Christmas and Thanksgiving just aren’t the same for most families, unless it involves a great big roast turkey, with all the trimmings. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. But what to do with all those turkey leftovers…

If your family’s Christmas table was anything like else, the turkey wasn’t even the main event. A large, shiny leg of ham was usually the centrepiece. Then there’d be fresh fish of some sort, usually snapper. And of course the BBQ would be fired up, so there’d be sausages and steaks too. All these options usually lead to… quite a bit of leftover turkey.

Never fear! There are lots of things you can do with that turkey, which means you don’t need to think about leftover turkey and salad for boxing day… and in the car on the trip to the campsite… and cold with salads at the campsite… etc. etc. etc.

All of these recipes would work with leftover ham and chicken too!

Turkey and Cream Cheese Pizza

Leftovers on pizza means you’ll hardly remember they’re leftovers at all.  Smothered in cheese, almost everything tastes good!  The trick to this pizza being especially delicious, is to use lots of cream cheese.


125 gm Cream Cheese (approx half a pottle)

2 handfuls of shredded cold turkey

3 Tbsp cranberry sauce

1 cup grated cheese

1 large pizza base


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
  2. Spread the cranberry sauce liberally over the pizza base.
  3. Evenly distribute the shredded turkey.
  4. Dot pieces of cream cheese over the turkey – lots of dots = lots of deliciousness!
  5. Throw the grated cheese over the top.
  6. Bake pizza until base is cooked through and cheese is melted – approximately 12-15 minutes on a precooked base or 25-30 minutes on a fresh dough base.

Turkey Quesadillas

Tantalising Ideas for Leftover Turkey-Quesadillas

For a Mexican-inspired dish to entice the whole family, try this one.  Serve with fresh guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa on the side, to dip the wedges into.  If you find the idea (or reality) of flipping the second layer too much, cut them back to a single layer and they’ll still be delicious.


Per person eating:

3 round tortillas

1/2 cup grated cheese

1 cup shredded turkey

1 sliced spring onion


  1. Heat a frypan on a medium heat.
  2. Place one tortilla on the pan and heat it for 45 seconds.
  3. Flip the tortilla and sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese on the warm side.
  4. Sprinkle 1/2 turkey on top, and 1/2 the sliced spring onion.
  5. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese on top of the turkey and onion, and top with another tortilla.
  6. After about 30 seconds, carefully flip the tortilla stack so the crispy side faces up.
  7. Repeat steps 3-5 with the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Repeat step 6 – carefully!
  9. Once the cheese is melted through both layers, slide the quesadilla out onto a chopping board.  Cut into several wedges.

Turkey and bean soup

Sometimes you want to have something a bit lighter and healthier after the heavy Christmas food has been hanging round.  Weather in parts of NZ can also be very changable in the holiday season, so you may feel like something warming.  Alternatively, whip it up in a spare moment over the holidays, and freeze it in batches for a cooler day.


2 cups cooked turkey, diced into bite-size pieces

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup frozen corn

2 ribs celery, finely sliced

2 cans beans (leftover bean salad can work, or kidney, cannellini beans or chickpeas all work well) – drained and rinsed

6 cups chicken stock

1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp salt, adjust to taste

Freshly ground black pepper


Heat a large, heavy based pan over a medium heat.  Heat a small amount of oil and add diced onion, celery and garlic. Stir until softened.  Add cumin, salt and pepper, and stir into the vegetables.  Add all other ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Simmer gently for approximately 30 minutes, or until celery is soft to the bite.  Serve with cheesy toast or crusty bread.

Turkey Salad Wrap

Tantalising Ideas for Leftover Turkey-Salad Wrap

A delicious and light way to use up your leftover Christmas turkey.

Serves 1


1/4 – 1/2 cup turkey breast, sliced

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon honey mustard dressing

1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Ground black pepper

1/2 cup rocket or other salad greens

1 small carrot, grated

1 tortilla


Stir mayonnaise, honey mustard dressing and white wine vinegar in a small bowl.  Add turkey and coat it in the dressing.

Put the tortilla on a plate and place the coated turkey in a line down 2/3rds of the centre.

Top with the salad greens and grated carrot.  Fold up the bottom and then the sides of the tortilla.  Enjoy!

And enjoy your holidays and all the joys wonderful food and family can bring.

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Sally is the Community Manager here at Kiwi Families. She fills her time with her handsome, busy boys and her handsome, busy husband; trying out new recipes and researching and writing about family life in Aotearoa.

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