Turkey alfredo is the answer for your post-Thanksgiving leftovers. Turkey, bacon, peas, and penne pasta are coated in a creamy alfredo sauce. It's made in a single pan and ready in 30 minutes!
Have a heap of Thanksgiving turkey leftovers? Turkey alfredo is the answer. Cooked turkey, pasta, bacon, peas, and a creamy sauce will help you forget that you've eaten turkey sandwiches three days in a row.
The best part about this skillet meal, aside from using up your leftovers, is that it's made in a single pan. This means less mess and less cleanup for you!
Looking for more leftover turkey recipes? Try my creamy turkey noodle soup next!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Turkey - This recipe is perfect for using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat. Turkey can also be substituted with shredded rotisserie chicken.
- Chicken broth - Can be substituted with vegetable broth.
- Penne pasta - Can be substituted with any medium sized dried pasta like farfalle, shells, or elbow macaroni. Be sure to follow the pasta's package cooking directions for accurate times.
- Frozen peas - Can be substituted with any leftover veggies you may have from Thanksgiving. Cooked corn or green beans work great.
- Bacon - Adds flavor and a crunchy element to the dish. We're also utilizing the bacon grease to sauté our onion and garlic for extra flavor.
- Heavy cream - Adds a rich, creamy element to the dish. Heavy cream could be substituted with half & half if desired. Using milk will make the sauce thin.
- Onion & garlic - Add flavor to the skillet meal. Two cloves of garlic can be substituted with ½ teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Seasoning - Salt and pepper lightly season the dish.
- Parmesan cheese - Adds flavor and saltiness to the dish. I highly recommend using freshly grated parmesan from a block rather than parmesan-style cheese in a canister. Canister cheese doesn't melt evenly and instead adds a grainy texture.
Tips and tricks
Use up leftovers - This skillet meal is a great way to use up multiple leftovers from a holiday meal. Cooked turkey or chicken can be used as the main protein. Bacon could be substituted with leftover holiday ham, and frozen peas can be substituted with other veggies like green beans or corn.
Thickening the sauce - This recipe doesn't utilize traditional thickening agents like flour or cornstarch. Instead, we're relying on the starches released from the pasta as it cooks. Make sure your liquids and pasta are measured accurately - this recipe calls for just enough to cook the pasta without leaving excess liquid in the pan. If your sauce looks thin after cooking, remove from heat and allow it to set for 5 minutes. The sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
Frequently asked questions
This recipe fits into a 12 inch sauté pan. A sauté pan has tall, vertical sides and differs from a skillet, which has slightly less deep, sloping sides.
This recipe doesn't utilize any traditional thickening agents like flour or cornstarch, so the liquid and pasta must be measured accurately to prevent a thin sauce. There's just enough liquid included in the recipe to cook the pasta without leaving excess liquid in the pan. If your sauce looks thin after the dish is done cooking, remove it from the heat and allow it to set for 5 minutes. The sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
Turkey alfredo leftovers will keep for 2 to 3 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. To help prevent the sauce from separating while reheating, reheat slowly over medium-low heat. If the sauce does split, try adding a splash of heavy cream to bring it back together.
I don't recommend freezing this recipe because dairy based sauces don't freeze well and cooked pasta tends to get mushy.
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 ounces chicken broth
- 8 ounces heavy cream
- 6 ounces penne pasta, uncooked
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound leftover cooked turkey, cubed or shredded
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ⅔ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- In a saute pan over medium heat, add chopped bacon. Once cooked through, remove bacon and drain all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the pan. Add diced onion and cook until lightly browned. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add chicken broth, heavy cream, pasta, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until pasta is cooked to al dente (consult your pasta package's cooking directions for times).
- Uncover and add turkey, bacon, peas, and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until dish is warmed through and cheese is melted.
- Remove from heat and allow to set for 5 minutes. Sauce will thicken as it stands. Serve and enjoy.
- I do not recommend using pre-shredded cheese or grated cheese in a green canister. These cheeses contain anti-clumping powders that become grainy when melted. Freshly shredded cheese ensures your sauce is smooth and creamy.
- Utilize several leftovers with this skillet meal. Turkey or chicken work as the main protein. Bacon can be substituted with chopped ham, and peas can be substituted with green beans or corn.
- Leftovers will keep for 2 to 3 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.