Turkey Overload! What Do I Do?

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch
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Thanksgiving is less than a week away and I couldn’t be more excited to kick into Holiday gear! Delicious food, fellowship, and holiday cheer are all part of what makes this time of year spectacular. Often times we end up with so much leftover food, we don’t know what to do with it all! So before you throw out that extra turkey, I have a few suggestions you can use for planned-overs.

Firstly, turkey is an ideal protein to have on your plate! MyPlate recommends you choose lean sources of protein such as lean meats, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, and peas. Turkey is an excellent source of protein that can be made into a variety of dishes, so you never feel like you’re eating the same thing twice.

According to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and USDA Census of Agriculture, Sampson County is #1 in Turkeys, as well as our other favorite holiday food – sweet potatoes! When you choose to eat Turkey, you are supporting our local farmers and our local economy.

To help you use up the leftovers from Thanksgiving, I’ve included a few recipes from MyPlate’s 5 Way Series. Check them out below:

Turkey Tostadas – A spin on Taco Night!

2 cups cooked turkey (cut into bite-size pieces, or 2 cups ground turkey             browned in a skillet and drained)
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (chili)
1 1/2 cups water
4 corn tortillas
1/4 cup refried beans (low-fat or fat-free)
1/4 cup Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (shredded, low-fat)
1/2 cup tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 cup lettuce (shredded)
2 tablespoons onion (chopped)
8 tablespoons taco sauce (1/2 cup)
plain yogurt (low-fat or fat-free)
guacamole (or mashed avacado optional)


  1. Wash and prepare vegetables
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine turkey, taco seasoning, and water.
  3. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Place tortillas on a cooking sheet. Bake at 375° for 4-7 minutes or until tortillas are crispy.
  5. Spread tortillas with a tablespoon of beans. Top with 1/4 meat mixture and cheese.
  6. Return tortillas to oven to cook for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  7. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, onions and taco sauce. Garnish with yogurt and guacamole, if desired.

Serves 4.

*Note from Sydney: I prefer fat-free Greek yogurt for topping tacos rather than plain yogurt because it has more of a sour-cream consistency. You can try fat-free Greek yogurt in place of the plain! I love this recipe because it’s a crowd-pleaser, giving your eaters the option of what toppings they enjoy on their tostada.

Shepard’s Turkey Pie

A twist on a classic.

2 onions (sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups turkey breast (chopped or chicken)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups low-sodium carrots (canned and drained)
2 cups low-sodium tomatoes (canned and drained)
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (if you like)
6 potatoes (baked, peeled and mashed)


  1. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, cook the onions and garlic in one tablespoon of oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the turkey. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to blend.
  3. Add the chicken broth, carrots, and tomatoes. If using rosemary, add that too. Cook over medium heat until thickened.
  4. Oil casserole dish with remaining oil and pour in mixture.
  5. Spread the potatoes over the top. Bake in oven at 375 degrees F, 20 to 30 minutes, or until browned.

Serves 8.

*Note from Sydney: This is PERFECT for after your Thanksgiving feast. We often have foods like carrots and mashed potatoes already made up (and usually leftover) from our meal. I have also often seen peas added to Shepard’s pie and think it would be a great addition to this recipe if you have them!

Other popular recipes included on the Turkey 5-Way series are Turkey Roast and Rice Soup, Turkey Potato Salad, and Eve’s Tasty Turkey Tetrazzini. You can see the rest of the five-way series recipes, as well as other healthy recipe options on the Choose My Plate website.