Two things about the day after Thanksgiving are relatively certain: you will have leftover turkey, and you won’t feel much like cooking. To make your post-holiday weekend as pleasant as possible, here’s a collection of creative, low-effort recipes to use turkey in ways that your crowd will be excited about.
After dinner on Thanksgiving, take an extra moment to remove all the meat from your turkey carcass and pack it away in a lidded container or zipper baggies. Save skin and any other scraps to the side. Then break up the turkey carcass (so it takes up less room), scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the roasting pan and store it with the scraps in another large baggie.
REALLY GOOD TURKEY STOCK
The secret to a flavorful, brown turkey stock is roasting the bones with some vegetables until they are brown, then slow-cooking them starting with cold water.
- 1 turkey carcass, broken into pieces
- 2 carrots, washed but not peeled
- 1 yellow onion, quartered, not peeled
- 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
- Ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place everything on a large cookie sheet. Break the carrots into a few pieces. Roast for approximately 1 hour or until everything is very brown. Scrape it all into a large pot, run water over the pan to lift up any brown goodness on the bottom and add to the pot, then run in cold water to just cover the ingredients. Add pepper, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Strain. Discard the vegetables (your dog will love the carrots). Now you have delicious roasted turkey stock to use for soup or any other recipe.
TURKEY AND BISQUICK DUMPLINGS
I adore Bisquick, and love to make drop dumplings with it when I don’t feel like rolling and cutting.
- 1 quart good turkey stock
- 3 cups pulled turkey meat
- 2-1/4 cups Bisquick baking mix
- 2/3 cup milk
Bring the turkey stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Taste and add salt to your taste. Add the turkey meat and keep stock at a lively simmer. Lightly mix the Bisquick and milk until a soft dough forms. Don’t overmix. Drop by tablespoons onto the top of your simmering stock. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered, then cover and cook for 10 minutes more.
TURKEY SALAD WITH TROPICAL FRUIT AND PEANUTS
This recipe originated on a post-Thanksgiving day when no one wanted to cook, but there was nothing in the fridge but leftover turkey, celery and the usual condiments. An inventory of the pantry turned up half a bag of dried tropical-fruit mix and a few honey-roasted peanuts. Out of desperation was born a delicious, crunchy new take on turkey salad that is my favorite to this day. It’s the honey-roasted nuts that really make the dish.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch salt
- 2 cups diced turkey meat, preferably white
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1/2 cup diced dried-fruit mix with papaya and pineapple
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts
In a medium mixing bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve as a sandwich, with crackers, or as a topping for lettuce and fresh vegetables. This is even better the second day.
SMOKY CHIPOTLE TURKEY MEGA-CLUB
Turkey clubs are a classic favorite. But to add some excitement to that third-day turkey, let’s make it a Smoky Chipotle Mega-Club.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce
- 1 round loaf focaccia, store-bought or homemade
- 1 pound sliced or pulled turkey meat
- 10 strips bacon, fried or microwaved and blotted
- 2 tomatoes, sliced thin
- 6 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, sliced
- Leaf lettuce
Mix the mayonnaise and hot sauce and set aside.
Carefully cut the loaf horizontally into three slices -- bottom, middle and top. If your focaccia is too flat to make three slices, two will do fine. If you like, you may butter and toast all cut sides of the bread in a large hot skillet. You also may skip this step if you don’t feel like washing another skillet this week.
Spread the bottom crust with mayonnaise, then add lettuce, turkey and cheese. Spread the middle layer of bread, if you have it, with mayonnaise on both sides and place it atop the turkey layer. Then add lettuce, tomato and bacon. Spread mayonnaise on cut side of top crust and place it on top. Insert toothpicks or sandwich picks before cutting the loaf into six wedges.