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Leftover Turkey Ideas

Holiday Leftover Ideas

That leftover ham or turkey is tasting pretty good the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas but can get tiresome very quickly. I know when I was raising my three children, we tried to make our money stretch as far as possible, so I would try to utilize every tiny bit of that Christmas ham or Thanksgiving turkey. Here are some easy ideas that were probably familiar to your parents that you may have never tried to make yourself.

Stretch that Turkey

After you've gobbled up the drum sticks, nibbled on the wings and carved as much meat as possible off that sad little bird, there is still plenty of meat left on those bones that can be difficult to get to, without a tremendous amount of time and effort on your part.

I don't know about you but I don't find picking tiny bits of meat off a slimy turkey bone a fun past-time. So, I like to grab a large pot, fill it half-way with water and drop the entire bird into the water, add a little salt and pepper and let it cook until the meat literally falls off the bone. This can take several hours.

Note: You may have to break the carcass apart if the bird is too large or you don't have a large enough pot.

Be sure not to let the water boil over. Cook long enough so that that most of the meat falls off the bone. Cool and lift the bird out, or use a collander to drain off broth off, be sure to save it. You can spend as much time as you care to, picking off the remaining meat. Most of the bones will simply fall apart. Be sure to separate all the broth from the meat and bone. Then add the meat back into the pot by hand.

Once you have the meat back in the pot, add chopped celery and onion. Salt and pepper to taste. You can add potatoes or noodles and additional vegetables to make a splendid turkey soup or my favorite leftover turkey dish, turkey and noodles.

Turkey Corn Bread Casserole

Preheat oven to 375°.

Grease a 9x9 square or round cake pan, dice up 1 - 1½ cups of leftover turkey meat, (enough to cover the bottom of the pan about ½ an inch deep) I normally use the dark meat for this dish. Sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning (or Lawry's Seasoning), top with 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.

Follow the directions on one box of Jiffy Corn Bread Mix, carefully drop mixture using a tablespoon on top of the cheese.

Bake for around 15 minutes, until golden brown.

When casserole is just about done, warm your favorite chili. Top casserole with chili (add a dollop of sour cream if you wish).

Variations: Black olives, onions, or mushrooms can be added to the turkey. Top casserole with your favorite salsa and sour cream.

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Holiday Leftover Ideas

Ham it Up

I always look forward to the traditional Christmas Ham. After everyone has had their fill of ham sandwiches. There are so many things that can be made from ham, it's fun to get creative and surprise the family.

This year we picked up an 18# ham for Thanksgiving, needless to say, we have plenty for leftovers. While cleaning the meat off the bone, I cubed a portion it; cubed ham is terrific for omlets or breakfast burritos. I sliced off some ham steaks that are good for sandwiches.

The kababs pictured here would be delicious made with ham, add some cubes of pineapple, miniature tomatoes or even maraschino cherries; spread with teriyaki sauce and grill -- yummy.

Tried and True Leftover Ham Ideas

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Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

One of my very favorite dishes is the grilled ham and cheese sandwich, easy to make and very versatile. You can make a grilled ham and cheese sandwich the same as you would a grilled cheese, just be sure to slightly grill the ham first (so that it's hot). The ham can be microwaved but if you have room grill it, it will taste much better.

If you have a meat slicer or can manage very thin slices, grilled stacked ham is awesome.

Make Stacked Ham Sandwiches

Shave your ham and set aside. Fire up the grill, when it's hot add a couple teaspoons of water, (off to one side) then add your ham and cover with a metal or glass lid, which will work as a steamer. You won't want the grill too hot, around 350° should do it.

Quickly spread butter on corn dusted hamburger buns and grill, until lightly toasted. When just about finished, add a slice of your favorite cheese to the top of the pile of ham. Once the cheese has started melting, remove buns from grill top with meat and cheese then add your favorite toppings.

Topping Suggestions
  • lettuce
  • mayo
  • pickles
  • horseradish
  • spicy brown mustard
  • other favorite toppings
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Ham and Egg Casserole

Just this morning I woke up at 7 a.m. thinking to myself, I have a couple pounds of ham left in the refridgerator. There must be something else I can make with it that I haven't already thought of. So, I search the net looking for something different.

I found several recipes for Ham and Egg Casserole, of course none of them were exactly what I was searching for, so knowing what my families tastes were, I adapted a recipe to suit our needs. I wasn't sure the hubby would like it but he enjoyed two large helpings and I'm working on my third. This is a recipe I will be making again. (Which of course is the highest endorsement I can give any recipe.)


Prepare a 9x13 inch pan by spraying with Pam or equivalent. Line pan with 10-slices of white bread (cubed).

Mix the following in large bowl then pour over bread.

  • 1 lb. ham, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 lb. shredded cheese (cheddar cheese works well)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 7 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
  • dash of pepper (to taste)

Cover and allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 4-hours (or sit overnight). Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, the cook uncovered for another 30 minutes. Serve with hash browns or fried potatoes.

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Homemade Ham Spread

My mom always made the most delicious ham spread for us when I was a child. It wasn't as easy to make back then as it is today because she used a grinder that was screwed onto the table. Today we have food processors that make short work out of grinding up ham and pickles.

If you purchased a spiral cut, bone-in ham, cut the meat off from around the bone. Need to get real close to the bone, I'll tell you what you can do with that ham bone later. So, close to the bone is close enough.

Using a grinder or food processor grind the ham up into mush or chunky mush, then in add a few pickles and an onion into your food processor. You can add as little or as much as you like. After everything is ground up nicely, transfer mixture to a bowl and mix with salad dressing or mayo (your choice), add a little mustard, salt and pepper to taste.

Since the entire recipe is subjective and based on your own tastes, I recommend adding ingredients a little at a time. You can always add more of something but removing unwanted items is difficult. Feel free to experiment with additional items, such as, black olives, pimento, jalapeno peppers, etc...

Serve on bread as a sandwich or cracker spread.

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Ham and Potato Soup

I promised I'd tell you what to do with that ham bone. After I've cut the majority of the meat off the bone, I add the bone to four quarts of water (enough to cover the bone) and boil for several hours to cook the meat off the bone.

Once the meat is falling off the bone, I remove everything from the broth and separate the remaining ham from the fat and bone. I discard the bone and fat, chop up the remaining ham (after it has cooled) and add it back to the broth. Add potatoes and additional ingredients to make your favorite Ham and Potato Soup.

  • Leftover ham
  • 4-9 large diced potatoes (peeled or not)
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 t. celery seed (substitute chopped celery if you prefer)
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (use granulated if you desire)
  • 8 oz. cubed Velveta cheese
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1 t. white or black pepper
  • 1 t. seasoning salt
  • 1 t. onion powder (substitute finely chopped onion if you prefer)

Add all ingredients and simmer at least an hour or until potatoes are fully cooked. Then in a small measuring cup mix 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/2 cup of cold water. Then slowly pour into hot soup to thicken, stiring constantly until thoroughly mixed and soup thickens.

The first day I served the Ham and Potato plain with Shepherd's Bread, it was delicious. I realized that I had added too few potatoes, so though the soup was good, it was mostly broth. So, the second day I added a package of frozen mixed vegetables and three more potatoes. The soup was perfect, everyone wanted seconds.

Serve with garlic toast, french bread or sour dough.

More Holiday Leftover Ideas