Superfast Turkey Recipes
Whether using up Thanksgiving leftovers or starting from scratch, these recipes put turkey dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less.
Be creative with your Thanksgiving leftovers―turkey sandwiches get boring after a few days! This recipe truly transforms them, pairing turkey with jack cheese (use pepper jack for an extra flavor jolt) in a quesadilla, and creating a sweet-spicy Mexican salsa based on cranberry sauce.
You can use leftover turkey in place of raw cutlets for this soup; in fact, that cuts three minutes from the already-short prep time because you don't have to brown them first. Chipotles, which are so versatile that they should be a pantry staple in every kitchen, give the soup a nice smoky heat and Southwest flavor without making it too fiery. The crunchy chips make a nice textural contrast, and it only takes about 25 minutes to make these flavorful ones yourself if you prefer.
A tangy mixture of sour cream, yogurt, lime, and honey replaces the traditional mayo for this exotic salad, flavored with (and colored beautifully golden by) curry powder. Juicy grape halves provide pops of sweetness throughout, while crunchy cashews create textural contrast. For a cold-weather dinner, pair the salad with a superfast soup.
Have the deli slice your turkey paper-thin for the most authentic "cheesesteak" experience. You can use leftover cooked turkey instead if you like: Freeze up to an hour until firm but not frozen solid, then slice as thinly as you can and cook with the pepper and onion for the last two minutes to warm through. For extra flavor, spread a little prepared horseradish on the bun halves before assembling the sandwiches.
Anybody can make a turkey sandwich, but this French-inspired dish is something really special. Crusty French bread, mild creamy brie, tart apple, and peppery watercress bring sophistication, and a quick trip through the oven makes the cheese melty, the bread toasty, and everything nice and warm. If you have overnight Thanksgiving guests, blow them away by making these sandwiches with leftover turkey for lunch or dinner the next day.
Leftover turkey provides the meaty backbone for this pizza, while prosciutto adds its salty savoriness and arugula contributes a slight bitterness and crunch. Fontina, though it's not a traditional pizza cheese, has a mild and nutty flavor that's nice here (but you can substitute mozzarella if you want). Prebaked pizza crusts are an effortless way to a quick pizza, but you can make the dough from scratch; stretch into a circle and bake at 500° for 8 minutes before using in this recipe.
Roast turkey from the deli counter or Thanksgiving leftovers (or meat from a rositterie chicken, for that matter) can go into this simple but unique salad. Avocado is blended into the already creamy dressing, adding heart-healthy unsaturated fats, nice sweet flavor, and luxuriously velvety texture. The easy cheese toasts make a nice crunchy addition, but garlic bread might be a nice change of pace: Just mix a clove or two of chopped garlic with the Parmesan before sprinkling on the bread.
The funky, pungent flavor of blue cheese is a great way to liven up mild turkey, whether it's leftovers or from the deli counter. This salad also adds chickpeas for their nutritional punch and subtly creamy texture. Doctoring up bottled ranch dressing with your own herbs gives it a homemade feel but is still quick and easy―try the same technique with other convenience foods like jarred pasta sauce or frozen vegetables.
Canned (or otherwise packaged) broth is a boon to quick soups; this one attains slow-simmered flavor in just 13 minutes. Cooking the pasta in the boiling broth saves time and also makes for flavorful noodles. A sandwich is a natural pairing to make this a meal; these Grilled Tomato and Brie Sandwiches are a great choice.
To be a great use of Thanksgiving leftovers, a recipe needs to reuse more than one left over item. This dish does just that, topping a pizza with turkey and greens (you can use creamed spinach, collards, or really just about any green side). You could even go really crazy and spread leftover cranberry sauce on the crust, though the Alfredo in this recipe works very nicely. If it's not Thanksgiving, leftover chicken works just as well as turkey.
The key to a good salad is a nice mix of textures and flavors, and this one delivers. Crunchy fresh-toasted almonds; chewy, tart dried cherries; crisp, pungent raw onion; and soft tender turkey all contribute to the final product. Whole-wheat pitas are a nice change of pace for a sandwich (and they're really good for you), but this salad is also good on dark rye or pumpernickel bread, in a tortilla wrap, or even rolled up in lettuce leaves.
This recipe uses three of our favorite pantry staples: Panko makes the patties light and a little crunchy, feta cheese adds moisture and tangy flavor, and bottled pesto brings a zing of savory flavor. These Mediterranean delights take all of 12 minutes to cook, and contain only 303 calories apiece. Use the supereasy tzatziki in this recipe to dress the burgers, or try a Greek cheese: Kasseri (similar to mozzarella) and kefalotyri (think Gruyere) both work well and are relatively easy to find.
Our twist on larb, a Thai/Laotian salad of meat flavored with lime juice, herbs, and chiles, delivers a huge amount of flavor. The turkey and peanuts create a textural contrast of crunchy and chewy, while the lime, fish sauce, and jalapeños make a wonderfully spicy mixture whose heat is moderated by cooling Napa cabbage. Serve with a bottle of Sriracha so spice lovers can add extra heat to their portions.
Ragù (a deeply flavored, very meaty sauce) and gnocchi (dense but fluffy potato dumplings) are both great hearty fare for cold weather. Putting them together in this dish makes the ultimate soul-warming meal, but using turkey instead of the traditional pork or beef reduces saturated fat: This recipe has 5.5 grams per serving, and just 317 calories. No gnocchi on hand? Just make the ragù and serve like Sloppy Joes.
Replacing beef with turkey provides a little extra nutritional leeway to splurge a bit with the cheese: Ricotta mixed into the patty makes it extra-flavorful and juicy, and a big slice of Swiss melted over the top is deliciously indulgent. Since the burger is slightly different, serve it with a slightly different side―exotic chips made from plantain, cassava, purple potatoes, or whatever strikes your fancy.
Let's be honest: Even with orange, ginger, and soy mixed in to the patties, as here, turkey burgers can be a little bland. That's why they need a great zesty sauce or lots of cheese to match up to hamburgers. This recipe's Special Sauce fits the bill and then some. The creamy, pungent, sweet, slightly Asian-tinged sauce may well become a staple in your kitchen―try it on deli sandwiches, as a dip for raw veggies, or as salad dressing.
Pounding the cutlets flat and rolling them up with salty, meaty prosciutto and heady sage creates restaurant-quality looks and flavor, but takes maybe 10 minutes, tops. Leftover mashed potatoes make an ideal side; you can also use frozen if you're really short on time, or make your own, flavored with chives, roasted garlic, or wasabi―all are great.
The sweet-and-sour flavors of port and cherries are a great match for pork, chicken, or turkey; you could use pork tenderloin or chicken breasts as easily as turkey in this recipe. The whole thing, from cooking the meat to creating the thick, glossy pan sauce, takes just 10 minutes. Leftover Thanksgiving stuffing is a good side, especially Wild Rice Stuffing.
Swapping turkey for fatty corned beef makes these sandwiches healthier, but since the assertive flavors of the dressing and Swiss cheese take center stage anyway, you'll hardly notice. And each sandwich has just 255 calories. We use Thousand Island, which is popular on Reubens, but the true traditional Reuben dressing is the slightly harder-to-find Russian. Good thing Real Simple has an easy recipe you can use.
This dish has all the characteristics of a recipe you'll make often: It's warm and satisfying, it's quick and easy, and you can serve it in lots of different ways. Pouring the chili over rice makes for a filling and healthy meal, but you can also try it over cooked spaghetti (aka Cincinnati-style), stuffed in a baked potato, spooned over tortilla chips and topped with cheese to make nachos, or even with scrambled eggs for breakfast.