A pile of leftovers is one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. But if you get bored with same old thing night after night, having loads of roasted turkey recipes on hand may be just what you need to breathe some new life into what’s left of your bird.
At first, remixing your meal may make you feel like you’re in a Chopped episode. But brainstorming a leftover turkey recipe that you’re actually excited about eating—and isn’t just a carbon copy of your OG holiday dinner—is simpler than you might think: You just need to keep a few things in mind. First, take inventory of which parts of the bird are left, and how much you’ve got to work with, Heidi Orrock, a fourth-generation turkey farmer and culinary educator at Diestel Family Ranch, tells SELF. The road you take with your dishes will depend on whether you have lots of the good stuff left (like light or dark meat) or if your poultry was a little more picked through (say, only giblets or bones remain), she explains.
If you have Tupperware filled with turkey breasts, thighs, or legs, you can make them the stars of your new dish. Try tossing the meat into a panini or risotto for a fancy lunch, Orrock says. On the other hand, if you have mere scraps, you’ll need to stretch them with hearty ingredients—say, like tortillas and cheese in enchiladas or potatoes and peppers in a hash—for a satisfying meal, she says. Stuck with just bones? You’re not out of luck: They add flavor and richness to stocks and soups. Simply boil the remaining carcass in some water along with vegetables and fresh herbs for a flavorful base, she says.
Whether you have pounds of turkey left over or just a few bones, you can still repurpose the Thanksgiving staple a whole bunch of ways—for lunch or dinner, sure, but even for breakfast, too. We’ve rounded up 21 roasted turkey recipes that are arguably better than your main holiday dinner. So, pull out your scraps and get ready to test some tasty ideas that’ll carry you through that cozy weekend after the big feast.
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