Turkey Anytime: A recipe for turning leftovers into planned-overs

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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Part of the pleasure of a Thanksgiving or other holiday meal is the aroma of a turkey baking in your oven. Continue that great feeling by planning a variety of pleasing post-holiday meals with leftover turkey. Try the recipes in this article or use them as inspiration for your own.

Turkey makes a great first meal, plus delicious leftovers that are easy to combine into a variety of scrumptious future meals. Try turkey year round and think “planned-overs” rather than “leftovers.”

Follow these food safety guidelines for handling your turkey leftovers safely:

  • Debone turkey and refrigerate all leftovers in shallow containers within two hours of cooking.
  • Use leftover turkey within three to four days and stuffing and gravy within one to two days, or freeze these foods.*
  • When reheating turkey, reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit until hot and steaming throughout. Alice Henneman, Extension Educator with Nebraska Extension, shared the following recipes.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


(4 servings)

  • 1 1/2 cups turkey, cooked and diced
  • 1/4 cup vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • Lettuce leaves

1. Toss chicken, cranberries and almonds with dressing.

2. Serve on a lettuce leaf or mound of chopped lettuce.


(2 servings)

  • 1 cup chopped, cooked turkey
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 thinly chopped carrots
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked pasta (such as bowtie, shells, macaroni, etc.) OR 1 cup cooked rice

1. Add all ingredients, except pasta or rice to pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered until vegetables are tender crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Add cooked pasta or cooked rice and cook a few more minutes until pasta or rice is heated.

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