With small turkeys scarce, here's how to use up those leftovers on your table

Samantha Hendrickson
Wisconsin State Farmer

Smaller Thanksgiving turkeys will be harder to find this year, thanks to issues with supply chains and other national shortages. 

So if you find yourself with a larger turkey than you can eat on Thanksgiving Day here are some reader and reporter recipes for your turkey leftovers. 

Turkey mess 

Recipe courtesy of Bob Micks

Shredded turkey




Leftover Thanksgiving stuffing 

First, place the skillet over medium heat. Adding butter as needed —or as wanted —add shredded leftover turkey, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and leftover Thanksgiving stuffing.

Finally, heat and eat your turkey mess! 

Turkey leftovers, enchilada style 

Recipe courtesy of Lisa Hendrickson

I have fond memories of my mother, Lisa's, post-Thanksgiving turkey enchiladas, which gave a little kick to our leftovers after a few days of heavier, classic Thanksgiving dishes. 

The best thing about these enchiladas is that as long as you have the basics, you can throw whatever you like into the mix or on top. 

Enchilada Filling

8-16 flour or corn tortillas (less filling in corn tortillas if used).

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cups of cooked, shredded turkey 

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 cups of cheese of cotija cheese

2 tbsp. green chiles

2-3 tbsp. of lime juice 

1-2 tsp. of salt to taste

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. oregano

1 tsp. black pepper 

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. coriander

3/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Enchilada Topping/Sauce

16 oz of salsa verde 

Fresh cilantro 

Fresh red onions, chopped

Cotija cheese to sprinkle 

After stripping your Thanksgiving turkey, shred the meat. Warm it up in a pan and toss with olive oil and spices. 

Saute the finely chopped onions, garlic, green chiles and lime juice to brighten up the flavor — separate from the turkey. Combine turkey and veggies with cheese to make filling.

Fill tortillas with enchilada filling. 

Cook the enchiladas at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven type.

Finally, sprinkle with toppings listed or toppings of choice.

Some years, we've added black beans to the mix, or sour cream for a topping. Other years we're left out the chipotle for a lighter flavor, or added jalapeños for an additional spicy surprise. 

Turkey Ala King

Recipe courtesy of Colleen Kottke

Wisconsin State Farmer editor Colleen Kottke said leftover turkey was highly prized by her brood of four boys. 

"In fact, they begged me not to let everyone eat all of the turkey up on Thanksgiving Day so there would be enough leftover for Turkey ala King the next day," Kottke said. "They liked it so much that there were actual fights over who would get second helpings."

1 medium onion, chopped

¾ cup sliced celery

¼ cup diced green pepper

¼ cup butter, cubed

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1-½ cups chicken broth

¼ cup half-and-half cream

3 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken

1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)

6 slices bread, toasted

In a large skillet, saute the onion, celery and green pepper in butter until tender. Stir in flour and whisk until a roux forms.

Gradually stir in broth. Bring to a gentle boil until thickened, being careful not to scorch the mixture - about 1 minute. Reduce heat. Add cream, turkey and mushrooms, if desired. Heat through. Serve with toast.

Note: If you don't have cream in the house, a half can of cream of chicken soup and half can of milk will do fine.

Aged Cheddar-Turkey Chowder

Aged Cheddar-Turkey Chowder

Recipe courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon butter, cubed

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 cups chicken stock

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 bag (12 ounces) frozen corn

¼ to ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups shredded cooked turkey

1 ½cups half-and-half cream

12 ounces Springside 2 Year Aged Cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups)

Salt and pepper to taste

Salted pepitas and hot pepper sauce

Sauté onion in butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in flour until light brown. Gradually stir in chicken stock; add the potatoes, corn and nutmeg.

Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in turkey and cream; simmer for 5-6 minutes longer or until heated through. Remove from the heat. Gradually stir in cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle chowder into serving bowls. Top with pepitas and hot pepper sauce. Serves 8.

Creamy Fontina Turkey Pasta Bake

Creamy Fontina Turkey Pasta Bake

Recipe courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

1 package (16 ounces) uncooked rigatoni pasta

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

12 ounces BelGioioso Ricotta con Latte® cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)

3 cups shredded cooked turkey

12 ounces BelGioioso Fontina cheese, shredded and divided (3 cups)

3 to 4 tablespoons minced fresh sage

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375°F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Sauté onion in olive oil in a 6-quart ovenproof or cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes until tender. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in ricotta.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the turkey, 2 1/2 cups fontina, sage and pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with remaining fontina. Bake, covered, for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Serves 6-8

TIP: Don't have a 6-quart ovenproof Dutch oven? No problem. Make the recipe in your Dutch oven, and transfer the pasta-turkey mixture to a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Bake as directed.

Samantha Hendrickson can be reached at 414-223-5383 or shendrickson@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @samanthajhendr.