

Updated on August 5, 2015

Leftover Turkey Carcass

Cooking a whole bird is relatively easy and can also be quite a cheap option. You can buy whole birds, albeit a chicken or a turkey (the chicken option is much cheaper) and cook a roast dinner for the whole family then use the rest of it for making further recipes during the week.

If you do cook a whole chicken or turkey then there is often a good deal of meat left on the carcass that can easily be used to make other dishes for later in the week. You could even buy a bigger bird than you might normally do so that you can make these extra meals in addition to the roast with the chicken or turkey itself. Often the best way to get the rest of the meat off the bones is to boil it up in a big pan for around 30-40 minutes which will make the meat fall off the bone and will also give you some stock to use to make these dishes.

You could also break up the carcass and put it in the slow cooker overnight with some water to get the meat off the bones and to make your own stock.

Thai Chicken Curry

Since I went to Thailand a few years ago I have been a big fan of Thai curries. However, I generally do not eat very spicy food so I don’t make my Thai curry very hot – it is really the flavours that I like to come through. My recipe is a bit of a cheat but it is very quick and easy.


  • Left over Chicken or Turkey, chopped up into cubes
  • Thai red or green curry paste (you can get it in a jar from most supermarkets)
  • Tin of coconut milk or cream
  • Chopped green beans

You can also add your own choice of other ingredients like baby corn, onion, chopped peppers, mushrooms etc but I like to keep it simple and easy.

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a pan and then add the chicken and about 2 teaspoons of the curry paste. The amount of curry paste you add depends on how spicy you want it and how much chicken you have but 2 teaspoons is fine if you are cooking enough say for 2 people.

Add about half the tin of coconut milk or cream and once it is simmering add in the green beans, These don’t need to be in too long as they add another texture if they are reasonably crunchy. Simmer the whole lot together for around 5 minutes so that the chicken is completely heated through and serve with rice.  

Stock cubes are always a useful addition to using left overs.
Stock cubes are always a useful addition to using left overs.

Chicken Risotto

This is slightly more complex than the curry but a very tasty recipe and worth a go!


  • Cubed chicken or turkey
  • Chopped onion
  • 1 chopped clove of garlic (or more if you like!)
  • Chicken stock
  • Rice
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Frozen peas and sweetcorn
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Handful of sultanas

Fry the chopped onion and garlic in a few tablespoons of oil. Add the rice to this (about 2 large handfuls per person) and keep stirring for a few minutes so that the rice soaks up some of the oil. Add in the tin of chopped tomatoes (large tin for 2 or more people) and stir for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock (about ¾ of a pint for each 4 handfuls of rice) and the sliced mushrooms. Simmer for about 20 minutes so that the rice soaks up the stock. Add more stock if the rice starts drying out. Add the cubed chicken, a large handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn and the sultanas and simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper to taste and maybe a dash of Tabasco if you want a bit of a kick.

Chicken, (Bacon) and Mushroom Pasta

This is another of my favourite recipes using leftover chicken and is pretty simple.

  • Cubed chicken
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped bacon (optional)
  • Chicken stock
  • Tablespoon of flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Single cream
  • Pasta


Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet!

Fry the onion, garlic, bacon and mushrooms in some butter and/or olive oil. When cooked, add salt and pepper and about a tablespoon of flour and allow it to soak up the fat and juices. Add the chicken and the stock (about half a pint) and allow to simmer for around 10 minutes. Add the cream to taste and allow to heat through. Pour on top of the pasta and there you have it!


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