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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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