Holiday Leftovers: 5 Wonderful Ways To Serve Turkey

When the relatives leave and the garland droops, only the turkey remains. Here's how to make the most of your leftover Christmas bird.

At the holidays, as long as a meal is made with love and enjoyed in good company, it can't be bad for you. If that describes Christmas for you, great! If not, well, there's always leftovers.

No yuletide spread is finished until leftover foods are sent home to loved ones in containers and tins. The only problem is that many of us only eat turkey once or twice each year. So when we open that foil-wrapped plate on December 27, we're at a loss as to what to do with it. We numbly slather the turkey in coagulated gravy, pile up some diet-destroying dressing, and nuke the whole mess in the microwave until it bubbles.

There must be a better way. Luckily, there is! Turkey is a versatile and lean protein source?leaner than chicken?and it works well as the centerpiece of a number of quick, healthy meals. Let's meat (ha!) a few of them.

Creamy Turkey Skillet

When you need a hot dinner that can be adapted to whatever you have in the fridge or the pantry, a creamy turkey skillet fits the bill. Loaded with fiber and good fats, it will you keep you satisfied for hours.

  1. Mix together the orange juice, mayo, and honey and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the skillet and add the garlic. Sauté the broccoli and peppers until tender.
  3. Add in the turkey and allow flavors to blend before pouring over sauce.
  4. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Place over cooked barley and then sprinkle with walnuts, sesame seeds, and cranberries.
Nutrition Facts
Makes 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 435
Total Fat 11.75g
Total Carbs 43g
Protein 37.5g

Creamy Turkey Skillet PDF (70 KB)

Creamy Turkey Pasta Salad

If you're on a mass-building diet plan, this cold turkey salad dish offers a great change of pace from the onslaught of eggs, sweet potatoes, and protein shakes. The grapes and celery help make it refreshing and crunchy, and it lasts well enough over a couple of days to pack to work. Nutritionally, it offers a good combination of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

  1. Begin by cooking the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the Greek yogurt, mayo, vinegar, and Dijon mustard.
  3. In a bowl, toss together the turkey, drained pasta, celery, red grapes, and raisins. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat.
  4. Sprinkle pecans on top and toss one more time before serving.
Nutrition Facts
Makes 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 308.25
Total Fat 9g
Total Carbs 32.75g
Protein 28g

Creamy Turkey Pasta Salad PDF (70 KB)

Turkey Wild Rice Soup

Following a dietary scheme during winter can be a cold and lonely assignment, but a hot bowl of soup makes for the perfect savory, guilt-free pick-me-up. Tailor this classic recipe to your favorite vegetables, or one you've been curious to try, like kale. You can't go wrong.

  1. In a pot or tall saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and then sauté the onions and mushrooms.
  2. Next, add in wild rice and water according to package directions
  3. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer to cook the rice.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large pot filled with the chicken broth and water.
  5. Once boiling, add in remaining vegetables and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender.
  6. Stir in the turkey and rice mixture and then cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Nutrition Facts
Makes 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 368.5
Total Fat 7g
Total Carbs 44.5g
Protein 31.7g

Turkey Wild Rice Soup PDF (70 KB)

Mexican Turkey Soup

There may be no better way to use up leftover turkey than to make up a batch of turkey soup. But don't think you're limited to soups where the dominant flavor is broth.

This non-traditional recipe is loaded in antioxidant content, high in protein, and packs plenty of fiber. Sprinkle some cumin, chipotle, or chili pepper in while it's cooking, and your house will smell as good as the soup tastes!

  1. Heat chicken broth and water together in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Once heated, add in salsa, turkey breast, corn, tomatoes, green pepper, and turkey.
  3. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  4. Meanwhile, brush the soft tortillas with olive oil and then bake at 350 degrees for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Ladle into serving bowls and then top with black olives and shredded cheese. Break the baked tortillas unto bite sized pieces and place on top of soup. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Makes 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 358
Total Fat 17.5g
Total Carbs 21g
Protein 28.25g

Mexican Turkey Soup PDF (70 KB)

Healthy Turkey Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a classic comfort food that some people just can't deny themselves. Luckily, it works just as well with turkey as with fatty pork and beef. With oatmeal and salsa for fiber and a flavor kick, this unique take on meatloaf tastes just as good cold (like in a meatloaf sandwich) as it does as a hot dinner. Feel free to add any other diced vegetables as desired.

  1. Begin by heating an oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Next, combine the turkey, egg, salsa, peppers, onion, celery, oatmeal, garlic, and onion flakes until well mixed. Place into loaf pan firmly.
  3. Place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Nutrition Facts
Makes 2 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 158.5
Total Fat 5g
Total Carbs 14g
Protein 15g

Healthy Turkey Meatloaf PDF (70 KB)

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