Leftover turkey alfredo skillet meal is the answer for your post-Thanksgiving leftovers.
Turkey, bacon, peas, and penne pasta are coated in a creamy alfredo sauce. Made in a single pan and ready in 30 minutes.
You look forward to that Thanksgiving turkey all year long. Once is has passed, somehow you have a heap of leftovers staring you down.
This leftover turkey alfredo skillet meal is the answer. Add pasta, bacon, and a creamy sauce, and you'll 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. Less cleanup in the kitchen? I'm all for it.
Looking for more leftover turkey recipes? Try my Creamy Turkey Noodle Soup next!
Using Thanksgiving leftovers
Using up leftover turkey doesn't have to be a pain. For this recipe, you'll need one pound of leftover turkey. If you don't have leftover turkey on hand, you can also use a pound of rotisserie chicken instead.
Did you also have ham for Thanksgiving? You're welcome to substitute the bacon and/or turkey in this recipe with ham instead. You'll also want to add a tablespoon of butter if you won't be utilizing the bacon grease.
Serve a giant bowl of peas, green beans, or corn for Thanksgiving? No worries, toss them into your skillet meal in place of the peas that are called for.
Ingredients and substitutions
Turkey can be substituted with shredded rotisserie chicken or ham.
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.
Frozen peas can be substituted with any leftover veggies you may have from Thanksgiving. Cooked corn or green beans can also be mixed in.
If you decide to use a different shape of pasta, consult the pasta's package directions for cooking times and adjust the recipe accordingly.
Thickening your sauce
You may notice that there are no thickening agents like flour or cornstarch included in this recipe.
That's because the measurements in this recipe include just enough liquid for your pasta to absorb while cooking, with just enough to make an alfredo sauce.
The pasta also releases starches as it cooks, which help to thicken your sauce naturally.
If your sauce looks thin, remove your finished pan from the heat and allow it to set, uncovered, for five minutes. Your sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
Turkey alfredo leftovers?
Do you have leftover turkey alfredo ... leftovers? Here's the thing about dairy based sauces - they do not generally reheat well.
Yes, this dish will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but the sauce will likely separate when reheating. It will still taste good, but won't look as pretty as it did fresh off the stove.
Dairy based sauces also do not freeze well, so I do not recommend freezing this dish for later.
Leftover Turkey Alfredo Skillet Meal
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 ounces penne pasta, uncooked
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound leftover turkey, cubed
- 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 one minute before 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.
- Leftover turkey can be substituted with cooked rotisserie chicken or leftover ham.