You did it again didn’t you? You bought the 25 pound turkey! Here are 7 Killer recipes to rescue your Thanksgiving leftovers!

Let’s face it, we only get turkey once or twice a year and we love it. The trouble is that after a couple of nights of non-stop turkey, you are ready to give it up until next Thanksgiving and hope no one in your family serves it for Christmas.

Thanksgiving, and Christmas for that matter, are wonderful opportunities to make homemade meals with very little time, money and effort since the main protein of the meal, the turkey, is already cooked and ready to go. Once that herculean task is completed, all you have to do is come up with delicious ways of using the leftovers. Simple Right? Right?

Fear not! This year we are giving you a jump-start on your post Thanksgiving meal planning.

Here are 7 terrific recipes you can whip up right after Thanksgiving and give your family a special treat. You can also freeze many of them for the crazy busy evenings in December when you don’t have time to create a whole meal and Chinese takeout is your only other option.

Super Simple Turkey Pot Pie

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Ingredients:

Two 9 inch frozen pie crusts

2 ribs of celery

1/2 onion, chopped

3 T Olive Oil

1 can of Campbell’s Garlic Mushroom Soup

1 cup milk

1 cup cooked turkey cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup of frozen mixed vegetables (you can also use chopped fresh vegetables of your choice.)

Here is what to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Take the pie crusts out of the package and let them sit for about 20 minutes or until they are almost thawed.

Put one of the pie crusts in the oven and bake until almost golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside. This will be the bottom crust for your pie.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped onions and celery, cook until soft.

In a bowl, pour the mushroom soup and milk and whisk together so there are no lumps. Pour this into the pan with the onion and celery. Heat until it bubbles. Stir constantly.

Add the chopped turkey and frozen vegetables to the pan and continue to heat the mixture until the vegetables are thawed and heated through.

Pour the mushroom soup mixture into the pie plate that you have already baked.

Take the second crust that has softened and take it out of the pie tin in small pieces. Use the pieces to create a “puzzle” type pie top by placing the bits over the top of the pie filling and overlapping them slightly. When it is done, it should look like the photo above.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown.

Serves 4

Enjoy!

Turkey Tortellini Soup

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This is one of my favorites because it is sooooo easy and so warm and nourishing on cold Winter’s nights. Pair this soup with the Puff Pastry Turkey Bites and you will have a fabulous meal .

Ingredients

1 large can and 1 small can of prepared chicken broth (You can use your own home made turkey broth. See below for instructions)

3 T olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 rib of celery, sliced

2 large carrots, sliced into coins

2 Garlic sausages cut into bite sized pieces

1 packages refrigerated tortellini of your choice (I like spicy Italian sausage tortellini but any tortellini are delicious.)

1 cups cooked turkey, chopped

1 small can tomato paste

1 t garlic salt

1/2 t oregano

1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

 

Here is what to do:

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and when it is sizzling, add the celery and onion. Cook until soft.

Pour the chicken or turkey broth into the soup pot and add the onion and celery mixture, the sliced carrots and the tomato paste.

Add the black pepper, garlic salt and oregano.

Cook until the carrots are halfway cooked (about 8 minutes).

Add the tortellini and cook until the pasta is al dente and the carrots are soft.

Add the garlic sausage and turkey and heat through. (2 minutes)

Serve with Puff Pastry Turkey Bites or good quality bread.

Serves 4

Puff Pastry Turkey Bites

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Who doesn’t love just a bite or two of something indulgent and delicious? With puff pastry you get buttery crisp richness in every bite. Add to that cream cheese, cheddar cheese and chopped broccoli and you have Heaven in a crispy little package. This pairs beautifully with soup or salad and makes an ordinary meal extraordinary.

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 400 F

1 package of puff pastry cups (I like Athens Mini Fillo Shells because the ratio of filling to pastry is perfect.)

one package of whipped cream cheese

1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup of lightly steamed broccoli, chopped small and allowed to cool. (It should still be a little bit crunchy)

1 cup cooked turkey chopped

1 small tomato cut into small pieces for garnish

Here is what to do:

Preheat oven to 400 F

On a greased baking sheet, lay out your puff pastry cups. Make sure they are completely thawed before adding filling.

In a large bowl, fold together the whipped cream cheese, the grated cheddar cheese, the chopped broccoli and the turkey, making sure you are not breaking up the broccoli and turkey too much. Mix until it is well incorporated.

Spoon the cheese mixture into the puff pastry cups and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Top the warm pastry bites with a small slice of tomato and serve immediately.

 Turkey and Black Bean Burritos with Red Sauce

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Want a spicy new take on leftover turkey? This recipe is a great change up to traditional Thanksgiving recipes and it is super simple. By starting out with jarred adobo sauce and dressing it up, you save time and still make it taste home made.

Ingredients:

1 package large flour tortillas

I can cooked, seasoned black beans (Or you can make them fresh, Please see instructions below)

1 cup cooked rice

1 cup cooked turkey, chopped

1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

4 T jarred Adobo sauce

1 8 oz. can tomato paste

Jarred salsa of your choice

Sour cream

Here is what to do:

Put the Adobo sauce mix in a sauce pan and add water 1 c water. Use the back of a spoon to crush the lumps and incorporate the mix in the water. As it cooks, add the tomato sauce and heat stirring constantly until it is fully incorporated and heated through. Set aside. (The consistency should be saucy so if you have to add more adobo or more water, please do.)

In a large bowl, mix the rice, black beans and turkey until well mixed.

In a skillet, heat one tortilla at a time. Take the tortilla and put a line of rice/bean filling on it. Put a pinch of grated cheese on top of the filling. Fold the top parts of the tortilla in and fold the sides, rolling the tortilla over. It should look like an envelope. (See photo)

Place filled tortillas on an oven safe plate and pour adobo sauce over then. Cover with grated Monterey Jack cheese and heat in the oven for 10 minutes (If you are starting with cold ingredients, heat them in the microwave prior to filling the tortillas.)

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Serves 6

Here is how to cook your own black beans:

Ingredients

1 package black beans

1/2 package of bacon

2 quarts of water

1 t garlic

1 T onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

To make your own black beans you must soak them overnight. To do this, use a large pot with a lot of water. Take the beans out of the package and inspect them for small rocks that sometimes find their way into the packages. Once you have done this, rinse the beans thoroughly and place them in the pot. Cover them with water (Use a lot because the beans will absorb the water and swell. You want to ensure that even when they do this, they are still covered with water.) Place the beans in the refrigerator over night.

To cook the beans, place them in a large pot and cover them with water. Place the chopped bacon in the pot and allow the beans to cook on medium heat until soft (Usually about an hour). If the water level falls, keep adding more as needed. The bean broth should have a soupy consistency.

Killer Turkey Sandwiches with Cranberry Pineapple Relish

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This is a wonderful new twist on the traditional after Thanksgiving favorite, the turkey sandwich. What makes this one special is the bakery fresh rolls and the cranberry pineapple relish. You are gonna love it!

Ingredients

For relish

1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries

2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 1/2 cup raisins

1 lemon, seeded and cut into quarters then sliced thinly

1 orange sliced  seeded and cut into quarters then sliced thinly

1/2 t ground cloves

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 cup peeled Granny Smith apples cut into bite sized chunks.

I small can pineapple, chopped

Here is what to do:

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cranberries, apples and pineapples.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Once the mixture boils, immediately turn the heat down and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Wash the cranberries and add them with the apples and pineapple to the mixture and simmer another 5 minutes. Once you hear the cranberries start to pop, take off heat and let cool.

For Sandwiches

4 bakery fresh rolls

2 pounds of cooked turkey, sliced

1 Tomato sliced

4 leaves of romaine lettuce, washed and dried

4 T Mayonnaise if desired

Slice the rolls open and spread lightly with mayonnaise. Place the sliced turkey on the roll and put a generous helping of apple cranberry relish on top of the turkey.

garnish with tomatoes and lettuce. Serve solo or with Turkey Tortellini Soup

Turkey Salad Nicoise

Salad nicoise

For those of you who overindulged on Thanksgiving and feel the need to eat light for a few days, this one is for you. It is a Thanksgiving take on the traditional Salad Nicoise. Nice (pronounced Neese) is a city in France and Nicoise indicates that this recipe originated from this area. Instead of  the traditional tuna, we are using cooked turkey.

Ingredients

2 cups of cooked turkey, chopped

2 cups of chopped romaine lettuce

4 Roma Tomatoes quartered

2 cups of cooked green beans

4 hard boiled eggs

4 small boiled potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

4 t capers, optional

olive oil

red wine vinegar

garlic salt (optional)

Here is what to do:

on 4 large plates, lay out the lettuce leaves in one quarter of the plate.

Use the rest of the plate to arrange the other vegetables, tomatoes and turkey in a nice arrangement. Slice up the hard boiled eggs and place one on each plate. Place the capers next to the lettuce.

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar adding each until you have the right ratio. (It may be different for different people. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the salad and, if desired, sprinkle with garlic salt, serve as a light and delicious main dish.

Pasilla Peppers Stuffed with Turkey, Rice and Black Beans

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Although these sound a bit adventurous, they are sooo easy to cook. this dish not only uses leftover turkey but any rice you have leftover as well. In fact, don’t be limited to rice, beans and turkey. Stuff them with whatever you think might be good. Just season your filling to taste before using it and you will be fine.

Ingredients:

4 Large Fresh Pasilla Chilis

2 cups cooked rice

1 can seasoned black beans (If you can’t find the seasoned ones, you can season them yourself with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.)

1 cup cooked turkey, chopped

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup Mexican Mole sauce (I personally like Dona Maria brand.)

1/2 cup Grated Monterey Jack cheese

Sour cream for garnish

Here is what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 F

Wash the chilis and slice them lengthwise. Take off the stem and take out the seeds. If you like your chilis hot, leave in the white membranes and veins. These are the hot parts and the more of them you leave in the hotter your chilis will be. If you don’t like it hot, use a spoon to scrape out any white parts you see.

In a pot of boiling water, boil the chilis for 8-9 minutes or until a little bit soft.

Take the chilis out and place them on a greased casserole dish or cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, combine the black beans, rice, turkey and cheddar cheese. Mix well

In a saucepan heat the mole sauce with enough water to keep the consistency of a sauce. (For more flavor. you can use chicken stock or your turkey stock, see recipe below) Use the back of a spoon to mash the mole sauce until there are no lumps and the sauce and water are well blended.

Spoon the rice mixture into the chilis so that each one has a generous portion.

Cover the chilis with foil and put them into the oven. Bake for 40 minutes.

Take out the chilis and drizzle the mole sauce over them. Put a pinch of Monterey Jack cheese over each one and but them back in the oven until the cheese melts (Approximately 5-8 minutes)

Plate the chilis and garnish with a generous dollop of sour cream. Serve with a salad.

Serves 4

Recipe for Home Made Turkey Stock

In a large stock pot, place 1/2 onion, roughly chopped, 1 rib of celery, roughly chopped, 1 carrot roughly chopped, 1 T cracked black peppercorns, 1 Bay leaf, and water to cover the turkey carcass.

Break the turkey carcass in pieces so that it fits in your pot and is covered by the water. Add all other ingredients. Bring contents of the pot to a boil on the stove and immediately turn the heat down to a low simmer. Simmer for 3 hours. Then let cool.

Take the larger pieces of turkey carcass out and discard. Using a large bowl and a cheesecloth, strain the broth into the bowl so that the broth is clear. Use this stock in soups, rice dishes, sauces and any other dish that requires liquid and in which you want to impart more flavor. You can freeze the broth for future dishes as well.

With all of these great recipes you will have a great time using all of your Thanksgiving leftovers and your family and guests will love them.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

For great tips on hosting a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner, click here: 10 Tips for Hosting an Amazing Thanksgiving Dinner

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Featured photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

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