Cook once; eat twice. Homemade Turkey Pot Pie

chicken pot pieThanksgiving is a wonderful time to enjoy happy moments with the ones you love. Family and friends gather together in celebration to give thanks to each other, appreciate life’s blessings, and to eat a bounty of delicious home cooked dishes. It is also an excellent time to explore in the kitchen and to try new recipes in addition to your traditional family dishes.

But after the celebration has ended and your guests have all gone home, the question always comes up… “What to do with all that leftover turkey?” It is always a challenge to determine what to do with leftovers after a large gathering, especially around the holidays. This time why not savor the celebration and use your turkey to create a delicious, classic dish with a twist? Turkey Pot Pie.

Try a new take on my homemade Chicken Pot Pie recipe adapted for your Thanksgiving leftovers. Just skip to step   3 in the instructions and substitute the chicken for your leftover turkey

 

 

This Turkey Pot Pie is a wonderful addition to your freezer, so if you get home late, you can have dinner ready in about 30 minutes.  Freezer to microwave, microwave to oven, oven to table.  Since it is full of mixed vegetables, it can really be a one-pot meal on nights when you just don’t have time to cook.

Store bought pie crust and frozen vegetables

 

 

 

 

This Chicken Pot Pie recipe uses a pie crust topping that you buy in the freezer case at the grocery store.  Some crusts are slightly more healthy than others, for example, some are made with whole wheat but nearly all of them include palm oil, butter or lard.  These fats are high in saturated fats, which is why they are solid at room temperature.

Generally I recommend that as much as possible you should avoid commercially processed foods. On this one, I’ll make an exception due to the food science behind how to make the perfect pie crust.  Pie crusts, even those you make at home, will have a better texture and flakiness if a saturated fat is used. Saturated Fat is bad for your heart health, and in general should be avoided.

If you try to make a pie crust with canola oil or olive oil, the texture can be tough and unappealing. I do make crusts using various oils for certain things, but that is a topic for another day. You can also make them with a different type of topping, for example panko bread crumbs, or a soft doughy roll batter, but I’ve yet to find a solution to this problem.  If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

An old fashioned “stirred” crust is another option  to make at home

One homemade crust that I will sometimes use is a “stirred” crust that includes whole wheat flour, canola oil and skim milk. That is the type of turkey leftovers

crust I sometimes make when I have time. It’s a very old, traditional recipe I originally learned from my mother, but is based on a version you can find in the classic Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

Make your pot pie in advance for a quick meal after a long day

Turkey or chicken pot pie is a dish that is super easy to make, freezes well, and at least in our house, never has any leftovers.  So every once in a while I will make them, usually two at a time — one to serve and one to freeze.

This is also a tasty “comfort food” that is good to make when you are undergoing chemotherapy or other treatment for breast or other cancers.  When you’ve been out at the doctor all day, the last thing you want to do when you get home is start cooking dinner.  Having a homemade chicken pot pie in the freezer solves this problem if you make it in advance.

Bechamel, a mother sauce of French cuisine

The only slightly tricky part (not really) is making the white sauce (bechamel) that holds the whole thing together.  Since white sauce is one of the “mother sauces” used in many, many French dishes, it’s not a bad idea to learn how to make it. It really only takes about 5-10 minutes to put together if you have the ingredients which are typically part of your basic pantry anyway.

If you follow a vegetarian diet, you can substitute firm tofu for the turkey or chicken

If you follow a vegetarian diet, or simply don’t eat chicken or turkey, try making this recipe without the chicken or turkey.  If you’d like to add some additional protein to your pie, try cutting up cubes of firm tofu as a  substitute.

In comparison, Tofu provides 10 grams of protein in a half cup, a half cup of chopped turkey provides about 20 grams of protein; and a half cup of chopped chicken provides around 16 grams of protein.

 

 

 

Hi, I am

Barbara Spalding MS, RDN, Culinary Dietitian

As a dietitian and world traveler, I love bold flavors — in food and in life. 14 years ago, I fell down the rabbit hole into Breast Cancer Wonderland. Since then, I’ve learned to cook differently while savoring the pleasures of food and companionship. I’ve built a resilient new life and a bold new kitchen. Let me show you the flavors of the world.
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Print Recipe
Chicken Pot Pie
This is a quick and easy way to make homemade chicken pot pie. I try to keep one in the freezer most of the time so that I always have dinner waiting in a pinch.
Turkey Pot Pie
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Rate this recipe!
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1.5 hour
Servings
6 people
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1.5 hour
Servings
6 people
Turkey Pot Pie
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Chop your leftover turkey (or chicken) into bite-size pieces.
  2. Make the bechamel sauce by mixing the olive oil, butter, flour, milk, nutmeg, thyme, and black pepper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Rinse the frozen vegetables under cold running water to defrost them.
  5. Spray a deep dish pie pan with canola oil. Add the chopped chicken, vegetables and bechamel sauce.
  6. Cook the pie for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F.
  7. After 15 minutes, lower the oven to 350 degrees F and continue to cook the pie for 30 min.
  8. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer (internal heat should exceed 165 degrees F).
  9. Serve and enjoy!
  10. *Note - If you follow a gluten free diet due to gluten sensitivity or allergy, adjust your ingredients to be gluten free.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition information per serving:  472 calories;  21 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat;  90 mg cholesterol;  255 mg sodium; 35 grams carbohydrate;  6 grams dietary fiber;  35 grams protein (values are approximate).