healthy eating for healthy aging

3 Reasons to love leftover turkey

3 Reasons to love leftover turkey

In my opinion, the main reason to cook a full blown roast turkey dinner is the leftovers. On many occasions, after I spent Thanksgiving at someone else’s home, I cook my own turkey the next day, for the leftovers. Also for the fabulous aroma of roasting turkey.

Caring for leftover turkey

The important first step to enjoying leftover turkey is to remove the meat from the carcass. You could do this soon after the meal, or cover the turkey with foil or plastic wrap, store in the frig and do it the next day. Set aside large pieces of white meat for sandwiches. Save dark meat to mix with gravy, soups or sauces. Freeze portions you won’t eat up within a couple of days.

#1: Nutrition

Turkey is loaded with protein, low fat and relatively low calorie. B12 and zinc are other key nutrients. For me, the high protein content is key. You don’t need to eat much for a significant protein boost.

3 oz turkey, without skinwhite meatdark meat
calories125147
protein25 gr23 gr
fat1.7 gr5.1 gr
iron0.6 mg1.2 mg
zinc1.5 mg3 mg
vit B120.31 mcg1.4 mcg

#2: Tastes good

Whether white or dark meat, frozen or just carved, leftover turkey retains its flavor. Processed deli turkey is no comparison to the real thing.

#3: Many uses

Turkey is very versatile. You can make sandwiches or wraps, add it to soups or sauces, put it on pizza or add it to a salad. Here are some of my favorite things to do with leftover turkey (whether or not it’s been frozen):

  1. Turkey soup. Really delicious turkey soup starts with stock that you make from the turkey carcass. Dark meat is best for soup. Add cooked grains (barley is great), and a variety of vegetables like carrots, celery, onion, green beans, diced tomato.
  2. Turkey green chili. This is a good use for pieces of dark meat, as they add rich flavor.
  3. Turkey Molé. This has to be my favorite option, although making molé is a time consuming process. But so worth it. The flavor of good molé is off the charts. If you don’t want to make your own, you can always buy prepared sauce and just add your own turkey. NOTE: the flavor of molé sauce improves with time, so make it a day ahead, and refrigerate overnight.

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