Turkey, turkey everywhere - now what?
Johanna Hicks | Hopkins County Extension Agent/ Family and Consumer Sciences

Nov. 26, 2006 - Thanksgiving Day is over, but our thanks giving should continue all year long. In contrast, that freshly cooked turkey has been eaten, but leftovers should not be kept beyond 2 to 3 days. So what do you do with the leftover turkey?

Turkey can be kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Here are a few delicious suggestions on using leftover turkey:

1) Add cubed turkey to liven up canned or homemade soups. Turkey adds protein, which satisfies hunger.

2) Use turkey in stir fry dinners.

3) Make turkey quesadillas. Simply top a tortilla with chopped turkey and cheese. Heat until cheese melts and serve with sour cream, salsa, or other toppings.

4) Make Turkey Waldorf Salad. Combine 2 cups of cooked diced turkey, 1 cup diced celery, 1 small can pineapple tidbits, 3/4 cup diced apple, 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon mustard, and optional 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts. Yummm! Another salad idea includes the One-Half Cup Fruity Turkey Salad. Simply combine 2 cups cooked turkey, 1/2 cup each of diced celery, diced apple, halved seedless grapes, low-fat mayonnaise, and sour cream. Add 1/4 cup nuts if desired.

5) Use cooked turkey in spaghetti sauce instead of hamburger meat.

6) Top a pizza with turkey to add more protein and interest.

7) Pasta dishes are great for adding other ingredients. Why not add cooked turkey to macaroni and cheese?

8) Casseroles are perfect for leftover turkey. You really don't even need a recipe. Just start with the turkey, then add a can of condensed soup and canned vegetables of your choice. Pour into a casserole dish, top with cheese and crushed chips or crackers, and bake until bubbly.

9) Try turkey tacos. Warm shredded turkey and taco sauce in a microwave or skillet. Fill taco shells with turkey mixture and grated cheese. Top with onions, tomatoes, and shredded lettuce.

10) Sandwiches! Serve leftover turkey on buns and top with cranberry sauce and shredded lettuce.

If you choose to save turkey for later, turkey can be frozen. Remove the meat from the bones. For quick and easy meals, freeze in small freezer bags. Turkey can be kept in the freezer for 4 - 6 months.

When re-heating leftovers of any kind, be sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees. If you don't have a meat thermometer, watch for steam rising from the food. This should indicate that the food has been properly heated.

Enjoy that Thanksgiving turkey to the fullest and don't forget that our thanks giving should last all year!


  • Thursday, Nov. 30: Texas Extension Education Association Fall District meeting, Emory
  • Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2: Christmas on the Square
  • Saturday, Dec. 2: 4-H Holiday Baking Day, 2 p.m., home of Linda Tanton; Call Extension Office to sign up - 903-885-3443.


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