What to do with your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Rita DeMontis, National Food Editor, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:11 PM ET

Thanksgiving means many things to many people - family, fellowship, dinner guests - and eating enough to fill your stretch pants!

And in many families it also means - turkey leftovers. Let's face it, after the dishes are cleared and everyone's satiated, that leftover turkey is just screaming for some immediate attention.

And the last thing you want to hear is - leftovers, again?

Why not? A cooked turkey freezes well up to three months, especially when frozen straight off the bone, so you know that turkey's going to be pitch-hitting for a fast and nutritious dinner any time you need it. "One of the best things about Thanksgiving is all the delicious leftovers - including turkey," notes the fabulous Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook (Wiley). "There's so much more to enjoy the next day."

Leftover turkey is perfect in soups, stews, sandwiches and even snacks. And even the turkey carcass comes in handy; the bones are perfect as a base for a good, soothing broth, something we all can appreciate in the coming cold months ahead.

So love your leftovers and feast at will. Here is a sampling of some terrific recipes that'll have your loving your leftovers well after Thanksgiving has come and gone.

TURKEY VEGETABLE SOUP

Tuck leftover turkey in the freezer and in the deep of winter-yet-to-come, pull it out and make this delectable soup. From the Ontario Turkey Producers' Marketing Board.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. (15ml) oil
  • 1 cooking onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cups (500ml) cooked turkey, cut into strips
  • 4 cups (1L) turkey or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) each fresh or frozen green beans, carrots, broccoli, lima beans, corn, zucchini, for a total of 3 cups
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) pearl barley
  • 1/2 tsp. (2ml) each thyme and oregano
  • 2 tbsp. (30ml) fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large soup pot, heat oil and add onions and celery. Cook until onion is soft. Add turkey strips and saute until no longer pink.

Stir in turkey stock, all vegetables, barley, thyme and oregano. Simmer 10 to 12 minutes until vegetables are tender crisp. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6.

TIP: Instead of barley, add 1 cup (250ml) of cooked rice or pasta.

PEANUT-CRUSTED TURKEY SANDWICHES

Here's a snappy new twist on the classic turkey and avocado sandwich. Whip these up using leftover Thanksgiving turkey. From the Peanut Bureau of Canada.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) butter
  • 8 slices raisin bread
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup (175ml) peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) apricot jam
  • 2 tsp. (10ml) honey mustard
  • 4 slices cooked turkey
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 slices avocado

Directions:

Melt butter in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over low heat. Dip one side of each bread slice into egg and then into peanuts, coating well; place in skillet coated side down. (You'll need to cook bread in batches.) Cook over low heat until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Blend apricot jam with honey mustard; spread on uncoated side of grilled bread slices. Arrange turkey, tomato and avocado on 4 bread slices. Top with remaining bread slices jam mixture down. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.


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