Make It Tasty, Not Complicated

3 things to do with leftover turkey

By Allison Rebenack, Macaroni EATS Editor November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving leftovers can be a blessing or a curse.  On the one hand, a late-night turkey sandwich can be a well-anticipated tradition.  On the other, eating turkey for a week can be a monotonous, culinary nightmare. 

One way to lessen the risk of the latter is to create dishes that don't resemble the glory of the traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Try out these ideas to convert leftover nightmare into three dreamy meals.

Sesame Turkey & Cashew Salad:

Toss cut up leftover turkey with 3 stalks of celery sliced on a bias, 2 green onions sliced on a bias, half of a seedless cucumber halved and then sliced on a bias, 1/2 cup cashews, 2 tsp sesame oil, 2 to 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp rice or white vinegar and a healthy sprinkle of sesame seeds.  Serve with jasmine or basmati rice for a filling meal.

Depending on how much turkey is in the salad, play around with the other ingredient amounts until you find a balance that suits you.  Vietnamese red chili sauce can be added to spice it up!

Not Your Mom's Turkey Tetrazzini:

Cook 1 lb of egg noodles according to directions and set aside.  Saute an 8 oz pack of sliced mushrooms with 1 diced shallot in 2 tsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in a stock pot or dutch oven.  After 6 to 8 minutes, sprinkle mixture with 3 tbsp flour and stir constantly for about a minute to cook the flour.  Gradually whisk in 2 cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of milk.  Whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup parmesan cheese.  Add 4 to 5 cups of chopped turkey and egg noodles to the mixture.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a greased baking dish.  Combine 1 cup of parmesan with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and sprinkle on top of noodle turkey mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. 

Easy Turkey Empanadas:

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a skillet and add 1 glove of minced garlic, 2 tbsp finely chopped onion and 1/2 cup of finely diced turkey.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Pour in 1/4 cup white wine or beer to the skillet and simmer for several minutes.  Mix in 1/2 cup leftover mashed potatoes.  Season with 1 tsp smoked or regular paprika, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp ground pepper.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Open a 10 count pack of refrigerated biscuit dough and flatten out the the dough rounds with a rolling pin.  Divide the turkey mixture between the dough rounds and fold them over to create half moons.  Crimp edges with a fork.  Place empanadas on a greased baking sheet.  Place in a 350 degree oven and back for 12 to 15 minutes or until dough is a dark golden brown.  Serve with a dip made of 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream, 1 tbsp mayonnaise, pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp chili powder and a splash of lemon juice.

Recipes by Allison Rebenack, MK EATS