Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to Get the Most Out of "Ole Tom"

Alternate Title:  5 Ways to Use Leftover Turkey

For the past several years, we have been roasting our Thanksgiving turkey in a 20-quart Rival Roaster Oven.  We have found that our turkey ends up being much moister that way, and it frees up the oven for baking the various side dishes, which is a huge advantage. 

After the meal, I just throw the carcass back into the roaster, add several cups of water, salt and pepper, a splash of vinegar, and some chunks of carrots, celery and onion.  Then, I let it simmer over night.  The next day, I sift through the bones, picking out the meat, and then I strain the broth and put into jars and refrigerate or freeze.  Then I have my own stash of nutritious broth to use in recipes.

I love having leftover turkey.  I don't think it is possible to have too much!   You don't have to use it all right away -- just package it up in quart-size ziploc bags and use for any recipe for which you would normally use chicken.

Honestly, I rarely have much turkey left to freeze.  After we eat leftovers for a couple meals, and the guys have their customary turkey sandwiches, I make one or more of my favorite recipes with the leftover turkey pieces.  Here are 5 ideas for using your leftover turkey:

1.  Leftover Turkey and Dressing Casserole:

This is a simple variation for your Thanksgiving leftovers.  Get out a 9x13 baking dish and layer pieces of turkey on the bottom, followed by a layer of leftover stuffing/dressing, and then leftover mashed potatoes.  Finally, cover with any leftover gravy or turkey broth.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until heated through.  This is really yummy!  Serve with any leftover side dishes from the Main Event.

2.  Turkey Soup

I chop some onion and celery and maybe a bit of garlic and saute in a stick of butter in a large dutch oven.  Then, I fill the pot with turkey broth and throw in chopped turkey pieces and some veggies.  For veggies -- use a couple bags of frozen mixed vegetables, or frozen vegetable soup mix, or just dice some carrot and throw it in along with some frozen peas or whatever you have on hand. (Maybe some chopped up veggies leftover from Thanksgiving?)  Then, sprinkle in a bit of poultry seasoning or thyme.  Add rice or barley if you like, and let it simmer all day!  Very soothing and so good for you!

3.  Turkey Hash

This is one of our absolute favorites and I look forward to making it every year.  I posted the recipe for my Turkey Hash right after I started blogging, and you can find it here.

4.  Turkey Salad

Just chop up your turkey into little pieces (by hand or with a food processor) and mix with plenty of mayo, diced pickles, and some salt and pepper for a simple turkey salad.  Or, for a really delicious turkey salad, try this recipe for Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad.  Just substitute turkey for the chicken. This is soooo yummy!!

5.  Turkey Pot Pie

Here is an easy recipe for Turkey (or Ham) Pie that came from a caterer in our church in Albany. This is a tasty, southern dish:

chopped turkey (or ham)
boiled eggs (about 3)
peas or mixed veggies (optional)
cream of celery soup
1 1/2 cups of turkey (or chicken) broth
1/2 stick butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
3 TBSP mayonnaise
1/4 tsp salt, pepper

Cover bottom of 9x13 pan with leftover chopped meat.  Add chopped or sliced boiled egg.
If using vegetables, add them on top of the meat and eggs.
Mix together soup and 1 cup broth.  Pour over all.
Combine butter, flour, milk, mayo and salt and pepper with 1/2 cup broth.  Pour over top of casserole.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

I think I'll make this simple dish for supper tonight, so if I remember, I'll come back here and add a picture.


Greg and Donna said...

Great idea...I never thought of putting everything back into the roaster to make the stock. It saves on the pan cleanup too...just one. I did ours in the oven this year instead of the roaster and we voted to use the roaster from now on ~ but the skin did get a beautiful brown. I'll have to remember to do the stock in the roaster next time too!

Rebecca's Refining said...

Some great recipe ideas! We used the last of our turkey! We ate leftovers, then I made soup, and today I made turkey enchiladas.

Now I am trying to decide if I would rather have another turkey for Christmas, or a ham! :)

busymomof10 said...

Please share your recipe for the Turkey Enchiladas, soo I can add it to my After Thanksgiving Aresenal.

We often have a smaller turkey and a ham for Christmas! :)

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