If turkey is on the menu this holiday season, you might find yourself saddled with more leftovers than you know what to do with. In fact, I’m convinced it’s impossible not to end up with (at least) a day’s worth of extra meat. So what’s the best way to use up your bird in the days following Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Simple turkey sandwiches are always yummy, but if you’re looking to expand your leftover repertoire, we hope our recipes will come in handy. Some are annual traditions for staff members at Bellingham Alive, others are fresh ideas, and each and every one is delicious.

If you don’t have turkey on your holiday table this year, feel free to substitute it with whatever protein is available (including plant-based alternatives).

Turkey Apple Salad with Cashews and Cranberries

2 ½ cups turkey

Fresh Ingredients:
3 stalks of celery, chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped apple
¼ cups cashews (substitute with almonds or walnuts)
½ cups Greek nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1. To make the dressing, combine Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and mayonnaise in a small bowl and stir.
2. Add remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and top with dressing. Mix well, then serve.

Phanaeng Turkey Curry

Recipe courtesy of Chef Usanee Klimo at Maikham in Fairhaven

1 ½ pounds turkey

Fresh Ingredients:
3 cups coconut cream
½ cup Phanaeng curry paste
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
1 ½ tablespoons chili oil
½ cup of Thai basil
2 tablespoons finely shredded kaffir lime leaves
Salt to taste

1.Heat 2 cups of coconut cream to a boil in a pot at medium heat, stirring for 5–6 minutes.
2.Add Phanaeng curry paste. Stir until the mixture is almost dry and fragrant.
3.Add turkey and stir for 2 minutes. Add fish sauce and coconut sugar, then stir to coat the turkey.
4.Add the remaining coconut cream, reduce heat, and simmer until the sauce is thickened. Gently stir to prevent burning the bottom of the pot.
5.Add chili oil, curry powder, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai basil. Stir again and turn the heat off.

Cranberry Sauce Cosmopolitan

Makes 2 cocktails

Cranberry sauce is arguably one of the most divisive ingredients at the holiday dinner table, but it’s also more versatile than its reputation suggests. Even the staunchest of cranberry haters might find a way to love it when paired with… well, just about anything but turkey. If you find yourself with an (over)abundance of this signature Thanksgiving condiment, a creative solution can be found where you’d least expect it: Cocktail hour.

2 tablespoons cranberry sauce (whole, not jellied)

Fresh Ingredients:
3 ½ ounces vodka
2 ounces triple sec or Cointreau
1 ounce lime juice

1.Add ingredients and ice into a cocktail shaker. Mix well and strain.
2.Pour drinks into cold martini glass and garnish with lime peel.

Turkey Enchiladas

Recipe courtesy of Jenn Miranda

3 cups turkey, shredded

Fresh Ingredients:
6 corn tortillas
14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
4 ounce can diced green chilis, mild
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup chopped mushrooms, fresh or canned
2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder

Optional Toppings:
Cojita cheese
Shredded Mexican-style cheese
Sliced black olives

19 ounce can green enchilada sauce
19 ounce jar garlic alfredo sauce

1.In a large bowl, mix turkey, tomatoes, chilis, beans, mushrooms, spices, and 2 cups of cheese.
2.Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, simmer sauce ingredients on low heat while stirring for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
3.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 9-by-11-inch baking dish, start by pouring a thin layer of sauce to coat the bottom.
4.Steam 6 large corn tortillas in a tortilla steamer or between two paper plates for 25 seconds on high in the microwave. This helps them to not crack when rolling.
5.Generously fill each tortilla with filling. Roll one end closed, burrito-style.
6.Place snugly in the pan, flaps down. Pour all remaining sauce over enchiladas. Use a spoon to push the closed end under the sauce.
7.Garnish with a generous layer of cheese and your choice of toppings.
8.Bake covered for 35 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove cover and broil on high for 10 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Turkey Biscuit Bake

2 cups turkey, chopped
2 cups veggies (substitute with 2 cups cooked carrots, corn, and peas)

Fresh Ingredients:
1 container refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
2 tablespoons butter
¹/3 cup flour
1 small leek, chopped
1 ½ cups chicken broth
¾ cups milk
2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.Melt butter in a 10 inch skillet and saute leek until tender.
3.Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Once blended, gently add in milk and broth, stirring as you pour.
4.When the sauce thickens, add turkey, thyme, and vegetables. Cook until warmed.
5.Top with biscuits and bake until golden brown and bubbly.

Thanksgiving Gumbo

Recipe courtesy of Spencer Moore

2 cups turkey, shredded

Fresh Ingredients:
½ pound sausage (andouille, kielbasa, or Italian all work well)
1 ¼ cups flour
1 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1 onion
1 bell pepper, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
½ pound okra (fresh or frozen)
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth
Cayenne pepper
Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1.Saute onion, bell pepper, and celery until softened.
2.Add okra and minced garlic. Stir until fragrant.
3.To make your roux, heat canola oil in a heavy bottomed pot and whisk in flour when hot. Over medium heat, stir constantly until roux is thick and dark walnut in color. This will take time. Adjust heat as needed and, if you notice burnt black specks, start over.
4.Once roux is finished, mix in vegetables.
5.In a large pot, bring broth to a slight boil. Add roux and vegetables to broth about 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Once roux dissolves, add another cup. Repeat until fully combined.
6.Continue stirring and add meat, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 2 bay leaves.
7.Simmer for at least two hours.
8.Once finished, remove bay leaves, adjust seasoning, and add Tabasco sauce for an additional kick if desired.

Red Pepper Redo

Recipe courtesy of Jenn Miranda

¼ cup stuffing
¼ cup turkey or ham
¼ cup veggies
4 tablespoons gravy

Fresh Ingredients:
4 large red bell peppers
2 tablespoons cilantro
2 tablespoons red onion
¹/8 cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.Mix 2 tablespoons gravy and 2 tablespoons water. Spread across the bottom of a glass baking dish to prevent sticking.
3.Finely chop cold leftover ingredients and place in a dish. Mix in remaining gravy.
4.Add chopped onion, feta, and cilantro. Mix well, then warm in microwave for 1 minute, covered.
5.Slice bell peppers across the top, creating a lid. Remove ribs and seeds and rinse well.
6.Place wet peppers snugly in a glass baking dish and salt and pepper the insides. Fill each pepper to the top with stuffing and sprinkle mozzarella.
7.Bake without the tops for 15 minutes, then add lids to each pepper and bake an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is golden bubbly.
8.Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

Pesto Pizza with Turkey


1 cup turkey, shredded
Leftover veggies (substitute with sun-dried tomatoes)

Fresh Ingredients:
12-inch pizza crust, premade
¹/3 to ½ cup pesto
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced (not pre-shredded)
2 handfuls fresh arugula
Fresh basil, torn

1.Preheat the oven according to pizza crust directions.
2.Layer pesto, cheese, turkey, and vegetables. Chopped green beans work especially well here. If no leftover veggies are available, sub with sun-dried tomatoes.
3.Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.
4.Once cool, top with fresh arugula and basil if desired.

Turkey Risotto with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

1 + ¼ cups shredded and warmed turkey, divided
8 cups well-seasoned turkey stock (sub with chicken stock)

Fresh Ingredients:
2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
2 tablespoons butter + more to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 ounce log goat cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons torn parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1.In a large pot, begin by heating the stock until it simmers.
2.Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy saucepan and cook onion until tender and translucent.
3.Add mushrooms to pan along with a small amount of salt and pepper. Once the veggies are sweated down, add minced garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
4.Add rice to saucepan and toast for roughly 2 minutes. The rice will begin to pop and whistle. Add wine and cook until absorbed, making sure to stir well.
5.Begin adding ladlefuls of broth until the rice is just covered. Continue adding more broth as the rice absorbs liquid, stirring constantly.
6.After approximately 15 minutes of cooking, when the rice is plumped but not yet done, add 1 cup turkey to the saucepan.
7.When rice is tender but still retains some bite (usually after about 20 minutes), remove it from heat.
8.Adjust seasoning if needed and add cheese, lemon juice, and extra butter (if desired).
9.Serve immediately and top with additional turkey, parsley, and freshly cracked pepper.

Turkey Banh Mi

Makes 2 sandwiches

6 ounces turkey, shredded
2 large dinner rolls (sub with baguette)

Fresh Ingredients:
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced with seeds removed
½ of a large cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
½ cup shredded carrot
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Sriracha to taste
¼ cup mayonnaise
Juice and zest of 1 lime
¼ cup cilantro, torn
1 green onion, thinly sliced

1.Add jalapeno, cucumber, shredded carrot, radishes, salt, and sugar to a bowl. Cover with roughly 1 cup of vinegar, let sit for 30 minutes, then drain.
2.Combine mayonnaise, sriracha, lime zest, and juice of half a lime. Mix well and add more lime juice if desired.
3.Add the turkey to mayo mixture and stir to combine.
4.Assemble by spreading turkey onto one half of each roll, setting the other halves aside.
5.Top with pickled veggies, green onion, and cilantro. Cover with the other half of the bread and serve.

Turkey Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Makes 8 spring rolls

2 cups turkey, shredded

Fresh Ingredients:
1 carrot, julienned
1 cucumber, julienned
1 avocado, sliced
3 green onions, sliced
1 cup greens, torn (lettuce, spinach, and arugula all work well)
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
8 spring roll wrappers

¼ cup natural creamy peanut butter
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 to 2 inches ginger, grated
2 teaspoons sriracha (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce

1.To make the sauce, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sriracha, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl. Mix well and thin with warm water to taste.
2.To assemble spring rolls, dip wrappers into a large bowl filled with warm water. Once the wrapper becomes soft but not floppy, remove and place onto a towel.
3.Add a small amount of turkey, veggies, herbs, green onion, and avocado to the center of the wrapper, leaving space at the edges and the lower third. Roll and fold over like a burrito.
4.Serve with peanut sauce on the side.

Next Day Instant Pot Chowder

Recipe courtesy of Jenn Miranda

1 cup mashed potatoes
½ cup gravy
1 cup veggies, chopped (sub with carrots and celery)
½ cup turkey, optional
Dinner rolls (for serving)

Fresh Ingredients:
1 diced yellow onion
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups corn (creamed, canned, or fresh)
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup broth
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Green onion for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

1.Start your Instant Pot on saute and toss in your protein (if using), leftover veggies, onion, and garlic.
2.Saute about 5 minutes until well blended.
3.Add broth, coconut milk, water, tomatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cornstarch. Stir well and add a little salt and pepper.
4.Use the soup button or pressure cook for 25 minutes.
5.Garnish with finely chopped green onion and serve with dinner rolls on the side.

Crostini with Turkey, Camembert, and Cranberry

1 cup turkey, shredded
Cranberry sauce for topping

Fresh Ingredients:
1 baguette, sliced
Olive oil for brushing
1 wheel Camembert cheese
Finely chopped herbs (thyme and sage both work well)
Balsamic reduction

1.Brush baguette slices with a generous amount of olive oil and bake at 375 degrees until golden, about 10 minutes.
2.Layer baguette slices with Camembert cheese (sliced thick), a small amount of shredded turkey, and dollop of cranberry sauce.
3.To finish, drizzle with balsamic reduction and top with freshly chopped herbs.

Fast Freezer Hacks

If you can’t stomach the thought of another bite of turkey until 2022, we don’t blame you. It’s also understandable if your post-holiday agenda involves avoiding the stove at all costs. In both cases, the easiest solution is to freeze your leftovers—the sooner the better. As a rule of thumb, leftover foods should be frozen within three days maximum.Luckily most holiday dishes hold up well in the freezer, but foods with a higher water content (think salads) should be eaten immediately or tossed. Also, though fruit pies are technically freezer safe, their crusts tend to be mushy when thawed. All the more reason to eat leftover pie for breakfast!It’s also important to portion out your food before storing it because, once thawed, meals cannot be refrozen. For example, gravy can be portioned into ice cube trays and used as needed.

Cooked meats (up to two months)ƒ
Baked squash or sweet potatoes (up to three months)
ƒPumpkin pie (up to four months)ƒ
Mashed potatoes with cream (up to one year; note that mashed potatoes made with broth will not hold up as well)ƒ
Cranberry sauce (up to two months)ƒ
Bread and rolls (up to three months)ƒ
Stuffing (up to three months)

Green bean casserole and other water-heavy veggie dishes
ƒDelicate pies such as custard or meringueƒ
Frosted baked goods
Whole baked potatoesƒ
Soft cheeses such as brie

Bone Broth How-to

It might sound intimidating, but if you can boil water, you can make bone broth. It’s an excellent and easy way to use every bit of your bird, and the main ingredients are pretty self-explanatory: Bones, water, and a touch of patience.

1.Bone broth is different from regular broth and stock because of its viscosity and its cooking time. Prolonged simmering allows the collagen in bones to break down into a gelatin, thus thickening the broth when it cools.
2.To begin, strip the meat from the bones and place your turkey carcass in a large pot along with desired veggies (if using). Add water until bones are covered by no more than two inches of liquid. Now it’s time to wait—for about 12 hours, to be exact. There’s no hard and fast rule about time, but the longer you cook your broth, the more collagen will be extracted. Eventually your broth should be reduced by nearly half. Because it concentrates as it cooks, we recommend going easy on the salt in the early stages.
3.Onion, garlic, and bay leaves are good flavor boosters, as are torn herbs such as rosemary, sage, parsley, and thyme. You can throw in veggies such as carrots and celery if desired, but be sparing—too much makes the broth taste sweet. For a hint of acidity, try a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or a splash of white wine.
4.Once your broth is good to go, strain and use it in any recipe that calls for stock. Cooked broth lasts for up to five days in the refrigerator or six months if frozen.