Not Your Average Turkey Day Leftovers

When I cook Thanksgiving dinner, I make A TON of food for my little family, more than we could ever dream of eating. I do so, ’cause I like to have leftovers for about a week. I mean, if you are going to do all that work, you might as well reap the benefits for a while.

However, after a day or two of  reheating straight up leftovers, you start getting tired of them, no matter how good they are. That’s why it’s good to change things up. Everyone knows how to make turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, and turkey soup. I thought I’d share a few less conventional recipes that my family has enjoyed. The first two are not gluten free unless you use gluten free won ton wrappers and gluten free pasty dough. If you do so, please let me know how they turn out!

I should warn you that the first 2 recipes are a little time-intensive, but are actually pretty foolproof and really easy to make (so long as you let the dough thaw completely!). They go a good deal faster if you have more than one person to help prepare them. Plus, they taste fabulous and are quite impressive. The third is really quick to throw together, and has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Thanksgiving “Pot Stickers”

I made this for years before going gluten free. It was my most looked forward to post-Thanksgiving meal. Last year was my first gluten free Thanksgiving, and boy did I miss these little things! I have seen some recipes to make gluten free pot stickers. I might try that this year if I’m feeling up to it. (I’m not real big on making dough from scratch.) Either way, I thought I’d share this awesome recipe with you.

NOTE: You can play with this recipe, and include whatever you want inside. Chop up some leftover green beans. Add a little mashed potato instead of the egg to bind it. Just have fun! I used to serve it with “lo mein.” Just some spaghetti noodles with cabbage and shredded carrots, and a little stir fry sauce. Yum!

I can’t find the original source for this image. Mine never looked this pretty, and some of them were folded like the not-so-traditional bow ties, but it’s the flavor that counts, right?

makes 20 pot stickers

1 (14 oz) package wonton wrappers
1 ½ cups cooked shredded turkey
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup diced onions (or scallions)
1 egg, beaten
1 small can water chestnuts drained and chopped (optional)
oil if frying  (safflower or peanut work well)

¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup cranberry sauce
2 Tb rice vinegar
Scallions (optional)

1. Mix the turkey through the water chestnuts in a bowl. Put a small amount (about a teaspoon—don’t overfill) into the center of each wonton wrapper.

2. Wet the edges of the wonton and fold together. You can be creative with how you wrap them, or keep it simple.

3. If baking, preheat oven to 425, and bake for about 12-15 minutes.

4. If frying, put about ¼ to ½ inch of oil in your skillet and fry for about 1 minute per side.

5. Whisk together vinegar, soy and cranberry sauce for dipping. Top with raw scallions. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Phyllo “Hot Pockets” with Gruyere AKA “Gruyere Turkey en Croute”

This is one I copied years ago from an old Pampered Chef catalog. It’s yummy. The recipe was originally for chicken, but it is also great with turkey.

Picture from My Happy Meals. Looks yummy, huh?

makes 8 pockets

1 6 oz package fresh baby spinach
1 tsp butter or margarine or olive oil
1 med onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 12 oz jar roasted red peppers drained and patted dry, diced (or roast your own fresh peppers)
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) gruyere cheese, divided
2 1/2 cups cooked turkey, diced
24 sheets (9×14″) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Nonstick cooking spray

Dijon Cream Sauce
1 Tbsp butter
1 garlic clove pressed or chopped
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Chop spinach , Cut onion lengthwise into quarters without cutting through root end. Slice onion, should make small diced pieces. Melt butter on med-high heat. Add onion, salt, black pepper, and garlic pressed or chopped. Cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add spinach and cook 2-3 minutes or
until wilted. Drain spinach mixture using a small colander; squeeze dry using paper
towels and set aside.

2. Dice roasted peppers. Coarsely grate 1 cup of the cheese.. Combine roasted peppers, cheese and chicken in Mixing Bowl; stir together and set aside.

3. Unfold one sheet of phyllo onto a large cutting board. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Finely grate about 1 tablespoon of the remaining cheese over phyllo. Repeat two more times to create a stack of three sheets phyllo, ending with cheese. Place 1 tablespoon of the spinach mixture onto phyllo 2 inches from short end. Place ½ cup chicken mixture over spinach. Fold sides of phyllo in toward center; gently roll up. Place onto baking pan or stone, seam side down. Repeat with remaining phyllo, spinach mixture and chicken mixture for a total of eight bundles.

4. Spray outside of each bundle with nonstickcooking spray. Finely grate remaining cheese over each bundle. Bake 20-22 minutesor until golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut bundles in half diagonally.

5. While the bundles are cooking, make sauce: In a 4qt. casserole melt butter and garlic over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and cayenne pepper; stir until smooth. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly till the mixture has a nutty aroma (do not let mixture brown). Add milk all at once and stir with a whisk until mixture comes to a boil and is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in Dijon Mustard. Serve immediately.

Turkey Pot Pie with Mashed Potato or Corn Bread Crust

This recipe is adapted from Christina Ferrare’s Chicken pot pie with cornbread crust recipe, one of our family favorites. If you’ve got a ton of mashed potatoes left over, top it with that. If not, try the cornbread crust. It’s delicious!

Image by Christina Ferare, click to go to the original recipe

makes 4-6 servings, can easily be doubled

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium Onion , chopped
1/4 cup flour (or corn starch or other thickener of choice if gluten free)
2 cups chicken stock (or turkey stock if you have it)
2 cups chopped Roasted Turkey
1/2 cup frozen sweet petite peas
1 potato , diced and parboiled
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots, parboiled (that just means take the chopped carrots and potatoes and drop them in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften them)
Salt and pepper
Dash of hot sauce

Mashed potatoes OR Cornmeal mix of choice, either store bought package or home recipe prepared up to (but not including) the baking–There is a recipe for her cornbread crust on the website.

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.

2. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and unsalted butter together. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add in flour until blended. If using corn starch, skip to the next step.

3. Slowly stir in 2 cups of heated chicken stock, whisking well. Cook mixture over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 4 minutes.

4. If using corn starch, mix about 1/4 cup of corn starch with 1/2 cup of cold water. Slowly pour into the bubbling broth, whisking, until thickened.

5. Stir in chicken, peas, potato, carrots, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Pour into a 2-quart ovenproof casserole dish coated with cooking spray and spread mixture evenly.

6. I recommend adding a dash of hot sauce to the corn bread mixture as well. Spread cornbread mixture over the top of the filling. Or, if using mashed potatoes, spoon those over the top.

7. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the cornbread mixture is cooked all the way through, or the mashed potatoes are hot all the way through, and browned on top.

What are some of your favorite non-traditional Thanksgiving leftover recipes? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

These look yummy. We have turkey noodle soup and turkey pot pie on the menu but Alex is excited about the idea of Thanksgiving potstickers. I have a TON of leftover turkey

Great recipes!

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