Do you start thinking about uses for leftover turkey as soon as the meal begins or does all that food just get loaded into your refrigerator?

Since thanksgiving cooking planning starts at your desk and not your stove, you may not have any food remaining after the meal. To reduce wasted time, money, and food, this is the best approach.

However, if you’ve planned to create leftovers or it just worked out that way, there are many uses for leftover turkey that you can assemble immediately after the meal to avoid clogging your refrigerator with an assortment of unrelated cold food items.

You can assure the safety of your leftover turkey if you’ve adhered to the most important thanksgiving cooking tip of all and used a thermometer to cook to a precise internal temperature. Now, to keep the food safe, it must be refrigerated.

Rather than load multiple plastic bags, plastic containers or tin-foil sculptures into your refrigerator, go ahead and create the meals NOW, assuring the items will be used in the near future.

The first thing to do is clean the turkey carcass of any meat. You can try to wrap that disassembled bird or put a bag over it, but it’s going to dry out quickly. Removing the meat and using the carcass for turkey stock is the best way to retain the quality for use in leftovers.

With the carcass cleaned, you can start to create uses for leftover turkey that you might never have thought of. Turkey Tettrazzini is a simple dish of pasta, vegetables, turkey, and white sauce. If you use thin soup noodles or broken angel hair pasta, it doesn’t even need to be cooked ahead of time.

I’ve advised you to make roux, the turkey gravy thickener that Grandma ignored, in advance for just this occasion. You can thicken simmering milk with the pre-made roux and add the cheeses or seasonings you desire to bind the Turkey Tettrazzini.

Turkey Chili or Turkey Sloppy Joes are another great use for leftover turkey. With a simple sauté of chopped onions or peppers, you can add shredded turkey, tomato paste, and beans if you’d like for a quick weekday dinner.

Even simpler is a Shepherd’s Pie. Just combine all your leftovers in a casserole or pie tin. First turkey, then vegetables, then gravy, and top with mashed potatoes to be baked later in the week.

With a background of basic cooking methods, you can create any use for leftover turkey that you desire. The key to saving your investment in food, reducing time in the kitchen, and eliminating waste is to create your turkey leftovers immediately and avoid clogging your refrigerator.

Author's Bio: 

Chef Todd Mohr is a classically trained chef, entrepreneur, cooking educator and founder of WebCookingClasses. You CAN learn to cook without written recipes by taking his FREE cooking class that will change the way you think about cooking forever!