8 Quick and Easy Recipes to Use Up Leftover Turkey and Chicken

Updated on December 15, 2017
Gloriousconfusion profile image

Before I became a London solicitor, I used to help in our family restaurant. I love good food, enjoy creative cooking, and hate food waste.

8 Easy Recipes to Use Up the Thanksgiving Bird

After a holiday dinner or Sunday lunch, you might stare at the leftover turkey or chicken and wonder how you could possibly use it up. I hope these recipes will show you new tricks to incorporate your leftovers into delicious meals!

Try using the leftovers in the following dishes:

  1. Paella
  2. Vol-Au-vents
  3. Sandwiches
  4. Stir Fry
  5. Soup
  6. Patties
  7. Risotto
  8. Pilaff

My secret to affordable, mouthwatering meals is combining small quantities of delicious, expensive foods with larger amounts of low-cost foods such as potatoes, noodles, and vegetables. Bon appetit!

Red Paella with Mussels
Red Paella with Mussels | Source

1. Paella

Paella is a traditional Spanish rice-based dish made with the meat, fish, and vegetables you have on hand. This recipe feeds six people.

What You'll Need:

  • 1 or 2 large, deep flat-bottomed pans, a paella pan, or a large wok
  • 1 large mixing spoon

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 large onions
  • 6 garlic cloves or 1-2 tsp bottled garlic
  • 1" fresh ginger or 1 tsp bottled ginger
  • Olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 500g - 750g turkey or chicken
  • 1 chicken or fish stock cube
  • 250g frozen shelled prawns
  • 500g arborio rice
  • 250g frozen peas
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp saffron (better flavor) or turmeric (better color)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • Chili powder
  • Paprika

Optional Ingredients:

  • Mussels, 1 or 2 per person
  • Large prawns, 1 or 2 per person
  • 2 sprigs fresh coriander or 1 tsp bottled coriander
  • Mixed powdered spice
  • Mixed herbs

Instructions:

  1. Add a generous dash of olive oil to your pot and heat the pan. Chop the onions and cook them in the oil until they turn a translucent golden-brown color.
  2. Add the chopped turkey/chicken, chili, and garlic. Stir and cook until the meat is lightly browned.
  3. De-seed and chop the bell peppers into 2-3" chunks. Add them to the pan with cloves, ginger, saffron/turmeric, and paprika. Continue stirring for 2-3 minutes.
  4. In a new pan, pour another dash of olive oil and add the rice. Stir until all the rice is coated with oil and slightly translucent. Add the rice to the first pan and add the chicken or fish stock cubes and 1 pint of boiling water. Continue stirring until the cubes have dissolved. If you're using cooked meat, just add an additional chicken stock cube for extra flavor.
  5. Cover the pot with a lid and let everything simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Then, mix in the peas and small prawns.
  6. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them in a circle on top of the rice. Decorate with the large prawns, mussels, and coriander. Slice the lemons into quarters and squeeze some of the juice over the rice. Replace the lid and simmer for 10 minutes. If the rice looks dry, add a little bit of water. You want the cooked rice to be a little sticky but not floating in the water or dried out.
  7. Serve when the rice is cooked and soft.

Chicken Vol-Au-Vents
Chicken Vol-Au-Vents | Source

2. Turkey or Chicken Vol-au-Vent

A vol-au-vent is a hollow case made of puff pastry, and it's a great way to incorporate your leftover meat into an innovative dish. You can make larger vol-au-vents for a complete meal (allow two per person) or go with smaller versions for party appetizers.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups turkey or chicken
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 pound mushrooms
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 10oz can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup swiss cheese, shredded
  • Vol-au-vent cases

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make sure the turkey/chicken is cut into small enough pieces to fit into the vol-au-vent cases.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan and saute the turkey/chicken for 1 minute.
  4. Grease an 8"x8" dish and add the meat.
  5. Use the pan to saute the sliced mushrooms until they're lightly browned.
  6. Add the sour cream and the canned soup to the mushrooms. Stir for 1 minute, making sure to scrape the bottom to prevent burning.
  7. Mix the garlic salt and paprika into the mixture and pour it over the chicken.
  8. Bake the filling for 30-35 minutes.
  9. Top the filling with cheese and bake it again for 10 more minutes. You want the cheese to be melted and bubbly.
  10. Fill your vol-au-vent cases with the filling. Warm everything up according to the cases' instructions, and enjoy!

Chicken or Turkey Sandwich
Chicken or Turkey Sandwich | Source

3. Chicken or Turkey Sandwich

My father used to make chicken sandwiches for us on Sunday nights. These sandwiches are easy to make, nourishing, and delicious! They're simple to put together and will save you time and energy. Remember, you can interchange chicken and turkey!

Ingredients:

  • Bread
  • Schmaltz (chicken fat) or mayonnaise
  • Chicken or turkey meat, cooked
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Marmite (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Spread schmaltz or mayonnaise on one slice of bread.
  2. Lay down layers of the meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  3. Top it off with a second slice of bread.

If you want to avoid using salt, you can substitute the schmaltz for Marmite on the first slice of bread.

Turkey or Chicken Stir-Fry
Turkey or Chicken Stir-Fry

4. Turkey or Chicken Stir-Fry

The idea of stir-fry is to prepare everything before you start cooking. The cooking period is very short, so make sure you slice the vegetables very thinly. The whole cooking process should only take five to eight minutes, leaving the vegetable textures slightly crunchy. This quick and tasty recipe serves three to four people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion
  • 4-8 oz. cooked turkey or chicken, shredded
  • 1 red or green bell pepper
  • 1 packet bean sprouts
  • 1 packet Chinese rice or egg noodles
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves or 1-2 tsp bottled garlic
  • 1" fresh ginger or 1-2 tsp bottled ginger
  • 1 tsp bottled coriander
  • Chili, to taste
  • Soy sauce
  • Chicken or vegetable cubes
  • Oyster sauce
  • Hoi Sin sauce
  • Chinese five-spice
  • Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • Chilli oil
  • Raw spring onion
  • Cooked prawns (optional)
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

Vegetable Options:

  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Courgette
  • Frozen peas
  • Parsnip
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Cauliflower
  • Bok choy (Chinese cabbage)
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Sweet corn

Instructions:

  1. Chop the onion and bell pepper into small chunks. Finely slice the remaining vegetables.
  2. Boil the noodles in a small saucepan according to the package instructions. This should take about 3 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable cube into the water as you cook the noodles. Drain the noodles and set them aside.
  3. Heat up the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the onion and fry it quickly to sear it. Add the turkey or chicken first, and then add the ginger, garlic, chili (optional), and Chinese five-spice. Fry everything for about 15 seconds over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the other vegetables and stir them in. Go in the order of hardness, so that the harder vegetables will have more cooking time than the softer ones. Reserve the bean sprouts and mushrooms for last so that they don't go mushy.
  5. Add the prawns and cook them.
  6. Once the prawns are cooked, add in the flavorings you want in the dish.
  7. Pour the cooked noodles into the wok and mix them with the vegetables. If you want to keep them separate dishes, skip this step and serve them separately.

Chicken Soup
Chicken Soup | Source

5. Turkey or Chicken Soup

This homemade soup is both tasty and nourishing!


Ingredients:

  • Turkey or chicken leftovers, including skin and bones
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 leek
  • 1 or 2 sticks of celery
  • A handful of soup mix (barley, lentils, black-eyed beans, rice, or oats)
  • Salt or chicken/vegetable stock cubes
  • Seasonings (peppercorns, ginger, paprika, bay leaves, parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc), to taste

These are the basic ingredients I use, but I'll often add leftover vegetables from other meals such as parsnips, potatoes, tomatoes, peas or finely chopped cabbage.

Instructions:

  1. Slice and fry the onions until they're golden brown. Slice the remaining vegetables and the rest of the ingredients (except salt) into the pressure cooker. For easy clean-up, place all the bones in a steamer that keeps the bones separate from the food but still flavors the soup. Cover everything with about 2 pints of water. It's best to add salt after the soup is cooked because dried beans soften up better when cooked without it.
  2. If you use a pressure cooker like I do, cook everything for about 30 minutes. If you opt not to use one, it is best to first soak your pulses (dried beans) in a lot of water for about 12 hours. Once they've softened, add them to the soup and simmer everything for about two hours.
  3. Fish out all the bones, either by using a long utensil or removing the steamer. Season the dish with salt. You can have the soup as is, or you can blend everything in a blender to make a thicker soup.

Chicken Patty
Chicken Patty

6. Turkey or Chicken Patty

Making turkey or chicken patties is a great way to use up all your turkey or chicken. These are flexible because you don't need to use specific ingredients and precise quantities. The aim is simply to have enough food to feed everyone. You can experiment with different ingredients to see what taste you like best!

Ingredients:

  • A handful of cooked turkey or chicken
  • Cooked potato (two small potatoes per person)
  • Onion, cooked or raw
  • Greens (cabbage, kale, spring greens, spinach, or Brussels sprouts)
  • Any cooked root vegetables (parsnip, swede, turnip, etc)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves (optional)
  • Olive or any cooking oil
  • Any combination of herbs and spices (e.g. ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, chili powder, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, curry powder, tarragon, sage, parsley, thyme, and oregano)

Instructions:

  1. Beat the egg and then blend the remaining ingredients (including seasonings) in a blender. Do short bursts so the mixture is still lumpy and not completely mushed. If you don't have a blender, just chop and mash what you can.
  2. Sprinkle a little flour on a board and on your hands. Scoop out about a tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a round flat patty on the board. Continue making patties until you use everything up. You could even make one huge omelet-sized patty as long as it is coated in flour, but it'll be more difficult to turn over.
  3. Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat and add the patties. Shake or prod them every so often to make sure they don't stick to the bottom. After two minutes, check to see if they're browning. Use a spatula or fish lift to flip them over after about two or three minutes and cook the other side. They should end up a light golden-brown color on both sides.

Mushroom Risotto
Mushroom Risotto | Source

7. Mushroom Risotto

This mushroom risotto recipe is exceptionally easy to make and requires few ingredients. My daughter made this a few months ago and received a mixed range of responses. All the adults enjoyed it, and all the children thought it was horrible! I think the goat cheese's strong flavor was the culprit. The ingredient list is flexible, so you can substitute goat cheese with cream or plain yogurt for a milder taste. This recipe serves two people.

Ingredients:

  • A small handful of skinless cooked turkey or chicken
  • 1 cup rice (I recommend Italian Arborio, Spanish Paella, or Jasmine rice)
  • A handful of porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 oz. goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat all the grains with butter.
  3. Add 2 cups of hot water to the pan. Bring everything to a boil, and then turn the heat down to simmer for 15 minutes. The rice should be soft.
  4. While the rice is simmering, shred the turkey or chicken into small pieces. Add the meat, mushrooms, garlic, chicken stock cube, and salt to the rice.
  5. When the rice has absorbed most of the water, add the goat cheese (or substitute) and stir it in. The resulting risotto should be sticky and glutinous.
  6. Serve with freshly ground pepper.

If you want to indulge, use a tin of condensed mushroom soup instead of the mushrooms, cheese, and cream.

A Variation of Chicken Pilaff
A Variation of Chicken Pilaff | Source

8. Turkey or Chicken Pilaff

This delicious meat and rice dish has a great curry flavor and serves two to three people.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 green or red bell pepper
  • 1 ½ cup raisins (optional)
  • 1-2 cups chicken leftovers
  • 2 tsp olive oil or butter
  • 2 ½ cups rice
  • 5 cups chicken stock (or 5 cups water mixed with 2 chicken cubes)
  • 1 tbsp almonds
  • 1 sprig of fresh coriander leaves (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Chop up the onion and fry it gently in the oil or butter with the curry powder and garlic clove for about 3 or 4 minutes.
  2. Shred the chicken and chop the bell pepper into small chunks. Add them to the pan and continue frying for one to two minutes.
  3. Chop the tomato and raisins and add them to the mix.
  4. Add the rice and continue to stir the rice until all the grains are coated with oil and turning translucent.
  5. Pour in the chicken stock. Gently simmer everything for about 15 to 20 minutes. All of the liquid should be absorbed, and the rice should be soft but not soggy.
  6. Add the almonds and sprinkle the top with chopped coriander leaves!

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    • DawnRae64 profile image

      Dawn 7 weeks ago from Maryland, USA

      The turkey/potato patty looks delicious! I'll have to try this idea.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 7 weeks ago from Germany

      Great ideas for leftover chicken or turkey meat. You make me drool. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks - there should be something for everyone here, whatever their taste!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 2 years ago

      Diana, you have a winner here! Sent out to all of my social bookmarking - this is essential information. I have a friend I say is my platonic wife and she would love this.

    • N376 profile image

      N376 3 years ago

      Lots of yummy suggestions!

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Always use leftover chicken. Great Recipes here.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Yes, it's quite handy freezing a little to use later, but I have heard that once chicken has been unfrozen and cooked, it shouldn't be refrozen, so take care

    • ThisisMissyMiss profile image

      Mommy 3 years ago from The Fabulous Midwest

      Yummy! I'll have to try some of these recipes.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from Perth UK

      Awesome recipes. Great Hub! Thanks for sharing.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      I like all these ideas for using leftovers! Whenever I buy a rotisserie chicken I always end up freezing a little bit. I'll be trying one of these soon. Looking good here!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      These recipes sound great and most of the I have never tried but will now. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      ssphia 3 years ago

      Great recipes, sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    • Flora Crew profile image

      Flora Crew 4 years ago from Evanston, Illinois

      Good lens. I have some leftover turkey too!

    • WebMarketingPro profile image

      WebMarketingPro 4 years ago

      I think the chicken and the egg image was a bit much for my taste. Great lens though...

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @WebMarketingPro: Sorry about that - it's a bit like Marmite - you either love it or hate it!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Lorelei Cohen: That's what comes of having worked in a restaurant!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Virginia Allain: Yes, I love that too

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      My hubby makes a wonderful turkey soup with lots of veggies and we eat it for about a week.

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I think you have covered just about every turkey leftover here. Delicious.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Great recipes! I usually make turkey or chicken noodle soup with leftovers, as well as Turkey Curry in a Hurry (which I posted in the plexo above). Mmmm, I'm getting hungry!

    • profile image

      LadyEnglish 5 years ago

      So many great ideas here.

    • ReviewsfromSandy profile image

      Sandy Mertens 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      These recipes look yummy!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 5 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Great collection of recipes for our leftover turkey!

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 5 years ago

      Great ideas. I have never considered making paella with anything other than seafood.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      I found some new ones I'd like to try. Thanks for sharing.

    • digitaltree profile image

      digitaltree 5 years ago

      great recipes, i can't wait for breakfest.

    • DeannaDiaz profile image

      DeannaDiaz 5 years ago

      Lovely list of recipes and I can't wait to try the Chicken Supreme!

    • Wbisbill LM profile image

      Barbara Isbill 6 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

      Looks delicious. I am including your recipe lens in my chicken soup lens. Hope you have a great day.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      We have turkey sandwiches or I make a turkey pie. I can really use some new leftover recipes ideas. These recipes all look so tasty and have ingredients that hubby would enjoy. I will especially have to try the stir-fry and supreme recipes. Thanks for sharing!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 6 years ago

      Great lens with some wonderful recipes. THUMBS UP ANGEL BLESSED

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

      Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

    • Ronlove LM profile image

      Ronlove LM 6 years ago

      Awesome! Lense lots of good information

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 6 years ago

      Lots of great recipes!

    • iWriteaLot profile image

      iWriteaLot 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens. The Chicken Pilaf looks so yummy! Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you have lots of leftovers!

    • Lou165 profile image

      Lou165 6 years ago from Australia

      My hubby has been known to buy a cooked chicken from the supermarket on a Friday night so that we can have some of his favorite dishes on the weekend that I originally 'created' as a way to use up leftovers! Looks like I now have a few more one's to try - delicious :)

    • Laddoo LM profile image

      Lloyd Pinto 6 years ago from Mumbai

      Blessed by your friendly neighbourhood Squid Angel Chef!

    • JeffreyTymczak LM profile image

      JeffreyTymczak LM 7 years ago

      Why can't I stop Drooling?????? Great Job!!!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Certainly like these recipes and the vol-au-vents might be my favorite. Featured this on Holiday Cooking.

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 7 years ago from London

      Would have loved to try your tasy sounding recipes but....We have just had a big free range chicken for Christmas, as we were staying at home and being quiet, with just the two of us this year. Man of the house came down with flu, so the chicken leftovers have made man flu chicken soup. Perfect. Seasons Greetings to you.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 7 years ago

      With so many possible recipes and sometimes I can not think how to prepare the turkey. Thanks.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      We often do a turkey pot pie with pre-made pieshells. Quick and easy and you can just through in some leftover potatoes, gravy turkey and then add some extra veg. Lots of good ideas to try here.

    • CozyKitty profile image

      CozyKitty 7 years ago

      Tastefully done! Think i need to go make a snack now ...

      ;-)

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 7 years ago

      The anything else I want to comment on is...I should have known better than to read this page while I was hungry! Gotta go make a turkey sandwich, now!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 7 years ago from Scotland

      I am bookmarking this page! Chicken stirfry first to try! Blessed

    • nickupton lm profile image

      nickupton lm 7 years ago

      Top quality lens. My dad always used to make turkey curry with the Christmas leftovers and freeze it so we could be eating it for weeks. In the end I looked forward to the curry more than the roast!

    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 7 years ago from Earth

      Great lens. Being in the top 40 leaderboard can help to get you noticed by a Squid Angel. Squid Angel Thumbs Up.

    • Niki Goddard profile image

      Niki Goddard 7 years ago

      I'm always looking for great new ways to use up leftovers and this lens has given me a lot of ideas, as well as making me very hungry! Big thumbs up from me, and I will also just mention that chicken curry is a great way to use up the scraps of chicken too - yum!

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 7 years ago

      I love homemade chicken soup, and yours is fast and easy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I must confess that I'm starving after visiting this yummy recipes lens. I haven't eaten yet toady, but that will be my next move. I love making dishes to use up those left-overs, and you have some very good looking recipes and tips here. Waste not, want not! 5 Stars and I'm going to lensrollt my recipe lenses to bookmark this. ~ Thanks for the tips.

    • profile image

      bobtyndall 7 years ago

      Love your recipes. I like to try all kinds of different cuisines. 5* and I lens rolled you to my recipe lenses

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 7 years ago

      We eat a lot of chicken and turkey so there's always leftovers to use. Chicken soup is a favorite with my family, especially if I make bread to go along with it. I like chicken salad sandwiches. As chicken or turkey is on the menu at least once a week, we all get to have what we want.

      Thanks for sharing

      Lizzy

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      great recipes...5*

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      Nicely done & blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Really nice and good advice for anyone looking to make use of leftovers! Blessed by a Squid Angel :-)

    • profile image

      Dreadmoc 8 years ago

      Very nice lens. 5 stars.

    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      BW Duerr 8 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Excellent ideas and recipes. 5 stars, Fav and lensrolled to my Cornbread Casserole recipe lens. Yum, Thanks

    • profile image

      myraggededge 8 years ago

      Some great suggestions for leftover chicken - they would work for turkey too!

    • strayspay profile image

      strayspay 8 years ago

      Great lens! Five Stars - most all of us need thrifty ways to prepare leftovers. I especially like the chicken patties.