All images and recipes courtesy America’s Test Kitchen
You’ve enjoyed your Thanksgiving feast and even after your cousins have left with leftovers, there’s one thing you still have plenty of—turkey! Fortunately, there are a lot of culinary creations you can whip up with these leftover Thanksgiving turkey recipes and teach your kids some good lessons in the process.
“Repurposing leftovers from Thanksgiving is not only good for your fridge space and for reducing food waste but is an excellent way to encourage your kids’ creativity,” says Molly Birnbaum, editor in chief of America’s Test Kitchen Kids. “What dishes will be better with some leftover turkey, stuffing, or mashed potatoes? You’ll be surprised what your family can invent (and enjoy)!”
We’ve included a few leftover Thanksgiving turkey recipes to get you started. You can add turkey to a number of America’s Test Kitchen Kids recipes to amp up the flavor (and protein!), including (but not limited to) Kale Salad with Maple-Balsamic Dressing and Bean and Cheese Quesadillas. Use turkey in place of chicken or deli meat in Shredded Chicken Tacos and Ham and Cheese Sliders. And of course, you can always add stuffing, turkey, green beans, and whatever else sounds good to “Thanksgiving” Nachos. Enjoy!
1. Kale Salad with Maple-Balsamic Dressing and Thanksgiving Turkey
- 8 ounces curly kale
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard or mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 apple, cored and chopped
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- Tear kale leaves from stems and discard stems. Tear kale into small bite-size pieces.
- Place kale pieces in a bowl. Squeeze and massage kale until leaves soften and turn dark green, 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a small jar, combine oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, and salt. Cover the jar tightly with a lid and shake until the mixture is well combined, about 30 seconds.
- Add apple, almonds, turkey, and dressing to bowl with kale. Use tongs to toss salad until kale is well coated with dressing.
2. Bean, Cheese, & Turkey Quesadillas
- ⅓ cup canned black beans, rinsed
- 2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, measured separately
- 2 (8-inch) flour tortillas
- ⅔ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2⅔ ounces)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Add beans and 2 teaspoons of oil to the bowl. Mash beans with fork to chunky paste.
- Place tortillas on a baking sheet. Brush tortillas with remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Flip tortillas so the oiled side is on the baking sheet.
- Spread bean mixture over half of each tortilla. Add pieces of turkey. Sprinkle cheese over bean and turkey mixture. Fold tortillas in half, forming half-moon shape, and press to flatten.
- Bake quesadillas until spotty brown, 5-7 minutes. Let the quesadillas cool on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into wedges.
3. Shredded Thanksgiving Turkey Tacos
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise (substitute leftover turkey for the chicken breasts and start at Step 5)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 8 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas
- In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 1 minute (oil should be hot but not smoking). Use a wooden spoon to stir in garlic, chili powder, and salt and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in orange juice and Worcestershire sauce.
- Use tongs to carefully place chicken in the skillet. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 4 minutes.
- Use oven mitts to remove the lid. Use clean tongs to flip chicken pieces over. Cover and simmer until chicken registers 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 4 to 6 minutes. Use clean tongs to transfer chicken to a large plate.
- Cook liquid left in skillet until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off heat and slide the skillet to a cool burner.
- Use 2 forks to shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Return shredded chicken to the skillet and stir to coat with sauce.
- Heat chicken over medium heat until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cilantro. Cover to keep warm.
- Stack tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp dish towel. Heat in the microwave until warm, about 1 minute. Serve chicken in warmed tortillas with your favorite toppings.
4. Ham (or Turkey!) and Cheese Sliders
- 4 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 4 potato dinner rolls, sliced open
- 4 slices deli ham (replace with turkey)
- 8 dill pickle chips
- 2 slices deli cheddar cheese, cut in half
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Use a butter knife to spread mustard evenly over the insides of rolls.
- Layer 1 slice ham (or turkey), 2 pickle chips, and ½ slice cheese into each roll and press down gently (you should have 4 sliders).
- Place sliders on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and rolls are crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Use oven mitts to remove the baking sheet from the oven (ask an adult for help) and transfer to the cooling rack. Use spatula to carefully transfer sliders to 2 plates (baking sheet will be hot). Serve.
5. Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Nachos
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans
- 4 ounces tortilla chips
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
- 2 scallions, sliced thin
- 1 cup tomato salsa
- Turkey and other leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal
- Greek yogurt or sour cream (optional)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Set the colander in the sink. Open a can of pinto beans and pour into the colander. Rinse beans with cold water and shake colander to drain well. Measure out ½ cup beans; refrigerate remaining beans for another use.
- Spread half of the chips in an even layer in an 8-by-8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle chips evenly with half of the cheese.
- Sprinkle beans over cheese, then sprinkle half of scallions, turkey, and other Thanksgiving leftovers on top. Repeat with remaining chips, cheese, scallions, turkey, and Thanksgiving leftovers.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, 7 to 10 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove nachos from the oven (ask an adult for help). Place the baking dish on a cooling rack. Let cool for 2 minutes.
- Spoon half of salsa over top of nachos. Serve with remaining salsa and yogurt or sour cream.