Thanksgiving Roast Turkey Dinner

Terrific Turkey Leftovers

Over the next eight weeks, many households will focus on family, friends, and traditions.  This month though, the turkey is the centerpiece.  Most of us have our own unique ways to cook the bird and adorn it with a variety of delicious side dishes.  Let us help you turn those leftovers into their own masterpieces! 

Nutritional Value of Turkey

Turkey is naturally low in fat and a great source of protein.  The fat and calorie content vary slightly depending on the white or dark meat and those numbers increase if you eat the skin.  White meat is lower in fat and has fewer calories than dark meat.  One serving is 2-3 ounces cooked which is about the size of a deck of cards.  According to USDA, a serving of turkey breast meat has 161 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 30 grams of protein. 

Turkey also provides:

Mineral/VitaminBenefits to Body
IronCarries oxygen to muscles and brain
ZincReduces inflammation, boosts immune health
PhosphorusSupports bone and teeth health
PotassiumHelps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals
B VitaminFights infections and promotes a healthy metabolism

Tips for Properly Storing Turkey Meat Leftovers 

  • Store leftovers within 2 hours after cooking are complete (Bacteria will begin to grow at that point)
  • Pack the meat separate from the bones (can be used for making stock for soup)
  • Use plastic containers or zipper-sealed bags (the less air the better)
  • Add chicken stock to a container or bag to ensure moisture
  • Store in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3-4 days or freeze for 3 months
  • Involve your children with easy tasks of getting ingredients, finding bowls and utensils, reading recipe directions, packing food in bags, washing dishes/counters/tables/floors, or mixing ingredients.
A family cooking turkey
A family cooking turkey

Reheating Turkey Methods

In the oven: Set oven temperature to 300°.  Use a casserole dish with an aluminum foil covering.  Add turkey pieces with some gravy or chicken stock to maintain moisture.  Juices in the turkey will escape as steam during the cooking process.  Make sure to cover your dish.  Cook for 30-40 minutes until fully heated.  The meat thermometer should read 165°. 

Stovetop:  Using a skillet, add turkey pieces and add a ¼ inch of broth.  Cover and simmer over medium-high heat until it warmed to your liking or the meat thermometer reads 165°.

Microwave:  Best used for 1-2 servings.  Cut turkey pieces into bite-sized shapes, place into a microwave-safe container, add broth, and cover.  Cook on 70% power for 1 minute per pound. 

Keep in mind it is best to reheat turkey once.   Download the USDA’s Food Keeper app for more ideas and tips.  Link here;

Leftover Turkey Recipe Ideas

Turkey is a very versatile meat that pairs well with many different flavors.  It can be used in any recipe that would call for chicken, hamburger, or tofu.  Listed below are some leftover turkey ideas that go beyond the usual sandwich or salad: Gobble-Gobble!

Child-Friendly Turkey Recipe IdeasFamily-Friendly Recipe Ideas
Turkey Macaroni and CheeseTurkey Tetrazzini
Turkey Pot PieTurkey Chowder or Stew
Turkey Hand PiesTurkey Enchiladas, Quesadillas, or Nachos
Turkey Tater SlidersTurkey Casseroles
Turkey Noodle SoupTurkey Lasagna
Turkey-Topped PizzasTurkey Chili
Turkey Kabob SticksTurkey Lettuce Wraps or Grain Bowls
Leftover Turkey Casserole
Leftover Turkey Casserole
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Leftover Turkey Casserole:

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie:

Turkey Expert Help

Questions? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, Monday-Friday, 10 am-6pm at 1-888-MPHotline (674-6854) in English and Spanish to speak with a live representative; chat live at or visit,  You can even get updates on their Facebook page at

A gang of turkeys
A gang of turkeys

Turkey Fun for Children

Local Massachusetts Turkey Farms:

Turkey Books for Children:

Young Fun: Little Turkey: Finger Puppet Book, 2010, by Chronicle Books, Ages 0-3.

Multicultural Fiction: Gracias, The Thanksgiving Turkey, 2005, by Joy Cowley, Ages 3-5.

Multicultural Fiction: Duck for Turkey Day, 2017, by Jacqueline Jules, Ages 4-8.

Multilingual Nonfiction: Turkeys on the Farm/Pavos en la granja, 2021, by Bizzy Harris, Ages 4-8.

Historical Fiction: The Great Turkey Walk, 2000, by Kathleen Karr, Ages 10-14.

Song: Turkey Dance Freeze by The Learning Station YouTube video: 

Share your love
Translate »

SNAP-Ed Massachusetts wants to hear from you.

(Check all that apply below)
(Check all that apply below)