Recipes For Leftover Turkey
Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner and here in the US the majority of homes cook a big turkey for the holiday. If you are like me, you look forward to having lots of leftovers. For some this might be the only time they like to eat leftovers. Some people might even prefer the leftovers over the original meal.
It just makes sense that when you spend a lot of money on a meal, go to a lot of trouble and spend a lot of time cooking, you are hoping for leftovers. So you at least can get a few nights off from cooking later in the weekend. For me, I don't have to worry about my menu the week after Thanksgiving, it will all revolve around turkey and I can't wait!
When we are done with Thanksgiving dinner I start putting away the leftovers. When it comes to the turkey, now is the time to divide it up for future meals. It doesn't take much time to do it right away. If you have company though and don't want to tackle it that day, just wrap your turkey up and stick it in the fridge. Just make sure to take care of it the next day.
The first step is to take all the meat off the bones. Once the bones are picked almost clean put them into a big stockpot of water. This should make a lot of turkey broth, which you can use just like chicken broth. To this water I always adds onion peels, celery leaves, a carrot, 2 tablespoons of vinegar (this leeches the calcium out of the bones), and whatever seasonings sound good at the time. Thyme, salt and pepper are my favorites. You need to bring this to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about two hours. While this is simmering you can divide up the rest of the meat. When the broth is done, remove the bones and then strain the broth into 2 cup containers, label and freeze.
I always pull out the nicer breast pieces to have for turkey sandwiches and also as a complete recreation of the Thanksgiving meal, usually on Saturday night. All dark meat that is leftover gets chopped up with onion, celery and mayonnaise for turkey salad sandwiches. You could always freeze this meat whole and pull it out in a week or two and make the turkey salad then. My husband loves turkey melts - turkey salad on toasted bread with cheese melted over it.
Other leftover meals that I like to have in the weeks after Thanksgiving are quesadillas with turkey, Colby Jack cheese and broccoli, a casserole with noodles, turkey, green onions, peas and a cheese sauce, turkey pot pie, and my favorite - turkey noodle soup. Here is a link to a recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup, the turkey and turkey broth are easily substituted for the chicken. All of these meals require chopped turkey. I like to chop up the turkey and freeze it in meal size portions. Then it is ready to use when you want it.
For turkey casserole I make a cheese sauce by melting a 1/4 cup of butter, mixing it with a 1/4 cup of flour along with 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. When this is melted and mixed together I add 2 cups of milk and heat to boil over medium. When it is heated I add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and heat until smooth. I pour this sauce over 1 pound of noodles (prepared as the package directs), 1/2 bag of frozen peas, 1 cup of chopped turkey and 1/2 cup of chopped green onions. When everything is mixed together I cook at 350 for 30 - 45 minutes. You can top this with more shredded cheese during the last few minutes of baking if you want to. I always assume the more cheese the better.
You don't have to eat all the turkey right away. Spreading it out and planning to use it over the weeks following Thanksgiving is a great way to use everything without getting tired of it as well as saving money on future meals. So this Thanksgiving, use up all of your turkey, right down to the bones!