Once a Month Cooking – The Turkey Plan

Turkey is a far more versatile meat than most of us think. Many people relegate it to holidays and “leftovers”, but why not make it part of your everyday fare? Turkey is delicious, low in fat (unless drowned in gravy!) and can be substituted for chicken in most dishes. It is a little bit coarser in texture than chicken, but this can be overcome by boiling turkey, which I accidentally discovered after boiling a very meaty carcass and then using the meat for sandwiches. You really can’t tell the difference!

Turkey is also extremely economical if bought in bulk when the prices are the lowest, usually around the end of the fall and in the spring (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter). It is also much faster to debone than chickens and you get so much more meat! I have definitely turned into a turkey convert- I prefer it to chicken anyday!

I have divided the Turkey plan into two plans because they illustrate two very different ways to approach cooking such a large bird. Many of the recipes in this plan I have used, the second plan will be more experimental. Perhaps I need a third plan to demonstrate boiled turkey! Enjoy, and please let me know how these recipes turn out for you.

Strategy #1: Traditional Method- Roast a large whole turkey and serve for dinner. I have provided recipes for stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy too. All should freeze well, and you’ll be eating like kings long after Turkey Day!

Divide leftovers into the following: Sliced breast meat for dinner slices and diced white meat for meals where turkey is the “star” of the meal: stir fries, turkey ala king, curries, etc.

Dark meat, chopped for dishes where the meat is not necessarily the focus: casseroles, one dish meals, stews, potpies, soups, etc.

Bones, skin, gizzards- used for turkey stock and broth

Master Recipes:

Roasted Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Stuffing

Secondary Recipes:

Turkey ala King
Turkey Pot Pie
Curry Turkey
Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Red Chili Sauce
Mexican Turkey Lasagna
Turkey Lasagna Roll Ups
Turkey Divan
Dinner Slices
Turkey Fried Rice
Turkey Turnovers
Turkey Tetrazinni

Quick and Easy (make these on the fly with frozen diced turkey):

Turkey Salad in Pitas
Turkey Stir Fry
Turkey Club Sandwich
Main dish salad with roasted turkey
Turkey Quesadillas
Turkey tacos/burritos

Other Ideas

Turkey Jokes

Roasted Turkey

Roasting a turkey is pretty easy. I have provided some basic instructions here, you can find more detailed info on the Butterball recipe site.

  • 1 turkey
  • 1 roasting pan
  • oil
  • pastry brush
  • meat thermometer (optional)
  • aluminum foil
  1. Wash turkey, cleaning out cavities and reserving “gizzard” (heart, liver, neck etc) for another use. Pat dry. Preheat oven to .
  2. Put turkey into roasting pan and brush skin with vegetable oil (use a pastry brush). Put turkey, uncovered, into oven and roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until skin is browned. Cover with foil or top of roasting pan and cook for another 3-4 hours, depending on size of turkey.
  3. Check meat for doneness by inserting a large two-pronged fork into the thigh. If it is done, the juices should run clear. They will be pink if not done.
  4. Carve the turkey however you like and serve. Enjoy!
  5. Note: when everyone is sitting around holding their bellies, I sneak back into the kitchen and cut what is left of the turkey off of the bone. I separate the meat into breast slices for dinners, white meat that is too small for dinner slices, and dark meat. You can throw all of the bones and other turkey leftover into a stock pot or crock pot, cover with water, add some salt, pepper and thyme and let it simmer for 3-4 hours on the stove, or longer in a crockpot. When done, strain and reserve the stock, and cut remaining meat from bones. It is AMAZING how much meat you can get even from a well-picked turkey. You can pressure can the stock, or you can freeze it or just refrigerate and make some more delicious meals with it. See below for more ideas.

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Easy Pan Gravy

(from Better Homes and Gardens Step by Step Cookbook)

  • Hot drippings from a roast or turkey
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • milk OR water OR broth
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of dried thyme, crushed
  • Few drops of Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
  1. After removing roast/turkey to a platter, pour the meat juices and fat into a two-cup measure.
  2. Skim off the fat, reserving three to four tablespoons. Return fat to the pan (I use a large saucepan).
  3. Stir in flour. Cook and stir over low heat until bubbly. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Add enough milk, broth, or water to reserved meat juices to make 2 cups. Add liquid all at once to the fat-flour mixture (called a roux); blend well. Add some salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add thyme and Kitchen Bouquet.
  5. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook two minutes more. Makes two cups.

Kim’s note: when I make this, I strain the meat juices so the gravy is not lumpy. You need to double this recipe if you make a 15 pound turkey, I wound up with3 cups of meat juices so I added milk to make it four and doubled the whole thing. The thyme is a wonderful touch! It tasted sooo good! Rosemary would be great too, but you would have to remove the leaves before serving (use fresh sprig- yum!) This gravy freezes well too. I freeze it in two cup portions and always have leftovers, there are 5 of us. If your gravy separates when reheating, just mix well and heat thoroughly, it will look and taste fine.

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Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes freeze very well, so make a bunch! Cook once, eat several times! There is nothing like home-cooked food waiting to be eaten in the freezer!

  • 10-20 medium sized russet potatoes (depends on how much you want to make and how big your stock pot is)
  • one very large stock pot
  • water to cover potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk or broth to flavor
  1. Peel and cube potatoes. Put into a large stock pot and cover with water. If you like, you can also add peeled garlic for a different taste.
  2. Boil potatoes for 20-30 minutes, strain, reserving water and a few potatoes for potato soup, or as a sourdough starter (or the base for a vegetable broth).
  3. Mash potatoes with egg beater or masher, add salt and pepper, butter and milk (if desired). For low fat potatoes, add chicken or turkey broth that has been defatted. Mix until the consistency is fluffy but not soupy.
  4. To freeze: pack potatoes into 2 cup freezer containers and freeze. 2 cups seems to be about right for our family of five, you may need to adjust this according to the number of people you will be serving.
  5. To serve: Thaw potatoes overnight in refrigerator or in microwave (this is my method! I always forget!). Put them in the oven, in a covered casserole and cook at 350 for 30-40 minutes. I usually put in turkey dinner slices and gravy and the same time for an easy, delicious meal.

Note: You can do a lot of things with leftover mashed potatoes. They are great for thickening soups and sauces, as well as adding moistness to bread dough (they are a main ingredient in potato refrigerator dough, an old Betty Crocker recipe), even cake! They are also great as pancakes and mixed with flour for dumplings. Let your imagination run wild!

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Homemade Stuffing

Here are methods and recipes for two kinds of stuffings- dry and moist, from the Time-life Cookbook Series, “The Good Cook”. You can freeze stuffing- it will come out very moist, but still taste wonderful. Enjoy!

Method 1- Dry Stuffing (bread is cut in cubes, made into croutons and seasoned) make croutons from firm, unsliced bread that is about two days old (or use el cheapo bread and leave it out). Choose ingredients that will compliment poultry: chopped celery, onion and mixed herbs (parsley thyme, rosemary, sage -just like the song!). Use what you like!

Browning the croutons-cut the bread in to chunks and fry in butter over low heat, adding more butter as it is absorbed, until the bread is browned. Or spread the chunks in a buttered pan and bake, turning occassionally, for half an hour in a moderate oven (low heat).

Mix stuffing- Place the croutons with the other ingredients in a bowl. The best way to mix this kind of stuffing is with your (clean!) hands: this method combines all of the elements while producing a light, airy mixture.

Basic Stuffing

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2-3 slices of bacon
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups small cubes of trimmed firm-textured bread
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley (or half of that amount using dried parsley)
  • crumbled dried thyme and rosemary (or fresh if you can get it!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk or chicken/turkey stock
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a large skillet, fry the bacon in half of the butter until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon, add the chopped onion to the pan, and saute or moderate heat until the pieces of the onion turn soft and golden. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add the remaining butter to the skillet. When it melts, add the bread cubes and toss over moderate heat until they have taken up the fat and turned a light golden color.
  3. Crumble the bacon into a mixing bowl. Add the sauteed onion, bread cubes, parsley, and a generous pinch each of thyme and rosemary. Toss with fork or hands until well mixed.
  4. In another bowl, beat the egg with the milk or stock. Pour this over the bread mixture, tossing with a fork to distribute evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. You can now use the stuffing to fill the turkey cavity. If you do not wish to cook it in the bird (some food safety organizations warn about samonella problems), you can cook in a covered casserole in the oven or microwave, to make sure the flavors blend and the egg cooks fully.

Method 2: Wet Stuffing– you make this from fresh bread crumbs, seasonings, butter and onion. There are so many flavor combinations!

Preparing ingredients- Parboil onion for about ten minutes. Chop it coarsely. Finely chop fresh sage leaves or if not available, crumble 1/2 teaspoon of dried sage.

Moistening and mixing-In a bowl, combine the onion and sage with fresh, coarse bread crumbs, chopped parsley and chopped, cooked giblets (if you want), salt, pepper, butter and an egg yolk. Add liquid- stock, water, etc, to moisten. Mix all ingredients together gently but thoroughly.

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Sage and Onion stuffing

  • 4 large onions
  • 10 fresh sage leaves or 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Peel onions and out them in the boiling water. Let simmer for 5 minutes or longer. Just before they are taken out, put in the sage leaves and boil for a minute or two.
  2. Drain, then chop the onions and sage very finely, add the bread crumbs, seasoning and butter, and work the whole together with the yolk of an egg.
  3. You can now use the stuffing to fill the turkey cavity. If you do not wish to cook it in the bird (some food safety organizations warn about samonella problems), you can cook in a covered casserole in the oven or microwave, to make sure the flavors blend and the egg cooks fully.

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Crock Pot Stuffing

from “ThanksgivingRecipes.com”, very nice web site, check it out!

This is an easy way to make “extra” stuffing for a large crowd, saving stove space because it cooks in a crock pot. Very tasty and moist!


  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup parsley sprigs
  • 1 (12 ounce) package mushrooms, sliced
  • 12 – 13 cups slightly dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon ground poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups chicken broth or turkey broth
  • 2 eggs, well beaten


  1. Melt butter or margarine in a skillet. Sauté onion, celery, mushroom, and parsley.
  2. Pour sautéed vegetables over bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. Add all seasonings and toss together. Pour in enough broth to moisten. Add beaten eggs, and mix together well.
  3. Pack stuffing lightly into crock pot, and cover. Set to High for 45 minutes; then reduce to Low to cook for 4 to 8 hours.

Makes 8 servings

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Turkey ala King

  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (4 oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained and liquid reserved or 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cut-up cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1 jar (2 oz) diced pimientos drained (optional)

Noodles, hot cooked rice or toasted bread triangles to serve it on

Heat margarine in 3 quart saucepan over medium high heat. Cook bell pepper and mushrooms in the margarine 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until bubbly; remove from heat.

Stir in milk, broth, and reserved mushroom liquid. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in chicken and pimientos. Heat until hot. Serve over rice, noodles, biscuits, potatoes, whatever you like.

Kim’s note: We love this dish and it freezes well. Just be sure to reheat it thoroughly in an oven before serving, the white sauce tends to separate, just stir it and it will be fine. We love fresh mushrooms in this, and you can omit the pimiento, we don’t use it.

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Turkey Pot Pie

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken/ turkey broth
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups cut up chicken or turkey
  • pastry of your choice- homemade, frozen, or you can use biscuit dough (I do not put crust on the bottom, only the top)
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Rinse frozen peas and carrots in cold water to separate; drain.
  3. Heat margarine in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in flour, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Stir in chicken and vegetables.
  4. Prepare pastry ( I freeze this ahead and then thaw ahead when I make this or make a big batch the same day and freeze.) Roll two thirds of pastry into a 13-inch square. Ease into an ungreased square pan, 9x9x2 inches. Pour chicken mixture into pastry lined pan. Roll remaining pastry into an 11-inch square. Cut out designs with a cookie cutter. Place square over filling. Turn edges under and flute. Bake about 35 minutes or until golden. 6 servings

Kim’s adaptations: If I am serving this in a large pan, I omit the bottom layer. I put the filling in the pan then the crust and freeze it. When I want to serve it, I thaw it out and cook for 35 minutes or more. It turns out great. You can also make individual pot pies in those extra large muffin tins- they are the perfect size (be sure to have a top and bottom crust and line the muffin tin with foil so it is easier to get the pot pies out). The best way to freeze individual pot pies is to freeze the entire muffin tin and then take out the pies, it is so much easier! Less mess! You can also use this recipe to make beef pot pies, just use shredded beef and beef stock in place of the chicken or turkey.

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Turkey Curry

I adapted this easy recipe from my mother. She always made this for me and it is one of my favorites. I hope you like it too! Don’t let the ingredient list scare you- the beauty of this dish is that it is made entirely in the microwave! Easy!


  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • paprika to taste
  • 1 cup canned evaporated milk

The rest:

  • 4 cups cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1 egg well beaten
  • 1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • cooked hot rice (or reheated from freezer)
  • optional: chutney and “side boys”: raisins, chapatis and other traditional Indian side dishes
  1. Melt butter in casserole dish in your microwave. Add onion, flour, curry, salt, ginger, and paprika. Cook for 4 minutes on high, stirring occassionally.
  2. Gradually blend in milk, cook 3 minutes to thicken, stirring occassionally.
  3. Add chicken or turkey, blend a little sauce into the egg (so it does not cook) and add the egg into the curry sauce. Mix well. Heat but do not boil or the sauce will curdle. Stir in worcestershire sauce.
  4. Serve over rice with “side boys”/side dishes. We like coconut, peanuts and raisins.

Note: this should freeze fine. If sauce separates after reheating, just stir and make sure it is heated all of the way through. If you do not want to use the egg since it is not fully cooked, you can use egg white or those egg beaters at the store to avoid any samonella problems. I have never had a problem with this recipe. I have not tried to eliminate the egg, but you could do that if you wanted to. Don’t forget- rice freezes beautifully! Make a big batch and freeze in meal portions.

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Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Red Chili Sauce

My recipe is a bit of departure from the traditional corn enchiladas. I wanted something that was easy to make, freezes very well (keep the sauce in separate container), and absolutely delicious! Here was what I came up with:

  • 2 cups of chopped turkey
  • 1 package of flour tortillas
  • 2 cups of homemade red chili sauce (recipe follows)
  • cheddar cheese
  • optional toppings:
  • diced fresh tomatoes
  • shredded lettuce
  • sliced olives
  1. I do not use a tradional method for making enchiladas, but the effect is the same and we all love this dish. Here goes:
  2. Put two cups of chopped turkey, shredded beef or pork in a mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup red chili sauce and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. (You can freeze the filling and tortillas separately and assemble later or you can assemble and freeze.)
  3. Place 1/4 cup of this mixture on to a tortilla and roll up, placing seam side down in a pyrex dish. Do this until all of the mixture is used up, this should yield 8 enchiladas. (I use a pyrex casserole dish with a plastic cover that can go from freezer to oven by just taking off the lid and adding foil.) Freeze enchiladas and sauce separately so that the enchiladas do not get soggy. Freeze extra cheese (about 1/2-1 cup) in a small ziploc baggie (you can tape this onto the pyrex dish).
  4. To serve: Preheat oven to 350. Defrost red chili sauce. Using a pasty brush, “paint” the enchiladas, completely covering them with all of the sauce. Top with cheese and bake until thoroughly heated, about 30 minutes. When done, top with tomatoes, lettuce and olives.

Note: I serve this with refried beans, homemade or store bought. I put them in a casserole and put a little of the red chili sauce and cheddar cheese on them. This dish winds up tasting like the authentic Mexican restaurants that I grew up around! Que magnifico!

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Homemade Red Chili Sauce

(from Recipes for Life from the Fitonics Kitchen by Marilyn Diamond)

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 up olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2-2/3 cup chili powder ( I use 2/3 and it’s great, if too spicy, reduce. I buy big canisters of chili powder at Sam’s, you want the regular red chili powder, not the hot stuff!)
  • 8 cups of water or beef broth
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp or less of sea salt or regular salt
  • 2 tsp oregano

1. Mix flour and oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until smooth

2. Add cumin and chili powder, stir, add water or beef broth

3. Add remaining ingredients

4. Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until sauce is thick enough to

coat the back of your mixing spoon.

Kim’s note: Original recipe served 8-10, this is quadrupled. It makes about 8 cups, I freeze it in 2 cup portions. This is an extremely versatile sauce. You can change spices and spiciness to your taste. It can be used in many recipes. I made enchiladas, mexican lasagna and a mexican “spaghetti sauce” by mixing it half and half with my no cook spaghetti sauce (tomato sauce plan)-delicious! Eventually I will write a Mexican plan, figured no one would want to wait that long for the recipe! LOL I would like to try this in the crockpot. If any one does, let me know how it turns out!

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Mexican Turkey Lasagna

This recipe has a few “non-scratch” ingredients, but it is so delicious that I had to include it! You can substitute your own homemade salsa if you make it. I am looking for a good salsa recipe to can next year, will post what I find!

  • 1 (16-ounce) jar mild salsa
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar medium salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10-ounce)package dry lasagne (6 noodles)
  • 2 cups nonfat cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded MontereyJack cheese

1.Pour both jars of salsa into a large non-aluminum saucepan. Add pepper, chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce is reduced to 4 cups, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions and drain well. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine noodles, the cottage cheese, eggs, parsley, and chiles; mix well and set aside.

3.Arrange half the cooled lasagna noodles in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread half the cottage cheese mixture over the pasta then half the cooked chicken, then half the salsa mixture

4. Sprinkle half the shredded cheeses on top. Repeat the layering steps, ending with the shredded cheeses. Bake, covered, until bubblv and heated through, about 45-50 minutes. Let stand uncovered for 10 minutes before cutting.

You can freeze this fully assembled and reheat by cooking for 1 hour at 350 (thaw it in the microwave or overnight first). This is magnificent!

serves 8-12 from “Making Waves in the Kitchen” Indian River, FL

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Turkey Lasagna Rolls

  • 11 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 pound ground turkey (why not try cooked, chopped?)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1(26-ounce) jar commercial spaghetti sauce with mushrooms and ripe olives
  • 1/4 cup Chablis or other dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups r1cotta cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain. Cut in half crosswise, and set aside.
  2. Cook turkey, onion, and garlic in a large skillet until turkev is browned, stirring to crumble meat. Drain. Add spaghetti sauce, wine, parsley, and salt, stirring well.
  3. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Combine ricotta cheese and next 5 ingredients, stirring well. Spread ricotta mixture evenly over lasagna noodles. Roll up jellyroll fashion, starting at narrow end. Place lasagna rolls, seam side down, in lightly greased 13-x9-x2-inch baking dish. Pour meat sauce over rolls, and sprink1e with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

TO STORE: Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Cover tightly, and freeze up to 2 weeks.

TO SERVE: Thaw in refrigerator. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

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Turkey Divan

  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. Dry white wine
  • 1/2/ cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli or 2 packages (10 oz each) frozen broccoli spears, cooked and drained
  • 6 large slices of turkey breast (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat margarine in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in flour and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.
  2. Stir in broth. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and the wine.
  3. Beat whipping cream in chilled bowl until stiff. Fold cheese mixture into whipped cream.
  4. Place hot broccoli in ungreased rectangular baking dish, 12x 7 1/2×2 inches. Top with turkey. Pour cheese sauce over turkey. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Set oven control to broil. Broil with top 3 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is bubbly and light brown.

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Dinner Slices

This is so easy that I almost did not put it in the plan! Just slice the leftover turkey breast into serving-sized pieces, lay on a cookie sheet, and freeze. When frozen, put into a ziploc baggie in meal sized amounts. Freeze leftover gravy and mashed potatoes separately and you have an instant Thanksgiving style dinner without the work!

To serve: Thaw in fridge or microwave. Heat over to 350 and put slices in a casserole with lid. Pour gravy over top and reheat for 30 minutes or so. I have even put the mashed potatoes in with the turkey and gravy. Serve with steamed veggies and salad. Yum!

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Turkey Fried Rice

  • 3/4 cup diced cooked turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained and sliced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion (with tops)
  • Dash of white pepper
  1. Mix turkey, cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  2. Heat wok until hot (or use large, deep fry pan). Add 1 tbsp. oil; rotate wok to coat sides. Add eggs; cook and stir until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist. Remove eggs from wok.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. oil, rotate wok again. Add turkey, water chestnuts, mushrooms and 1/2 tsp. salt; stir fry one minute. Stir in soy sauce. Add chicken mixture, eggs, green onion, and white pepper, stir-fry 30 seconds.

Kim’s note: This should freeze fine, though I have not tried it. Rice does very well in the freezer, eggs tend to get tough unless mixed like this. Let me know how it turns out for you!

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Turkey Turnovers

  • 1/2 cups leftover cooked turkey meat (white and/or dark), chopped
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. finely cut fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup leftover turkey gravy
  • 2 tbsp. dry sherry
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream

For the pastry:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water
  1. Mix the turkey, parsley, chives, onion and green pepper with the turkey gravy. Add the sherry and season well to taste. Preheat the oven to 375′ F.
  2. For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour and rub the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add just enough ice water (the least possible amount) to work the ingredients quickly into a firm dough.
  3. On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough very thin, about 1/8 inch thick, and cut it into 4-inch squares. Put 1 tablespoon of the turkey filling on each square. Fold the dough over the filling into a triangle. Brush the edges with a little water and seal them securely.
  4. Beat the egg yolk with the cream and use it to brush the tops of the turnovers. Bake them on an ungreased baking sheet for about 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  5. To serve, pile the freshly baked turnovers on a hot folded napkin on a warmed serving plate and serve immediately.

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Turkey Tetrazzini-Style

  • 1 cup thin strips of leftover cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped, cooked spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup sliced, sauteed fresh mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. bread crumbs, mixed with softened butter
  • 4 to 5 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cream sauce:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 or 3 thin onion slices
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1 whole clove
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • salt and pepper
  • grated nutmeg
  1. Make cream sauce by first scalding the cream containing the onion, parsley, bay leaf and clove and then straining it.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan, stir in the flour and let this roux cook briefly before, stirring in the flavored cream.
  3. Simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, then season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Stir in the turkey, spaghetti and mushrooms.
  4. Mix well and turn the mixture into a buttered baking dish or six individual baking dishes. Sprinkle with the buttered bread crumbs mixed with the Parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated moderate oven at 375 degrees 10 to 15 minutes or until the crumbs are brown. Serve at once, while still bubbling.

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Quick and Easy

(make these on the fly with frozen diced turkey):

There are hundreds of ways to use turkey, here are just a few ideas. I have included some links to more ideas and recipes on the internet. When doing research for this plan, I found enough recipes to fill an entire cookbook! I decided to stay with recipes I have tried or know how to do, but there are so many other options! Be creative!

Turkey Salad in Pitas

Defrost turkey (I freeze chopped turkey in 2 cup portions) and mix with mayonaisse or ranch (we like to use insanity sauce-see the chicken plan). Line pitas with lettuce and tomato, then add turkey salad. Add bacon if desired. Yum!

Turkey Stir Fry

Chop up turkey and stir-fry in peanut oil with your favorite chopped vegetables. Try some Chinese veggies, such as bok choy or bamboo shoots, or use some old favorites, such as carrots, broccoli, onion, and celery.

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Turkey Club Sandwich

Defrost some dinner slices or shredded turkey. Put turkey on toasted bread with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and bacon. Add sprouts or cheese if desired.

Main dish salad with roasted turkey

Easy and good! Make a nice salad with different kinds of lettuces, some chopped broccoli and cauliflower, if desired. Top with tomatoes, turkey and cheese. I like to put ranch dressing or insanity sauce on top, you can use whatever dressing you like. Add bacon bits if you like.

Turkey Quesadillas

Put diced turkey and cheese into a tortilla and fold. You can freeze them, fry them or bake them. You can add green chilies or jalapenos, they are good just about any which way!

Turkey tacos/burritos

Chop and use in place of ground beef on tostadas, in tacos, and burritos.

Other Ideas:

Use in empanadas, hot pockets, chili, as a pizza topping, on top of baked potatoes, on nachos, as a bbq, in casseroles, quiche crepes with white sauce, with pasta, in pilaf, etc. The possibilities are endless!

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The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven…
The turkey shot out of the oven
And rocketed into the air,
It knocked every plate off the table
And partly demolished a chair.
It ricocheted into a corner
And burst with a deafening boom,
Then splattered all over the kitchen,
Completely obscuring the room.
It stuck to the walls and the windows,
It totally coated the floor,
There was turkey attached to the ceiling,
Where there’d never been turkey before.
It blanketed every appliance,
It smeared every saucer and bowl,
There wasn’t a way I could stop it,
That turkey was out of control.
I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure,
And thought with chagrin as I mopped,
That I’d never again stuff a turkey
With popcorn that hadn’t been popped.

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Twas the Night….
Twas the night before Christmas and in my sleep.
Strange dreams in my mind, began to creep
Turkey leftovers beckoned — The dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation with all of my might.
Tossing and turning with anticipation……
The thought of a snack became infatuation…..
So to the kitchen I did race, Flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge full of goodies galore.
I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.
I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
Till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground!
I crashed through the ceiling. Floating into the sky….
With a mouthful l of pudding and a handful of pie,
But I managed to yell as I soared past the trees.


Kim Tilley is the mother of three boys, ages 9,6 and 2. She is also a tightwad at heart. Her interests include cooking, crafts, gardening, computers, and saving money! When not typing away at the computer, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something out of nothing! Visit Kim’s website at

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