20 Ways with Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

20 Ways with Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey // SavvyEat.com

Happy day-after Thanksgiving everyone! I hope all my American readers had a great holiday (and that all the international Savvy Eaters had a great regular Thursday, as well). If you hosted, I’m guessing you have a ton of leftover turkey on your hands.  Or maybe your host sent you home with a big container of leftovers. Either way, you’re surely in need of some creative ways to use your leftovers, right?

Of course, I recommend freezing turkey so you aren’t on poultry-overload for the next week. Regardless of whether you’ll be working with fresh or frozen Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, here’s 20 ways you can put them to good use. My personal favorite is the breakfast casserole, but I can’t wait to try the enchilada melt, turkey and cranberry sauce salad and the breakfast pizza!

Cornbread Waffle Turkey Sandwiches with Cranberry Aioli via Created by Diane

Cranberry Basil Turkey Sandwich via The Lemon Bowl

Cran-Turkey Enchiladas via Very Culinary

Kentucky Hot Brown Grilled Cheese via Cupcakes and Kale Chips

Leftover Turkey and Cranberry Enchiladas via Cookie Monster Cooking

Leftover Turkey Pho via Cook the Story

Lemon Pepper Turkey Sandwiches via Simple Bites

Loaded Turkey Panini via Pinch of Yum

Mexican Turkey Breakfast Pizza via Taste and Tell

Open Faced Turkey Cranberry Enchilada Melt via Running to the Kitchen

Red Curry Ramen Noodle Soup with Turkey and Butternut Squash via Life Made Sweeter

Smoked Gouda and Turkey Quesadillas via The Housewife in Training Files

Thanksgiving Leftovers Breakfast Casserole

Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Salad via The Healthy Maven

Turkey Croquettes via An Edible Mosaic

Turkey Pot Pie Soup via Cupcakes and Kale Chips

Turkey Ranch Nachos via The View from Great Island

Turkey Tamale Pie via Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

Turkey Vegetable Hash via An Edible Mosaic

Waffled Cranberry Cream Cheese Turkey Sandwiches via Neighborfood

Are you swimming in Thanksgiving leftovers? How do you plan to use them?

How to Freeze Your Thanksgiving Turkey Leftovers

How to Freeze Your Thanksgiving Turkey Leftovers // savvyeat.com

For the first time in five years, I’m not going to be the one making the Thanksgiving turkey this year.  I know I’ve gone on and on about how much I love coming up with the Thanksgiving menu and cooking for my family and friends in years past, but this year, I’m not going to have access to the majority of my pots and pans. Or my dishes. Or a fridge/freezer in which to store leftovers.

Why? Because we’re moving back to Minnesota at the very start of December. Apparently, I am completely incapable of just making one major life change at once, so we are taking on a cross-country move while I’m 6 months pregnant. For more evidence of my craziness, see May 2010, in which I graduated college, got married and moved from Wisconsin to New York. Most people would just do those things one at a time, but not us.

So my Thanksgiving serving dishes are already packed up and stashed in the basement, ready for the movers. I’ve pared down to just my most essential pots and pans, and boxed up the rest. And I’m now on a mission to use up everything in my pantry in the next two (!!) weeks so it doesn’t go to waste.

BUT I didn’t want to miss out on the holiday cooking fun. So I may or may not have cooked up some Thanksgiving turkey anyways…in early October. Yep.

Here’s the thing: I know a lot of you are going to have a TON of turkey left over after your big feast. We’ve already talked about what to do with the bones (hint: make turkey stock!), but what about all the extra meat? Unless you have a giant family that goes crazy for leftover sandwiches and wants to eat them day in and day out for the rest of November, you’re going to want to freeze some of that leftover Thanksgiving turkey. And good news: it is super easy to do. Here’s how.

Three Ways to Freeze Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

For all three of these methods, make sure the turkey is cooled completely before you pack it up for freezing.

1. Diced.

Remove all the meat from the bones, and dice the turkey. Place in a freezer-safe container or bag, and squeeze out as much air as possible as you seal the container. You’ll only want to keep a quarter inch or so of free space at the top, as the poultry won’t expand much. Freeze. Diced turkey will do well in soups and chills later.

2. Shredded.

 Same as above, but shred the meat instead. Shredded turkey will lend itself well to tacos and pasta dishes.

3. In Gravy.

Shred your turkey, and pack into a freezer-safe container or bag. Pour gravy over the top of the poultry, and make sure you leave at least 1/2” empty space at the top to allow the gravy to expand as it freezes. Seal and freeze.

To use, defrost the sealed containers in the refrigerator overnight before using. If you are making a sauce or soup in the slow cooker, you can just toss the still-frozen turkey in the slow cooker as well.