Behind the Scenes on How Holiday Recipes Are Created at Butterball

As Butterball’s master chef and recipe developer, I have the privilege of testing and creating easy-to-make recipes that the whole family will enjoy. It’s important to know how to cook your holiday turkey, but those leftovers can be just as important—who doesn’t love trying new recipes with leftover turkey? So, let’s talk about preparing your turkey before and after the holiday meal.



Prep for the Turkey:

Before you get started in the kitchen, you should keep the following in mind when handling a turkey:

– Wash your hands often throughout the cooking process. I prefer food safe gloves when handling raw turkey.

– Always be sure to cook food to proper temperatures. If you want a perfect turkey every time, my best advice is to use a meat thermometer that is easy to read and use. You can use our easy meat thermometer guide for correct placement and check for doneness with this easy chart.

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe:

I love the flavor of a roasted turkey but sometimes I like to switch it up and put a simple twist on my turkey. I like using rubs or glazes. They require few ingredients, are simple to use, and pack a lot of flavor. One of my favorite glazes is the Cranberry Orange Glaze on Just combine orange marmalade, frozen cranberry juice concentrate, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and salt and you’ll have one flavorful turkey!

After eating your turkey, cover or seal leftovers within two hours and promptly refrigerate them to keep them fresh and safe. This will ensure that you will be able to enjoy your turkey leftovers and keep the festivities going. Check out our Four T’s to Turkey Safety on for more information.

Leftover Recipes:

Now for some delicious leftover recipes – it’s one of my favorite parts about working in the Butterball Kitchen. Specifically, I like reinventing traditional favorites by putting my turkey spin on it – below are some of my favorite leftover recipes and you can find many more leftover recipes on I hope you enjoy them too!

Tony 2

Four Cheese Turkey Mac & Cheese

Prep time: 25 minutes

Total time: Less than 60 minutes

Servings: 6


2 ½ cups uncooked elbow macaroni

2 cups chopped leftover cooked Butterball® Turkey

1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk

3 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese

½ cup (2 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

½ cup (2 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup (2 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. butter, melted

¼ tsp. garlic powder

1 cup soft white or whole wheat bread crumbs


1 cup cooked Butterball® Turkey Bacon OR 1 cup cooked Butterball® Turkey Sausage



1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse and drain.

3. Combine cooked pasta and Butterball® Turkey in separate bowl, combine milk, eggs, mustard,

4. Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Gradually stir cheeses into milk mixture. Stir milk mixture into pasta.

5. Spoon pasta mixture into well-sprayed 3-quart casserole dish. Combine melted butter and garlic powder in a small bowl. Stir in bread crumbs until evenly coated. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over top of pasta.

6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until pasta mixture is heated through and cheese is melted. Serve warm and enjoy!

*If you are adding turkey or bacon, combine with the turkey, milk, eggs, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and pepper.

Tony 3

Turkey, Brie and Cranberry Apple Panini

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total Time: Less than 30 minutes

Servings: 1


2 slices multi-grain bread

4 Tbsp butter, softened

2 Tbsp prepared cranberry chutney

1 Tbsp Dijonnaise

3 oz leftover cooked sliced Butterball® Turkey

2 oz sliced Brie cheese

3 slices unpeeled corded crisp apple


2 strips of cooked Butterball® Turkey Bacon


1. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter.

2. Spread other side of one slice of bread with cranberry chutney; spread other side of second slice with Dijonnaise.

3. Layer Butterball® Turkey, Brie, apple slices and spinach over chutney. Cover with second slice of bread, Dijonnaise facing spinach.

4. Grill sandwich in heated Panini grill 4 to 6 minutes or until golden brown on both sides and cheese is melted. Cut sandwich in half and serve.

*For and added crunch to your sandwich, add two strips of cooked Butterball® Turkey Bacon before serving.

If you have any questions while preparing the turkey, just Butterball It at We have 30+ years of turkey knowledge right at our fingertips, all powered by Turkey Talk-Line Experts.

I hope these recipes and tricks of the trade help keep your Thanksgiving holiday lasting for days! For additional recipes, cooking tips and food preparation advice visit





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