Sunday, November 22, 2009

What to do with Turkey Leftovers!

Sixteen ways to use leftover turkey!

Edited from 2008

At our house, turkey is far more then a holiday tradition! Buying a large turkey has been one of my favorite ways to stretch our grocery dollars. I've written more about it here and shared an easy way to roast turkey here.

But if you have no way to use up the leftovers, a large turkey is not a good deal. I am sharing my favorite ways to use leftover turkey. I usually put turkey leftovers in pint boxes or bags for use in these recipes. When I my leftovers are gone, it is time to roast another turkey!

You'll notice most of these recipes are originally for chicken, but I find that roasting a large turkey is much cheaper and simpler way to prepare these recipes! Having cooked chopped turkey in the freezer is my life line to fast home cooked meals! I usually only buy chicken for grilling or for recipe that I want whole chicken breasts.

Chicken and Biscuits

2 cup cooked, chopped chicken (or turkey)
1 cup frozen or cooked vegetables (corn, peas, carrots)
Place chicken and vegetables in 2 qt casserole
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 c water
Melt butter in pan, add flour, salt and pepper. Stir to blend, lightly brown. Add water. Stir and simmer a few minutes. Pour gravy over chicken and veggies.

1 1/2 cup flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course meal. Combine egg and milk. Stir into flour mixture. Drop by spoon-full over chicken and vegetables.
Bake 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe brings back memories of a former life as a traveling single when I'd beg Rachel to make this! And she usually complied!

2 T butter
2 chopped onions
2 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chilies (drained)
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, cut up
3-4 cup cooked cubed chicken (or turkey)
16 (8 inch) tortillas
2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup milk or cream

Melt butter in skillet, saute onion for 5 minutes. Add chilies, saute 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, add chicken. Cook, stirring constantly until the cream cheese melts. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of mixture in center of tortilla, roll and place, seam side down, in a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Drizzle with milk. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Chicken Lasagna

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cup sour cream
2-3 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
Combine all of above. ( I use a large batch of homemade cream soup.)
12 lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded cheese
Parmesan cheese

In greased 9x13 pan, layer noodles, soup mixture and cheeses. Repeat for three layers. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, covered.

Favorite Chicken Casserole

8 oz seasoned bread cubes
1 stick butter
1 cup broth
Mix together lightly. Place half of mix in a 9x13 greased pan.
2-3 cup cooked chopped chicken
1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup cooked chopped vegetables (brocolli, beans, carrots, etc)
Mix. and place over bread. Top with remaining bread.
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
Beat eggs and milk. Pour over casserole. Cover with foil and refrigerate over night. (May also freeze.)
1 can cream of chicken soup
Spread soup over top of casserole. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes, uncovered. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded cheese and return to oven for 10 minutes.


1 lb spaghetti, cooked
3-4 cup diced cooked chicken
2 can mushroom soup (or large batch of homemade soup)
2 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 diced onion
3/4 cup cheese
Mix all together. Place in 9x13 baking dish. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Chicken Rice Soup

Comfort food at it's best! And a recipe from one of my favorite Titus 2 ladies - Priscilla. Besides my mom and mother-in-law, Priscilla is the lady I most want to be like "when I grow up"!

3 quarts chicken broth
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced onion
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 pint corn
1 cup brown rice
seasoning as desired (I use salt, parsley and thyme)

Place in large kettle. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
(May also be made in crock pot.)

Southwestern Chicken Soup

1 quart broth
3 cup cooked chopped chicken
2 cup corn
1 quart tomato juice
1 pint diced tomatoes
1 chopped onion
2 chopped garlic cloves (optional)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 cup brown rice

Combine in slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours. (Or simmer on stove for 1 hour)

Chicken and Dumplings

I love quick one-pot meals!

4 cup broth
2 cup diced cooked chicken
1 can cream celery soup (or homemade soup)
vegetables as desired (peas, corn, carrots, etc)
Mix together in large pot or dutch oven. Bring to boil
3 1/2 cup baking mix (like Bisquik)
2/3 cup water
herbs (like parsley) if desired

Mix baking mix, water, and herbs. Drop dough by spoonfulls into slowly boiling pot. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer.
You could also use your favorite biscuit recipe for the dumplings.

Turkey Quesadillas

Fast, easy, and so good!

4 (10 inch) tortillas
1 cup refried beans (optional)
1 cup shredded cheese - cheddar or Monterrey Jack
1/3 cup salsa
1 cup diced cooked turkey
olives, peppers or any other desired ingredients

Place two tortillas on baking sheet. Spread with refried beans. Mix cheese, salsa, turkey and any other ingredients together. Spread on tortillas. Top with second tortilla. Press firmly. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Cut in 6 to 8 wedges. Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole.

Chicken, Broccoli, Rice Casserole

1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced onion
1/3 cup butter
Saute vegetables in butter.
1 1/2 heads broccoli, chopped
1 cup rice
1 cup cheese
1 can cream soup
2 cups water
2-3 cups cooked chopped chicken
Mix all together. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Freeze Ahead Turkey Pot Pies

This is adapted from my mother-in-laws recipe, and probably the reason my husband loves turkey pie so much! She would make the small individual size pies. She didn't make a bottom crust for the pie, only spreading pastry over the top of the pies. Great memories were made by the boys of surviving on pie when mom and dad were away!

Pastry for 6 or more pies
12 cups cooked diced turkey
6 cup diced potatoes
4 cup corn
3 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion
1 cup diced celery (optional)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp pepper
5 tsp salt
3 cup milk
5 cup broth

Cook potatoes and carrots until tender. Saute onion and celery in butter. Stir in flour, pepper, and salt. Gradually add milk and broth. Stir until thickened. Stir in potatoes, carrots, corn and turkey. Pour into prepared pie crusts. Top with crust. Cut steam vents. Crimp edges. Wrap securely and freeze. Makes 6-7 pies. Bake 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hour (or less)

For a smaller recipe for making turkey pie, go here!

More turkey ideas:
Curry in a Hurry - mentioned in my cream soup recipe
Turkey Salad - Mix chopped turkey with mayonnaise and pickle relish
Turkey and Filling - posted with the filling recipe
Turkey Melts - Spread bread (hopefully something crusty and homemade) with mayo or mustard, layer slices of turkey and some Provolone cheese, toast under broiler

And one more recipe from a reader!
Turkey Croquettes - Joanna

2 T. butter
2 1/2 T. flour
1 cup milk
2 cups minced cooked turkey
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 T. minced parsley or celery
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup dried bread crumbs

Make a white sauce of the butter, flour and milk. Add the finely chopped turkey and seasonings.
Cool thoroughly and then shape into croquettes (approx. 1/4-1/3 cup each).
Dip in crumbs, then beaten eggs and again into crumbs. (This part is messy, but you could freeze before doing this step to eliminate that, and then let thaw before baking.)
Fry in oil for 3-5 minutes.  I prefer baking them at 400* for 25-30 min. Serves 6. 
Now you may understand why I love leftover turkey!


  1. Fabulous! How did you know that I was looking for some new recipes for these winter months?
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great recipes, will be trying some of them. Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. quick question........I know you don't buy roasting chickens but for those of us who do, do you think the same turkey roasting instructions would work for chicken?

  4. You are making me hungry! :) You've posted some awesome looking recipes.

  5. Carolyn - I do occasionally buy roasting chickens. This method works well for chickens as well. I use my crockpot. Perfect size for doing a chicken on low heat!

  6. Got a turkey today to make your chicken corn soup for canning. :) Also got a roast for the beef one to but will do it a little later. Thank you so much for sharing AND for visiting my blog! :)

  7. My leftovers always go home with my family after dinner.

  8. I salvage as much as I possibly can from a turkey! After removing all the meat I toss the whole of the bones in a pot of water, onion, salt, celery, peppercorn, carrots, and bay leaf and start broth. After a few hours, strain everything off and remove any remaining meat for soup and toss all the bones back in. Reserve some broth for a pot of soup using the meat and veggies. Continue simmering the bones in broth for several hours to make a good bone broth. I usually just let it continue in a crock pot over night and then can it in pint jars the next day.


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