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Recipes to Make with Leftover Chicken or Turkey: Simple, Quick, and Delicious!

Updated on August 30, 2013

recipes for leftovers

What to do with leftover chicken after a big Sunday dinner? Or what about all that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and Christmas? I don’t know how things are at your house, but we don’t waste anything! I'm frugal when it comes to the kitchen budget, and I love saving money on cooking. When we have leftover food, we either eat it the next day or so, or it goes into the freezer for a later date. I’ve gotten pretty darn creative with leftovers, out of necessity, and most of these meals are quick and easy. Below are a few of the ways I make use of leftover poultry:

Salads: Finely dice the chicken or turkey and mix it with enough mayonnaise to hold it together. Add chopped pecans or walnuts, diced celery, chopped apples, and/or dried cranberries. Add your favorite seasonings. This is an especially attractive dish when served on a large tomato that has been cut in wedges almost to the bottom. Just “open” the tomato and place a scoop of the salad in it.

Divan: This is one of our favorite meals! Chop the poultry into large chunks and place in the bottom of a casserole dish. Cook a package of frozen broccoli just until tender, and arrange it on top of the chicken or turkey. In a bowl, mix together one can cream of chicken soup, one cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and one cup of mayonnaise. Spread the mixture over the broccoli and poultry. Top with finely crushed Ritz crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. Serve with rice. Yummy!

Chicken or turkey casserole: Dice the poultry and place it in a large bowl. Add chopped celery, diced green onions, and diced water chestnuts. Mix with mayonnaise and place in a pyrex dish. Top with crushed potato chips and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Barbecue: Shred the poultry with your fingers or with two forks. Add barbecue sauce and heat in the microwave. Serve on warm buns.

Chicken or turkey pie: Dice poultry and place it in a bowl. Add one can of Veg-all, drained. Add one can of cream of chicken soup. Mix well and pour into a ready-made pie crust. With another crust, make lattice strips and place on top of the pie mixture. Bake at 400 degrees until crust is brown.

Chicken and dumplings: Boil frozen strips of dumplings in canned chicken broth. I like the Open Kettle brand. When they’re done, add chunks or strips of chicken or turkey. Season with salt, pepper, and a little poultry seasoning.

Fajitas: Cut turkey or chicken into strips. Place in a microwave bowl with a little water and an envelope of fajita seasoning mix. Zap until hot. Sauté strips of bell pepper and onions in vegetable oil until just tender. Serve on warm flour tortillas with taco sauce, shredded cheese, and sour cream.

Chicken or turkey and dressing: Prepare packaged stuffing mix, like Stove Top, for example. Place it in a large bowl. Microwave ½ cup of onions and ½ cup of diced celery in ¼ cup butter until soft. Add to the stuffing. Dice or chunk the chicken or turkey and add to the mix. Add one beaten egg and canned chicken broth. The mixture should be a little soupy. Place in a buttered pyrex dish and bake at 350 degrees until top browns – about 30 minutes.

Appetizer ball: Finely dice chicken or turkey. Mix with two packages softened cream cheese, chopped green onions, chopped pecans or walnuts, and one envelope ranch dressing mix. Blend together well and shape into a ball. Refrigerate for several hours, wrapped with plastic cling wrap. Serve with crackers or bagel chips.

Chicken or turkey-vegetable soup: Dice the chicken or turkey and add to canned chicken broth in a large cooking pot. Add a can of Veg-all, or use frozen soup vegetables. Add cooked or raw rice. Season with garlic salt, pepper, and a little poultry seasoning. Cover and cook until rice is done.

Note: You can use any type of turkey or chicken in these recipes. My mom told me that leftover fried chicken wouldn’t work for chicken salad, but I made a believer of her! I made some one day while she was visiting, and she said it was the best chicken salad she’d ever had! Just be sure to remove all the skin and crust.

Also, if you want to freeze leftover chicken or turkey, go ahead and dice it. Pat it dry and place it in zip-loc freezer bags. Make sure to remove the air to avoid freezer burn.

Whatcha gonna do with all that leftover turkey?
Whatcha gonna do with all that leftover turkey?


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    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Great habee. Yes, I know what you mean about being frugal. I only buy things which have long off future expiration dates so I don't have to worry about them going rotten.

      Voted 'useful'


    • profile image

      jose 6 years ago

      I looked up A recipe for buffalo chicken salads using leftover chicken and came up with this crap!

    • camdjohnston12 profile image

      camdjohnston12 6 years ago

      Super duper great tips here!

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 6 years ago from USA

      The appetizer ball sounds delicious. I would especially like to try making that. Thanks for sharing your ideas habee!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Welcome, Jen! Thanks for reading!

    • JenDobson27 profile image

      JenDobson27 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Habee! I absolutely love leftovers, and I think I will love them even more now that I have more ways to prepare them!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Good, Karen! Ironically we had very little left! That's the problem with fried turkey! lol

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 8 years ago from Central Oregon

      Thanks Habee - I was looking for something different to do with all that left over turkey from Christmas dinner.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Bo! Glad you stopped by.

    • bojanglesk8 profile image

      bojanglesk8 8 years ago

      Nice hub.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, TamCor! I'm so glad you liked it!

    • TamCor profile image

      Tammy Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      habee--Just wanted to tell you that I bookmarked this hub last week, but forgot to leave a comment!

      Anyway--I made your divan tonight and it was a HIT with Tom(my husband), and my son and I! I didn't have any leftover chicken, so I just fixed some chicken breasts and used them, but wow--it was wonderful!

      Thanks for posting these recipes--I am always looking for new ones to fix for my guys!!!! :)

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Good! Thanks for visiting, Charlie!

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      Yer makin me hungry.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Nemi! Try the divan - it is yummy!

    • Nemingha profile image

      Nemingha 8 years ago

      You have some great ideas here, thanks.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks,FF! I'll check it out!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      I don't care what you do with leftover chicken or turkey, looking at that turkey, (looks yummy),I want to jump through the computer and devour it, LOL! Did you make that? Really though, thanks for the tips. Oh by the way I have a turkey recipe that guarantees you'll not have leftovers. I hub it.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, pals! BTW, Hammer, I mentioned you on a post tonight!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Another Great Hub Habee! Great Stuff for "Black Friday"!!!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Super tips for the left over. thank you.