Every year I get a little carried away with the turkey. It’s fifty percent rooted in my upbringing and fifty percent in glutting. I was raised in a German home where the belief was it is always better to have too much to offer than not enough. I also love the leftovers and the delicious meals I can make with them and sharing a container or two with those that sat at our table.
As our turkey table started to grow with family, friends, the widowed neighbor, and the bachelor from town the bird started to morph from a modest 15-pound turkey into a 30-pound beast that sits precariously on the bottom rack of the oven. The first year we all gathered around the table I was teased mercilessly about the size of the turkey. After sending everyone home with a takeaway container of leftover slices the joke turned from mocking the size to asking if it was big enough.
I know I am not alone. I am betting you will soon be looking at your own leftovers and wondering how you will use them up. For the rest of the month, I will be sharing ways to use the leftovers that do not feel like leftovers at all. Let’s start with the easiest way to use up the turkey: sandwiches.
Here are my three favorites:
Turkey Bacon Melt:
Ingredients: 8 slices cranberry bread, garlic aioli, 4 ounces sliced leftover turkey, 8 slices bacon, 1 sliced avocado, and 4 slices mozzarella cheese.
Instructions: Toast the cranberry bread and spread with a thin layer of garlic aioli. Lay out one slice of toast. Stack an ounce of sliced turkey, 2 slices of cooked bacon, a few avocado slices, 1 slice of mozzarella, and top with another piece of toast. Repeat using the remaining bread making 4 sandwiches. Wrap each sandwich in foil. Place in a warm oven preheated to 250°F. oven for 5 – 8 minute, or so until the cheese is melted. Remove foil and enjoy!
Turkey Soprano Panini
Ingredients: 6 ounces leftover turkey strips, olive oil, 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 5-ounce jar roasted red peppers, 4 provolone cheese slices, 4 ounces mozzarella cheese slices, 8 fresh basil leaves, 4 ounces sliced pepperoni, 4 ciabatta rolls, garlic aioli.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine the turkey strips with olive oil, black pepper, and minced garlic. Transfer to a baking sheet covered in foil saving room for the peppers and the rolls. Add the peppers next to the turkey. Brush the inside of 4 ciabatta rolls with olive oil, place oiled side down on baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until turkey and peppers are warm, and the buns are toasted, about 5 minutes.
Lay out the bottom half of one roll, toasted side up, and spread with garlic aioli. Top with a slice of provolone cheese, 2 fresh basil leaves, 1 ounce of sliced pepperoni, 1/4 of the turkey, 1/4 of the roasted red pepper, 1 slice of mozzarella cheese, and the top roll. Wrap the sandwich loosely in foil. Repeat with the remaining buns. Lay the sandwiches on a preheated panini grill, working in batches if needed, and cook for 7 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and serve immediately.
Roasted Turkey Sandwich with Balsamic Cranberry Relish
Ingredients: Leftover cranberry sauce (or canned if needed) 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 8 slices of multi-grain bread, 4 teaspoon mustard, 4 lettuce leaves, 1 thinly sliced Anjou pear, 8 slices cooked bacon, 6 ounces leftover turkey slices.
Instructions: In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine the cranberry sauce, lemon zest, balsamic vinegar, pecans, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Spread the bread with mustard. Layout 4 slices of bread. Dividing the ingredients into fourths, top with lettuce, cranberry relish, pears, bacon, and turkey. Place the top bread on sandwiches. Slice and serve!
How do you use your turkey leftovers? – Ella💙