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Ingredient Spotlight: Turkey - Modern Alternative KitchenModern Alternative Kitchen

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Cranberry sauce simmering, green bean casserole bubbling, apple cider steaming, and the main attraction at the Thanksgiving table: turkey, slowly roasting throughout the day.  I can smell it now!  A slice of juicy turkey; there’s nothing like it.  But what to do with all those leftovers?  Why would we want to use leftover turkey, anyway?

 Health Benefits of Turkey

We all know tryptophan in turkey makes those who partake a little sleepy.  This is actually a blessing for those who eat it at dinnertime and have a hard time falling asleep.  But what else does turkey meat have to offer?  Turkey contains one of the highest amounts of protein compared to other meats.  This helps keep insulin levels at safe levels after eating a meal, which helps us avoid that blood sugar crash.  The dark meat to light meat ratio is higher in turkey than chicken, imparting more zinc to help our bodies fight off sickness.

Studies also show that what the turkey has been fed greatly determines how nutrient-dense the meat is.  This is why it is so important to invest in a turkey that’s been fed a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Pastured (free-range) turkeys receive a diet high in omega-3s.  Another great resource to find turkeys who receive a high omega-3 diet are ones who eat coconut, like the those available through Tropical Traditions.

What to do with Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey?

All that extra Thanksgiving turkey can be overwhelming.  How much turkey can one eat in a week, anyway?  I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Use any of your favorite chicken recipes with turkey instead!  The flavor will slightly differ from substituting chicken with turkey, but it really works!  Here are some chicken recipes that work well using turkey.  An added bonus about these recipes is they freeze well, so if you are tired of turkey, whip up a batch of the recipes below, freeze, and pull out to enjoy on a busy night.  There will probably be several of those during this holiday season and having a frozen meal ready to use is quite handy.

  • Simple Turkey Enchiladas
  • Turkey Stock ~ use however much of the turkey carcass you can fit in your stock pot and freeze several quarts of nourishing stock.
  • Freeze chopped meat in one-pound portions to thaw out later for soups, quesadillas, rice/potato and cheese casseroles, or even tossed in salads.

Another way to enjoy leftover turkey and get some probiotics in one meal is by making a grilled reuben turkey sandwich!


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How do you like to use leftover turkey?

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  1. Enchiladas are also a favorite of my family for leftover turkey!


  2. Turkey pot pie, however, I doubt I will have anything left besides the bones for stock. Looking forward to the turkey though, this is the first year we bought a local turkey.


  3. Actually, for the tryptophan to make one sleepy, you’d have to eat somethings crazy like 20 pounds of turkey. What actually causes the sleepyness is the sugar crash from all the carbs, potatoes, bread, cranberries, pies, etc.

    I love making turkey sandwhiches with leftover turkey.


  4. […] Have lots of leftover turkey and aren’t sure what to do with it? Here are some recipes for using up the leftovers, including a delicious Turkey Reuben Sandwich! […]


  5. So yummy! Just shared this on my meal plan over at The Better Mom! Lots of blessings, Kelly


  6. […] low 2-3 hours) and Caribbean Carrot Salad(GF) • Dessert: Favorite Fruit Crisp(GF) • Lunch: Grilled Turkey Reubens and Cultured Pickles • Breakfast: Toad-in-the-Hole(GF Option) and Vanilla Yogurt(GF) […]


  7. Sooo good, tasted a lot like a reuben (and could prob be made with most types of meats 🙂


  8. […] 7 • Dinner: Grilled Shrimp & Veggie Kebobs(GF) and Saffron Rice(Gluten-Free) • Lunch: Grilled Turkey Reubens and Cultured Pickles • Breakfast: Power Pancakes w/Berries, Scrambled Eggs and Nitrate-Free […]


  9. […] May 12 • Dinner: Grilled Fish Provencal(GF) and Saffron Rice w/Steamed Asparagus • Lunch: Grilled Turkey Reubens and Cultured Pickles • Breakfast: French Toast, Nitrate-Free Bacon and Fresh […]


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