Do you ever get so busy that even the thought of cooking is enough to push you over the edge? Eating healthy may be important to you but sometimes there's just no time. During the holidays, we make the time to roast a yummy turkey along with all those festive side-dishes. When the meal is over, you're left with more turkey than you know what to do with.
What if we leveraged those leftovers and turned them into easy "grab-and-go" meals? This not only will give you back time that would have been spent in the kitchen, but it will also provide you with some ready-made, healthy food choices for when you are too busy to bother.
Turkey Leftover Tips
Let all warm-hot food cool completely before putting in the fridge
Place cool food in fridge immediately when done.
Create your leftover food as soon as possible.
Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days.
When you cook leftover recipes, think about freezing your "ready-made" meals. These will last for 1-2 months.
Reheat leftovers to 165F or 74C
Check out these delicious recipes!
Leftover Turkey Soup
This simple, fast, and hearty soup will warm up anyone's soul. This recipe takes a classic chicken soup and turns it into a bowl full of comfort. Enjoy this soup on a winter's day or even if you're feeling under the weather.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
4 celery stalks sliced
3 large carrots peeled and chopped *if you had a side dish of carrots, go ahead and throw those in.
2 lbs of little roast potatoes, halved. *If you have left over roast potatoes, throw those in, too.
4 cups chicken stock. *Did you make your own Turkey stock? Check out instructions below.
Use any leftover herbs: Thyme, Parsley, Sage, Oregano, Rosemary
Have 2+ cups of leftover Turkey meat
Making the Turkey Stock:
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
4 celery stalks, whole
4 carrots, peeled and whole
4 garlic cloves
1 -2 lemons or 1/2 a cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
Leftover herbs (parsley, thyme, sage, or rosemary)
Salt and pepper
After you have removed all the meat off the bird that you want, place the entire turkey into a large pot that has a lid. Pour in water that will cover the entire bird by 2-4 inches. Place 1 onion, simply cut in half in the water. Add 4 whole celery stalks, 4 whole carrots that have been peeled, and 1/2 cup of either lemon or apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 4-6 hours covered. You can let the stock cool overnight.
*Top tip: Start this when everyone is cleaning the kitchen and let it simmer throughout the evening. Turn off the stove before bed and let it cool overnight. When you get up the next day, strain the stock into another pan. You may find turkey meat left behind. Feel free to pick through the ingredients and add the turkey meat to your stock
Making the soup
Put olive oil in a large pot on warm heat and saute' the onion. Add the celery and garlic. If you have already cooked the carrots, add these later. If the carrots are fresh, then saute' the carrots with the celery and garlic. Add the turkey stock you just made with the cooked carrots. Then place the potatoes and fresh herbs in, along with salt and pepper. If the potatoes are already cooked, you simply need to warm everything up x 30 mins. If you need to cook the potatoes, simmer until you can pierce the potatoes with your fork.
**Don't want to add the potato to minimize carbs? Then don't add them.
Get mason jars and freeze leftover soup or place in to-go containers that you can easily grab and take to work.
Leftover Dairy Free Turkey Casserole
This is a great dish to have two hours before a workout because it's pretty starchy. That being said, this is a nice mixture of a starch, protein, and vegetables mixed in one. Enjoy with a side salad.
1/4th cup chia seeds
3/4ths cup of water
4 cups leftover stuffing
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or yams
1 cup leftover green beans
3 cups leftover Turkey chopped
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4th cup cranberry sauce. **See my blog on Thanksgiving Recipes for my Cranberry Relish with pomegranate.
1 cup leftover gravy
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional for garnish)
Place chia seeds in water and set aside for 5 minutes. Mix the stuffing and potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Next add the green beans and other soft vegetable like carrots should you like. Next add the turkey, pumpkin seeds, and cranberry sauce. Mix together. Then add the chia seeds and leftover gravy.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until center is heated to 165F.
Serving size is 1 cup. Best served with a salad and other steamed vegetables as this is a starchy dish.
Turkey, Broccoli, Spinach, and Leftover Stuffing Quiche
Making is quiche is one of the easiest and quickest dishes to make. Once it's made, you can have a quick, protein rich breakfast on the go. Quiche can easily be heated up in the microwave at medium to low heat x 30 seconds or until the center is 165F. This is best done from the fridge to the microwave vs frozen.
1 almond flour pie crust
1-2 cups leftover stuffing, crumbled
1 cup turkey, chopped
1 cup of broccoli
1 cup of spinach, chopped
4 large eggs
3 leaves of sage, chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano
Salt and Pepper
Mix the stuffing, turkey, broccoli, spinach, and sage together. Place in the pie crust. Mix the eggs, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the ingredients in the pie crust. Make sure you get the egg mixture inside all the cracks between the vegetables and turkey.
Bake at 350 F, uncovered for 45-50 minutes. Let the dish cool for 15 minutes before serving.
*You can freeze the quiche mixture WITHOUT the eggs, spinach, or other dairy products until you are ready to make the quiche. Simply place the stuffing, turkey, broccoli, and sage into a freezer bag.