Let's face it: Few of us actually make it through all the turkey that we prepare on Thanksgiving.
Rather than let the slices hang out far too long in the refrigerator, give leftover turkey new life in these creative and comforting recipes!
Just prep smartly before you take your post-meal nap:
1. Within two hours of removing the bird from the oven, carve all meat off the carcass.
2. Refrigerate and use within 2 days or freeze in small portions to use within 6 months.
3. Regardless of the route you go, be sure to label with the date you packaged the turkey so you can keep track of its "best by" time.
Behold, our top eight leftover turkey turnarounds:
2. Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
Use up: 2-1/2 cups turkey, plus plenty of vegetables
While a simple mashed sweet potato topping gets the spotlight, once you dig in to this Thanksgiving leftover casserole, you'll realize the real star is the shredded turkey. Carrots, celery, onion, and a pile of fresh herbs are hiding in the savory pie filling, too.
Get the recipe: Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
3. Catchall Casserole
Use up: 1 pound of turkey, 4 cups of veggies, and 1-1/2 cups of stuffing mix
Leftover turkey and veggies get covered in a corn bread topper and a rich, creamy sauce to make one irresistible casserole recipe. Once holiday guests have departed, toss together this easy dinner for four. It can be on the table in less than an hour!
Get the recipe: Catchall Casserole
4. African-Creole Turkey Gumbo
Use up: 1 cup of turkey
Featuring shrimp, sausage, crab, and leftover turkey, this hearty Creole stew can feed a big crowd of lingering Thanksgiving guests. Don't be intimidated by the long ingredient list—almost all are either ingredients you'll have on-hand after the big meal (including celery, onion, chicken broth, and garlic) or already stocked in your pantry (like peanut butter, tomato paste, and vinegar).
Get the recipe: African-Creole Turkey Gumbo
5. Artichoke-Turkey Casserole
Use up: 1-1/2 cups of turkey
This time of year, we're all looking for something warm and cozy. Luckily, this easy casserole features rice, artichokes, mozzarella cheese, and turkey tossed in a rich sauce. Don't forget the bacon on top, since everything's better with it!
Get the recipe: Artichoke-Turkey Casserole
Now that your package of the best pork product known to man is open, here are 25 more ways to get your bacon fix.
6. Pizza Stew
Use up: 1-1/4 cups of turkey
While this Italian-inspired stew recipe calls for ground turkey breast, feel free to swap in shredded leftover turkey instead. Either work wonderfully with the marinara and vegetable soup base. The colorful mix tastes even better when crowned with a semi-homemade cheesy biscuit! (Psst...it starts with boxed pancake mix.)
Get the recipe: Pizza Stew
7. Asian Turkey and Rice Soup
Use up: 1 pound of turkey, plus several servings of veggies
Allow this slow cooker soup to simmer while you clean up after Thanksgiving dinner—or while you kick up your feet and take a nap. This is the perfect leftover turkey recipe to try when your crisper drawer is packed with extra mushrooms, carrots, and onions from the stuffing.
Get the recipe: Asian Turkey and Rice Soup
8. Turkey Gyros
Use up: 3/4 pound of turkey
Instead of ground turkey breast, try this Mediterranean meal with leftover slices of turkey. It will speed up the prep time of this better-than-takeout sandwich, plus the mild-flavored meat gets jazzed up with an easy Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce.
Get the recipe: Turkey Gyros