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Turkey Day Leftovers

By clairelaine on Nov 27, 2009 12:00 PM in Recipes

Our day of feasting is over and there was plenty of food left over.  Those leftovers are delicious and many people love them as much as they love Thanksgiving Day.   By the end of the weekend some have changed their mind due to too many turkey sandwiches, turkey stew, turkey soup and all other things turkey.  How can we avoid boredom before the leftovers are gone?  A little creativity is in order.

Before we talk about how to use those good things, we need to discuss food safety.  Read the article, Storing Thanksgiving Leftovers Safely.  The facts in the article are taken from the US Food and Safety Bureau.  A few simple precautions will keep your food fresh and wholesome.

Cut turkey and stuffing into smaller pieces in shallow containers, within two hours of cooking.  Use these within three to four days, and use gravy within 2 days, or freeze them.  Reheat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius.

Now we can begin preparing our leftovers for post-holiday meals.  Of course turkey sandwiches, either hot or cold, are popular, but we can also incorporate the meat in casseroles and other one-dish meals.  Chop it finely and put it into chili or soups.

Don't forget to use the carcass for soup.  The best flavor is obtained when the bones are put into a 350 degree Fahrenheit or 177 degrees Celsius oven, until they are golden.  Put the bones and any scraps of skin into a soup pot.  Add a few stems of celery and a carrot or two, some onions and garlic, parsley and other herbs.  Cover with cold water to about 2 inches over the top of the contents of the pot.  Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for an hour or two.  You may want to strain the broth and then put fresh vegetables in it along with some bite size turkey pieces for a tasty soup.  Add noodles at the very end, or better yet, place the cooked noodles into each bowl and ladle the soup over.  If you leave the noodles or rice in the broth, be prepared for them to soak up all the broth. 

One of my own favorites is mashed candied sweet potatoes.  I like to add an egg and pour it into a pie shell to bake.  No other sweetening is needed. 

Mashed white potatoes can be made into a number of good side dishes.  If you've never had them mixed with an egg, dusted with flour, formed into patties and browned in a frying pan, then you are in for a treat. 

We have some creative recipes for you today, all by Calorie Count members.  Enjoy!



Why not just cook less to begin with? I'm not being difficult just wondering why more people don't just do that. Sometimes i cook more deliberately so I can freeze meals ahead but it doesn't take a lot of research on the web to find out suggested portion sizes for each person and cook to that rather than cooking enough to feed te whole neighbourhood!

rosl, It's better to cook more for a larger crowd. You never know if a person wants seconds or if some unexpected guests may invite themselves to your house. Even if it's just your family, certain people may want to eat more of one type of food rather than sampling everything on the table. ALSO, if you have extra food you can always donate some cooked mash potatoes or turkey to an orphanage or homeless shelter; they will appreciate it.

i'm definately trying those mashed potato patties.  sounds delicious.

I disagree that it's "better" to cook more for a larger crowd.  It is all about custom and habit, I think.  If you make it a point to cook enough (i.e., looking up serving sizes) then people will come to expect that.  I completely agree with rosl, sometimes cooking extra to have leftovers on purpose makes sense - and it is somewhat unavoidable with Turkey, depending on how many you are feeding.  But it doesn't necessarily have to be the case with the sides, etc.

Original Post by: rosl

Why not just cook less to begin with? I'm not being difficult just wondering why more people don't just do that. Sometimes i cook more deliberately so I can freeze meals ahead but it doesn't take a lot of research on the web to find out suggested portion sizes for each person and cook to that rather than cooking enough to feed te whole neighbourhood!

Because leftovers are the best part! Duh.

I think I crave my next-day turkey sandwhich more than the dinner itself. Sooo yummy.

Then let's talk economy.  I feed a family of 6 and it makes no sense at all to prepare a meal as extensive as a Thanksgiving meal and to not be able to eat several meals from it after.  Not only is it an effecient use of my time to cook ahead, it's a bargain to buy larger sizes.  My family has learned portion control from very early on, so we manage to stretch our "big" dinners very far and are grateful for the yummy food for more than one day.  As a full time teacher with a very busy schedule and not nearly the time I would like to devote to meal preparation, I love that my family can enjoy healthy meals for several days.  BTW, I did shave hundreds of calories off our Thanksgiving day meal this year for the first time and no one noticed or felt short changed even a little.  I'm thankful for the CC crowd who inspired me :-)

I strongly advocate cooking less to avoid wastage and also avoid the temptation to over eat and gain excess calories

Here are the featured forum topics that appeared in the newsletter


Reheating Turkey


What to do with leftover turkey?


Thanksgiving weight gain anyone?

One of the things we give thanks for in our family is abundance.  We celebrate this one day with a feast of plenty.  Over the years we've shared our Thankgiving table with many people - family, friends and strangers - anyone who will be alone on the holiday is invited to share our meal. 

We have always looked forward to those leftovers from the huge meal.  I'm sure that many families, like mine, spend virtually no money on groceries for several days and nothing goes to waste, not even the bones of the turkey.

It's a tradition.

Ok guys that's me told!

The point of the meal is to have left overs now I get it! LOL


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Leftovers...I like to make turkey tamales, using the gravy too for sauce, just add spices...then throw it all in the freezer (double wrap) 

It will taste Great! and wont taste left over!

Also this year I brulee'd the sweet potatoes, less sweet but delish!

(Did not make a truffle cake, it would not didn't make it to left over....)



Do you have any recipes that are not so fattening?  I though turkey was supposed to be less fattening than chicken, but these recipes contain more than 50% fat.

Use the Recipe Browser or the Calorie Count search engine to search for recipes that are more to your liking.

As for the recipes I linked

  • Sweet Potato Pancakes  2.2 grams of fat, 67 calories a serving
  • Turkey Tetrazzini 16.7 grams of fat, mostly from the turkey and the butter.  351 calories per serving.  Use cornstarch to thicken the broth and use only turkey breast to make it lower in fat.
  • Potato Casserole 11.5 grams of fat, 169 calories.  The fat in this one comes mostly from the sour cream.  Use fat free sour cream to correct.
  • Turkey Pot Pie 11.5 grams of fat, 169 calories.  The fat is mostly from that 1/8th cup of butter.  Leave it out if desired.

Also, keep in mind that when you add other components to the meal, such as a salad or steamed vegetables, the percentage of calories from fat drops.

Hope this helps a little.


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