Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you and your family are enjoying some well-deserved family time and a big turkey dinner together. This year we celebrated Thanksgiving with all the cousins at Grandma’s house. It was loud and busy and kind of chaotic, but it was the best kind of chaos, if you know what I mean!
With the arrival of crisp fall weather and Thanksgiving celebrations underway, it only makes sense that October is Canadian Turkey Month. The best part of Thanksgiving is celebrating the harvest and family and gratitude over a festive meal with family and friends. Of course we have turkey dinner on the brain!
As far as I’m concerned, the only thing better than a roast turkey dinner with all the fixings is turkey leftovers! Mmm…next day turkey with leftover stuffing, turkey sandwiches, turkey soup…we even put it in cheesy omelets the next morning!
You have to be smart when it comes to leftovers though. Be strategic by buying a turkey that’s a few pounds heavier than you need for your main meal. While sitting down to your Thanksgiving feast, the family will never guess that this meal is doing double duty with bonus meal starter packs for busy weeknights ahead.
Leftover turkey can be shredded, cubed, or sliced, then stored in the freezer to be used as a handy base for healthy meals. These portions of pure lean protein are your best friend in the kitchen! Use them in soups, salads, pastas, casseroles, wraps, sandwiches, and whatever else you can think of.
10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Turkey Leftovers
- To plan for leftovers, order a turkey that is several pounds bigger than what you need. That way you can be sure to cook once and eat twice, with leftover turkey to spare for additional meals once everyone has had their fill.
- Plan for leftovers by allocating 1½ – 2 pounds of turkey per person. This will give you ½ to 1 pound of extra turkey for each person at your table.
- Leftover turkey freezes well. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for a quick start to weekday meals. Visit www.canadianturkey.ca for recipe inspiration and make salads, soups, pastas, or casseroles in a snap!
- Make a list of your favourite leftover turkey recipes. Add to that list so when the holiday season comes around every year, you will have a head start with a selection of go-to recipes on hand.
- Divide your leftovers into dark and white turkey portions before freezing so it will be easy to choose what works best in your recipes.
- Make sure you store your leftovers properly for best results. Shred your turkey or cut it up into slices or cubes and freeze in convenient one pound meal base portions that are ready to use right from the freezer.
- Store your turkey in air-tight, leak-proof containers or plastic bags. Wrap in plastic to avoid freezer burn and you’ll have ready portions on hand.
- Make sure you pack your leftovers within two hours after cooking to maintain the quality of the food.
- Save and freeze the turkey carcass and bones too. Use these to make a delicious turkey stock that can easily be frozen for use in soups, sauces, gravies and mashed potatoes.
- Freeze any leftover gravy in muffin tins or ice cube trays. Once frozen, store in a zip top bag or air tight container and use as needed.
Canadian Turkey has tons of ideas and recipes to help you make the most out of your leftovers, but one of my favourite things to make with leftover turkey is homemade soup.
- 3 cups Canadian turkey leftovers, roughly chopped
- 8 cups turkey broth (homemade or store bought)
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup potatoes, chopped
- 1 cup gluten-free egg noodles
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1.5 lb turkey necks
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 8 cups water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine turkey necks, water, onions and bay leaves. (If using store-bought broth, skip to step 3.)
- Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste and boil for at least 1 hour, up to 3 hours. During cooking, skim any impurities from the surface. Strain.
- Combine broth and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer for 20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
- Add remaining vegetables, rosemary, and egg noodles.
- Simmer for 15 minutes until noodles are cooked through and vegetables are tender.
- Add turkey and remove rosemary.
- Remove 1 cup of soup and blend with a hand blender. Add back to soup to make it a little creamy.
- This soup freezes well and can be heated up for an easy weeknight meal. Batch up by doubling the recipe, or freeze any leftovers in family sized portions in an airtight container. This soup tastes great with a variety of vegetables. Use up any leftover veggies by adding into the soup at the end.
Whether you’re feeding a large crowd or making an intimate dinner for two, there are so many different ways to prepare a turkey meal that suits your tastes. Since turkey adapts well to pretty much any flavour profile, experiment using your family’s favourite spice blends, sauces, or rubs.
Never roasted a whole turkey before? Don’t worry! Canadian Turkey has everything you need with info, helpful resources, and step-by-step videos all in one place with their Whole Bird How-Tos. Their simple to use Whole Bird Turkey Calculator will help you easily figure out what size bird you need, thawing time, and cooking time. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to roast the perfect turkey for your next celebration meal!
Win a $75 The Bay/Home Outfitters Gift Card
We’re celebrating Thanksgiving and Canadian Turkey Month with a giveaway! One lucky reader will win a $75 Hudson’s Bay e-gift card redeemable at The Bay, Home Outfitters, or thebay.com. Enter to win in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, 18+. All entries will be verified.
Click here to check out my other open giveaways and be sure to like me on Facebook!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Canadian Turkey. Nevertheless, all opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. Your experience may differ.