When you don’t have a lot of time or money to plan extravagant weeknight dinners, you have to cut some corners. The best way to do that is to make one supper staple at the beginning of the week — like a whole turkey — and use it throughout the week to make quick, healthy dishes that will keep your belly (and bank account) full. Check out these easy ideas on how to turn one turkey into seven different dinners.
1. Roast Turkey Breast
At the beginning of the week you’ll need to roast a turkey large enough to feed you (and your family if you have one). To keep the kitchen work to a minimum, plan to serve slices of turkey meat alongside freshly steamed veggies like broccoli or carrots and a starch, such as rice or mashed potatoes. With the drippings from the roast turkey, you can also make your own gravy with the juices and brown bits from the cooked bird. Reserve half of this gravy for later in the week.
2. Turkey Caesar Salad
What’s so great about turkey is that you can use it as a substitute for anything that calls for chicken and is sometimes a healthier alternative. This recipe for turkey Caesar salad uses coarsely chopped chunks of turkey straight from the fridge — no need to reheat a single thing. Toss that with chopped romaine lettuce, tangy Caesar dressing, croutons, and grated Parmesan cheese — you’ll have a filling meal in less than five minutes.
3. Turkey & Balsamic Onion Quesadillas
This recipe for turkey and balsamic onion quesadillas originally calls for slices of deli turkey, but you can use the turkey you cooked earlier by thinly slicing breast pieces or shredding other parts of the turkey. You’ll also need sliced onions that have been marinated in balsamic vinegar for about five minutes. Place the turkey, onions, rocket, chopped tomatoes or peppers,ur and some shredded cheddar cheese on top of one whole-wheat tortilla in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the cheese has melted, top with the remaining tortilla, and flip so the other side can brown.
4. Turkey Noodle Soup
You can make this dish relatively quickly from scratch by heating chicken broth and throwing in fresh herbs and a few veggies like carrots, celery and onions. Then, add the turkey and noodles after heating for half an hour. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until the turkey is heated through. If you want to save time, simply pick up a can of your favourite soup at your local market or takeaway restaurant and dress it up at home by adding the turkey.
5. Turkey Potpie
What’s more comforting than a chicken potpie? That’s right — a turkey potpie! To make this potpie super easy, mix chunks of turkey with a frozen veggie medley (thawed) that includes peas, carrots and lima beans. If you want to add potatoes, cut a couple into small chunks, boil until their fork tender, and mix with the turkey/veggie mix. Place the mixture into personal-sized, buttered casserole dishes, pour on the remaining gravy you made earlier in the week, and top with biscuit dough that you’ve prepared from a mix or refrigerated can. Since all the items besides the dough are cooked, you’ll only need to cook the dish according to the instructions on the dough package.
6. Turkey Stir Fry
Since your turkey is already cooked, you’ve got to be careful with this recipe because the turkey can dry out. Before tossing the turkey into a wok with frozen veggies, let the meat soak in a stir-fry marinade so it’s infused with lots of flavour. Cook all the other ingredients first, then toss in the turkey at the last minute only to heat it up. When all the ingredients are married, serve over a bed of brown rice or noodles.
7. Turkey Samosas
This one-dish recipe for turkey samosas contains most of the main food groups in tiny, popable pastries. Fill store-bought, refrigerated piecrust triangles with shredded turkey and mango chutney that has been mixed together with mashed potatoes. Pinch the edges of the triangles together, brush with water to seal, and bake until golden brown. Check out the full recipe for turkey samosas here.