Leftover Turkey Recipe Ideas
If you’re lucky enough to have a heap of turkey leftovers from a couple days ago, you’ve got a goldmine of protein at the ready. With just a few additional ingredients you can whip up something delicious quickly. Here are some ideas:
🦃Baked turkey pasta casserole with penne, mushrooms, and topped with cheese
🦃Turkey cranberry sauce and brie wraps
🦃Turkey enchiladas topped with salsa verde
🦃Burrito bowls with turkey, roasted corn, black beans, rice, fresh diced tomatoes and lime juice
🦃Turkey salad served on leftover crescent rolls
🦃Baked open-face buffalo turkey melt sandwiches
🦃Shredded BBQ turkey sandwiches with provolone and pickles
🦃Turkey chili with cornbread and honey
Did You Know This About Turkeys?
Here are some quick facts about turkeys you can use to impress your friends and family as you gather around the Thanksgiving table later next week:
🦃 Only male turkeys gobble.
They’ll make a variety of different sounds from yelps to purrs but only male turkeys make a “gobble” noise. In fact, male turkeys are referred to as “gobblers” and females are called “hens”.
🦃 Wild turkeys sleep in trees.
Wild turkeys can fly (domesticated ones can’t because they’re bred to be heavier) but spend most of their time on the ground. But at dusk they’ll make their way into trees for the night to protect them from predators.
🦃 Benjamin Franklin preferred turkeys over bald eagles.
While the story of him wanting the national bird to be a turkey is a myth, Benjamin Franklin did compare the virtues of turkeys versus bald eagles and said the bald eagle “is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly…[he] is too lazy to fish for himself.” Regarding the turkey, he said it’s “a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America” and a “Bird of Courage”.
🦃 Turkeys can see better than humans.
Their eyesight is three-times better than that of humans. They can see in color and their field of vision covers 270 degrees.
🦃 The first presidential Thanksgiving turkey pardon was in 1963. Kind of.
JFK was presented with a turkey to which he replied “we’ll just let this one grow” and later President Nixon sent a turkey that he was gifted to a petting zoo. President Reagan was technically the first to use the term “pardon” but the ceremony wasn’t formalized until 1989 with President George H.W. Bush.
🦃 The presidential turkeys pardoned this year are from Jasper, Indiana.
Their names are Peanut Butter and Jelly and they’ll live out the remainder of their lives at Purdue University’s Animal Sciences Research and Education Farm.
No, sweet potatoes and yams are not the same thing. And we’re sorry to break it to you, but you’ve probably never eaten an actual yam.
🍠 Sweet potatoes aren’t a type of yam either. They’re both tuberous root vegetables but don’t have much else in common.
🍠 Yams have tough outer skin that’s rough, dark brown, and almost looks like tree bark. They’re African in origin.
🍠 Yams usually have white insides and are more similar to white russet potatoes in texture and flavor. They aren’t sweet and have a more earthy flavor.
🍠 Sweet potatoes can actually be white, yellow, or orange on the inside. Their outer skin is much smoother than yams and can be colored white, red, purple, or brown.
🍠 You’re highly unlikely to find real yams in most US grocery stores as they’re typically only used in African or Caribbean cuisine. Typically when someone is talking about yams, they’re referring to the variety of sweet potato that has red/purple skin and orange insides.
🍠 The confusion in naming stems from the 1930s when Louisiana farmers sold their orange variety of sweet potatoes as “yams” (borrowed from the African name for yams, “nyami”) to differentiate them from white varieties of sweet potatoes also on the market. This practice has stuck around ever since.
🍠 Canned “yams” are common but if you look on the front label you’ll see that it says “cut sweet potatoes in syrup” in the same area.
🍠 So if you’re trying to make candied yams or sweet potato pie this year, rest assured what you’re buying in the store is the right thing - an orange sweet potato that will cook up soft, bright, and delicious!
Niacin, or vitamin B3, may not get much attention but there’s no denying that it’s an essential part of a healthy diet. Your body uses it for a huge variety of functions including changing the protein, fat, and carbs you eat into usable energy. Here are some of the best food sources of the vitamin:
• Yellowfin Tuna - 3oz, 117% Daily Value (DV)
• Beef Liver - 1 6-½” slice, 92% DV
• Turkey Breast - 3oz, 62% DV
• Sockeye Salmon - 3oz, 54% DV
• Chicken Breast - 3oz, 50% DV
• Portobello Mushrooms - 1 cup grilled, 47% DV
• Pork Chops - 3oz, 42% DV
• Brown Rice - 1 cup cooked, 32% DV
Canned Tuna Benefits
That can of tuna in your pantry may not seem like much, but it might be a good idea to consider adding it to your diet a couple times a week. A 5oz can of chunk light tuna has lots to offer:
🐟 There are only 90 calories for a 5oz can, but protein comes in high at 20g.
🐟 It’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids but low in overall fat.
🐟 You’ll get 120% of your daily vitamin B12 and 140% of your selenium. There’s also some iron, phosphorus, and vitamin D.
🐟 It’s versatile and can be used as a salad topper or in a casserole or sandwiches.
🐟 It’s portable, shelf stable, and can usually last around 3 years after purchase.
Fall Produce Picks
Eating seasonal produce is a great way to add variety to your diet! Fall is upon us and that means new varieties of vegetables are making their way into your local produce departments and farmer’s markets.
Pumpkin is the most obvious choice. Did you know they aren’t actually vegetables - they’re technically a berry. While most of us just think of jack-o-lanterns and porch decorations, pumpkin is actually a great source of fiber and beta-carotene. In your body, beta-carotene converts to vitamin A which supports both your eyes and your skin.
Although pears are generally available year round, they are most delicious in the fall. They actually don’t ripen on the tree, and instead continue to ripen at room temperature. There are many varieties of pear flavors and textures - some are better fresh and others are better when cooked. Pears can be grilled, poached, sliced and added to salads or sandwiches, or even thrown in smoothies. If you leave the peel on they’re also a good source of fiber.
🍠 Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are also typically available year round but definitely have a mental association with Thanksgiving. They are full of fiber and vitamin A and are also a great source of potassium and vitamin C.
Did you know that after the first frost or snow that kale actually has a more mild and sweeter taste? Kale is packed with vitamins A, C, and K and also manganese plus one cup of kale only has 8 calories! Sauté it, throw it in a soup, or use it in a salad - if you add your dressing and let it sit for a bit it will become more tender.
• Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta. It’s low in calories and gluten-free. On the outside it looks just like other types of squash, but once cooked, the inside can be scraped to create spaghetti-like strands. We like to add it to soups or even add marinara or pesto for a nice side dish.
It's Officially Soup Season
It’s officially soup season and we’re sharing with you some ways to make your soup pack a punch with nutrient dense foods that will also help support your immune system!
🍲 Start with a base like chicken, turkey or beef stock - we’re also a fan of broths like vegetable, chicken, turkey, beef, and bone broths. Bone broths will up your protein content and are also great for gut health, which in turn, is great for boosting your immune system!
🍲 Then add in your protein sources. Things like black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, and lentils all provide fiber as well as many other beneficial micronutrients like folate, manganese, and copper. Meat proteins like chicken, turkey, and beef are also great options.
🍲 Soup is also a great way to sneak in vegetables that otherwise picky eaters might not eat. We love adding in greens such as spinach and kale. Other vegetables that are great add-ins are squashes like butternut, spaghetti, and zucchini. Adding in mushrooms, green beans, onions, carrots, corn, and celery are also a great way to add in flavor while also giving you tons of added nutrients. We love using fresh ingredients when possible, but opting for frozen vegetables can speed up your prep time!
🍲 Don’t forget your spices! You can give your soups great ethnic variety by adding in cumin and turmeric together to give an Indian feel. Garlic, ginger, and coriander for a Thai inspired flavor. Adding in paprika to a tomato base can lend a Mexican or Spanish flavor, and basil and oregano together can give you a more Italian style soup. Not only do spices add in flavor, certain spices like turmeric have anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
🍲 It’s also fairly easy to double or even triple most recipes which allows you to portion and freeze the leftovers easily for nights when you’re short on time...your future self will thank you!