The first thing I do after Thanksgiving is pop a container of carved turkey into the freezer. In my house, we always plan on having a lot of leftovers, but I know we're going to get sick of all that turkey after a few days — or not be able to eat it all before it goes bad (that's about three or four days). It's nice to be able to break it out a couple of weeks after the big dinner and use it in different kinds of recipes. Here are five that will put leftover turkey to good use.
Michelle Stark, Times food editor
The turkey in these can be subbed for chicken — or even shredded beef — during another time of year. To make, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups shredded turkey, 1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine), 1 cup diced onion, 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and a generous pinch of both salt and pepper. Place 8 small corn tortillas on a flat surface. Spoon some of the mixture into the tortilla and roll carefully. Place with the seam side down in a rectangle baking dish, like a 9- by 13-inch dish. Top with enchilada sauce (store-bought or your favorite recipe) and an additional ½ cup cheddar cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, then sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro.
Turkey Blue Cheese Salad
This salad is very customizable, though the combination of roasted turkey and blue cheese is a must. To make, start with 2 heads Boston lettuce, broken into large pieces. You can also use something darker, like spinach, or a combination. Thinly slice ½ small red onion and add that to a large bowl with the lettuce. Thinly slice 2 hardboiled eggs and add that to the bowl as well. Add ½ cup chopped almonds and ½ pound sliced roasted turkey. Stir to combine, then add 4 ounces blue cheese. Top with about ¼ cup of your favorite vinaigrette and divide among 4 bowls.
Hash With Eggs
Hash is just about the easiest way to use up any leftovers you have lingering in your fridge. To make this one, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ¾ pound diced red potatoes, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped red bell pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender and golden. Add 1 cup diced roasted turkey and ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley and cook until heated through, about 4 minutes. Heat more oil in a separate nonstick skillet over medium heat and crack 4 eggs at a time into the pan. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes to get a slightly runny egg; cook them until they are done to your liking. Serve the hash on a plate with 1 or 2 eggs each. Recipe adapted from Real Simple.
Turkey Egg Rolls
This recipe relies on a few other Thanksgiving staples, like stuffing and mashed potatoes. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup cooked stuffing, ½ cup mashed potatoes, ½ cup finely chopped leftover turkey, ½ cup shredded carrot and ½ cup cooked Brussels sprouts. Stir well to combine. Working with 16 egg roll wrappers, place one at a time on a flat surface so that it forms a diamond. Scoop about 3 tablespoons of stuffing mixture onto the middle of the wrapper and form mixture into a horizontal strip. Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper over the filling and roll. Tuck the sides in and roll again. Wet the top point of the wrapper with a bit of water, then roll it one more time to seal the wrapper closed. Repeat with the rest of the filling and wrappers. To cook, heat 6 cups vegetable oil in a large skillet until it reads 375 degrees on a thermometer. Working in batches, fry the egg rolls for about 5 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and salt to taste. Repeat with the rest of the rolls. Serve with 1 cup cranberry sauce seasoned with 1 or 2 tablespoons Sriracha. Recipe adapted from Real Simple.
Chili, another catch-all dish, is a good way to use up leftover meat. In this case, roasted turkey is used in place of ground meat. To make, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over high heat and add 2 pounds cooked turkey meat. It's good to have a combination of white meat and dark meat, which will lend some fat. Cook for just a few minutes until lightly browned, breaking it up into small pieces along the way. Add the following: 2 cups coarsely chopped onions; 2 tablespoons chopped garlic; 1 large sweet red pepper that has been cored, deveined and coarsely chopped; 1 cup chopped celery; 1 jalapeno pepper that has been cored, deveined and finely chopped; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano; 2 bay leaves; 3 tablespoons chili powder; and 2 teaspoons ground cumin. Stir to combine all of the ingredients well, then cook for about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups canned diced tomatoes, 2 cups chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste. Bring that mixture to a boil, then lower heat, reduce to a simmer and cook about 15 minutes. Add 2 drained (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Stir periodically. Serve chili in bowls with a generous sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Recipe adapted from the New York Times.