8 Easy Recipes to Transform Your Turkey Leftovers

8 Easy Recipes to Transform Your Turkey Leftovers

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Kelli Foster
Nov 24, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn's easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.

Thanksgiving leftovers always seem exciting, until a couple of days later when it feels like you can't possibly eat another turkey sandwich. Whether you cooked this year's feast or were a guest blessed with leftovers, we want to help you take those turkey scraps and reinvent them into fresh, new meals.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

8 Snapshot Recipes for Your Turkey Leftovers

  • The turkey: Each recipe calls for anywhere from 1/2 to 2 cups of cooked turkey. Use white meat, dark meat, or a combination of the two — it's totally up to you. We've made suggestions on using chopped, shredded, or sliced turkey, but they're interchangeable. Not everyone's leftovers will look the same, and these recipes will work with whatever cut of turkey you've got.
  • The other ingredients: Let's start by assuming you already have the basics like cooking oil, butter, salt, and pepper in your kitchen. To keep things as simple as can be, each of these recipes uses turkey, the aforementioned pantry basics, and five more ingredients, max — many of which are also Thanksgiving leftovers.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Turkey and Cranberry Quesadillas

Place a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add a flour tortilla and top with 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese. Add 1/2 cup turkey (sliced or shredded), 1/4 cup cranberry sauce, and a handful of sliced scallions over one half of the tortilla. Once the cheese is melted, fold the tortilla in half with a spatula.

Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Easy Ginger Turkey Stir-Fry

Whisk together 1/4 cup turkey or chicken broth, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok or large, straight-sided skillet over high until shimmering. Add 2 cups chopped turkey, 3 cups leftover vegetables, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger. Stir-fry for 1 minute, stirring and shaking the pan constantly.

Re-whisk, then pour in the stir-fry sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and stir-fry until the sauce thickens slightly and coats the turkey and vegetables, about 1 minute more. Serve immediately.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Turkey and Orzo Skillet

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium. Add 1 cup dried orzo, 2 cloves minced garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup chopped turkey, 2 cups leftover vegetables (such as roasted sweet potatoes, green beans, leafy greens, or Brussels sprouts), and 2 1/2 cups turkey broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the pasta is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and serve.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

BBQ Turkey Pizza

Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat to 450°F.

Lightly grease a rolling pin with olive oil. Roll out 1 pound pizza dough to fit a standard 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, then use your fingers to gently press the dough into the corners of the pan.

Spread 1/2 cup BBQ sauce onto the dough in a thin layer. Top with 2 cups low-moisture shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 cup chopped turkey and 1/2 thinly sliced small red onion.

Bake until the edges are golden-brown and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Turkey Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Spread 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard on both sides of a roll (or bread). Top with 1/2 cup sliced turkey and 1/4 cup grated Gruyère.

Beat 1 egg and 1/4 cup milk in a shallow bowl. Dip the sandwich in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides.

Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a nonstick frying pan or skillet and swirl to coat. Add the sandwich to the pan and cook until the bottom is browned, about 2 minutes. Flip the sandwich with a spatula and cook the other side until browned, about 2 minutes more. Serve warm.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Turkey Skillet Pot Pie

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a 9- or 10-inch cast iron skillet. Whisk in 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour until dissolved. Pour in 2 cups turkey or chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup whole milk, and season with salt and pepper.

Add 2 cups chopped turkey and 2 cups leftover vegetables (such as roasted green beans, Brussels sprouts, corn, or carrots; or use frozen vegetables) to the skillet and stir to combine. Unfold 1 store-bought pie crust, place over top of the filling, and tuck the edges inside the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut 4 slits in the top of the crust to vent. Bake until the crust is golden-brown, about 20 minutes.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Turkey and Greens Frittata

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F.

Whisk 10 large eggs, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low until shimmering. Add 1 cup turkey and 1 cup leftover leafy greens and stir to coat with the oil. Top with 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar. Pour the egg mixture over the turkey, greens, and cheese. Tilt the pan to make sure the eggs settle evenly over the vegetables. Cook, undisturbed, until the eggs at the edges of the pan begin to set, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the eggs are completely set, 8 to 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Creamy Turkey Pasta Bake

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F.

Add 1 pound cooked penne or rigatoni, 2 cups shredded turkey, 2 cups leftover leafy greens, 16 ounces cottage cheese, 4 ounces cubed cream cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a 9x13-inch baking dish and mix together. Top with 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs.

Bake until bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 25 minutes.

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