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Reinventing Leftover Turkey

Following Thanksgiving, you may have lots of leftover turkey, and I have eight clever ways to share with you to reinvent those delicious leftovers. Let's play "hide the turkey!"

#1 Turkey Stock

If you have leftover veggies like carrot, celery, onion, and garlic, now is the time to make a big pot of stock with leftover turkey pieces. Homemade stock will give your recipes an unbeatable true turkey flavor.

Place the leftover turkey pieces and bones in a pressure cooker along with all the scraps and skins from the diced onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Fill with water and season with a hefty pinch of salt, pepper and throw in extra herbs. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how much time you have. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into a clean container, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids.

Using a large spoon, skim excess fat from surface of broth. (Broth can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for several months.) The intense heat of the pressure cooker promotes the extraction of flavor compounds from bones, skin, and encourages the breakdown of proteins into peptides, which produces noticeably rich meatiness.

#2 Panzanella Salad

This Panzanella Salad with cubed bread and roasted vegetables are soaked with the most delicious vinaigrette. Add torn leftover turkey for a complete meal that no one would guess is actually leftover turkey.

#3 Curried Turkey Coconut Soup

Curried Turkey Coconut Soup is such an unexpected and delicious twist on using up leftover turkey. Add a can of coconut milk, a jar of green curry paste, a little chicken stock and then your torn turkey pieces and serve a hot bowl of Thai soup with a side of crusty bread. Dinner in under 30 minutes!

#4 Turkey Pot Pie

This Turkey Pot Pie is such a classic leftover turkey recipe. You will likely have extra celery, onion, carrots, and garlic from your marathon cooking on Thanksgiving, use them all up in this classic dish.

#5 Thai Turkey and Sweet Potato Soup

Similar to the Curried Turkey Coconut Soup above, this Thai Turkey and Sweet Potato Soup uses a can of coconut milk but is seasoned with a jar of red curry paste. The cubed sweet potatoes cook right in the flavorful broth. Tear up the leftover turkey for a surprisingly filling soup for dinner.

#6 Turkey and Dumplings

Use a can of biscuits to make the dumplings, and leftover turkey torn into bite-size pieces for the easiest Turkey and Dumplings recipe ever. It's not soup, it's not stew, let's call it "stoup."

#7 Pumpkin Pasta with Shredded Turkey

Pumpkin Pasta with Shredded Turkey is what I call "fancy mac and cheese." A cup of pumpkin puree is added to cream and cheese to make the most deliciously easy sauce for whatever dried pasta you find in your pantry. By adding leftover turkey in place of chicken sausage, you can serve an entire meal in one bowl.

#8 Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Panini

The last recommendation is a no-brainer, and also my husband's most favorite way to eat leftover turkey - between two slices of white bread with a thin slather of mayonnaise and a thick spoonful of cranberry jelly from the can.

Using provolone, leftover turkey, mayo, and cranberry sauce, I like to press the sandwich in a panini press or on the stove under a heavy cast iron skillet.

Feeding a crowd? Use a package of Hawaiian rolls and cut in half, so you have one large top and one large bottom sheet of rolls. Layer with turkey slices, cranberry jelly and then cut into individual sliders.

The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends eating or freezing leftovers within 4 days. Hopefully, I have given you enough ideas on how to hide that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, so your family doesn't say, "not turkey again!"

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