An easy one-pot dinner uses leftover turkey to create a comforting meal for the family in just about 30 minutes.
What a difference a year makes! Last year, most of us celebrated Thanksgiving with our immediate household. Now that many Americans have access to COVID vaccinations, it looks like we’re going to celebrate with more family and friends this year.
According to AAA, Thanksgiving travel will rebound to near pre-pandemic levels, which translates to 53.4 million people on the road and in the air this week.
And not only are travel numbers on the increase, so are food prices (but you don’t need me to tell you that). According to the USDA, food prices are up 5.3 percent from October 2020 to October 2021.
If the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving dinner will be a golden-brown turkey, chances are it’s larger and more expensive this year. Butterball executives recently told the Associated Press that labor shortages and delays in processing plants are the culprits for this trend.
Given the larger gatherings and the cost of food this year, we would do well to be especially mindful in using all the leftovers. So, after you’ve enjoyed the turkey and dressing sandwiches, this recipe for Turkey Skillet Pot Pie will fill tummies for Thanksgiving weekend and help you use the last of the bird before making stock with the carcass.
This recipe features a comforting white sauce with a hint of nutmeg that bathes turkey and vegetables, and the buttermilk biscuits that top the skillet pie bake up golden yet wonderfully stodgy on the bottom.
I think you could even use leftover green bean casserole in place of the mixed vegetables if necessary. However, in my house, we never have leftover green bean casserole because it’s everybody’s favorite.
For this recipe you’ll need:
2 cups cubed and cooked turkey
1 (12-ounce) bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
¼ cup flour
1 (10-ounce) can chicken broth
1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
¼ cup milk (2-percent or whole)
⅓ onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
It’s recommended you use a cast iron skillet for this recipe, but if you don’t have one, be sure the skillet is completely oven safe. Another option is to make most of the dish on the stovetop and transfer to a buttered casserole before topping with the biscuits.
To begin, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat and add onion. Sauté until onions just start to turn golden and are softened.
Whisk together milk, flour, broth, pepper and nutmeg. Pour into skillet, and cook until mixture begins to thicken.
Stir in turkey and vegetables.
Open biscuits and cut each into quarters. Top skillet with pieces of biscuit. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops of biscuits have browned and the turkey mixture is bubbly.
The Taste of Home recipe this is based on says the skillet dinner will serve six people. I don’t see that. If I’m doing the math correctly, six people would get a three-ounce serving of turkey and vegetables.
When I made this, four adult-size portions was the yield. We had the skillet pot pie with a simple side salad for a satisfying dinner.
Turkey sliders are another delicious way to use up leftover turkey after Thanksgiving.
If you roasted a chicken for a smaller Thanksgiving feast, those leftovers would be a natural swap for turkey.
For folks who aren’t into Thanksgiving leftovers, your freezer is your best friend! Cooked turkey is definitely freezer-friendly. Just remove the meat from the turkey (slices thaw much quicker than large pieces) and store in a freezer bag. If you can’t make that turkey stock within three days of Thanksgiving, freeze the carcass until you’re ready to use it.
That delicious turkey gravy also can be frozen, so long as it’s flour-based. Just store in smaller freezer bags or freezer-safe containers alongside your turkey. I’m seeing open-faced turkey sandwiches with gravy here, are you?
Cranberry sauce, stuffing and roasted sweet potatoes (or other vegetables) will freeze, too. Tip: The sweet potato casserole toppings won’t freeze well, so if that’s what you made, just remove the crumble or marshmallows before freezing.
Mashed potatoes and green bean casserole won’t freeze well because of milk used in those recipes. Best to use those leftovers within two or three days of Thanksgiving. And any uneaten servings of pie can be frozen, but note that sometimes the texture of pumpkin pie changes a little once frozen and defrosted. Fruit pies should be fine.
If you have a favorite recipe for using Thanksgiving leftovers, be sure to drop a comment below!