Frugal recipes for your turkey leftovers

lovemoney staff
by Lovemoney Staff lovemoney staff on 26 December 2012  |  Comments 3 comments

Turn those turkey leftovers into a deliciously frugal meal from just 82p per person.

Frugal recipes for your turkey leftovers

There is more to turkey leftovers than sandwiches and with a bit of creativity you can make a tasty family dish without having to spend much  money.

Here I’ve picked out three easy recipes to choose from.  

First there is a classic turkey curry from Paul Waburton followed by two dishes from Phil Vickery – a turkey pie and turkey bubble and squeak cakes.

If you want more inspiration the internet is stacked full of inspiring recipes and our sister site is a good place to start.

Ingredients – The Massaman curry

  • One large white onion (9p)
  • One lime (30p)
  • Two cans (400ml each) of coconut milk (£1.50)
  • One jar (185g) of Massaman paste (£1.49)
  • 500g of easy cook rice (89p)

Leftovers and store cupboard:

  • Salt, black pepper, vegetable oil, peanut butter, brown sugar, fish sauce, potatoes, pheasant or turkey thighs, legs and wings.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to, this trolley came to £4.27 or £1.07 per head at Tesco and Sainsburys.


  • Firstly, get a large wok on the heat and add a really good glug of vegetable oil. Season the pheasant thighs, legs and wings and brown in the wok. Remove from the wok and then add the sliced white onion and soften a little.
  • Now add the Massaman paste, two tablespoons of peanut butter, one tablespoon of brown sugar and salt and pepper. Cook out the paste a little and add a cup of water to loosen the sauce.
  • Next up add the coconut milk and three tablespoons of fish sauce. Bring up to a simmer and add back the pheasant pieces (add the cooked leftover turkey at this stage as well). Simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes until the pheasant is tender.
  • Finally add the leftover potatoes to heat through and the juice of one lime.
  • Serve with steamed white rice

Ingredients – Turkey pie

  • 1 Onion, peeled and chopped finely (9p)
  • 1 Garlic clove, chopped finely (30p for a bulb)
  • 2 tbsp Chopped tarragon (65p)
  • 1 375g Ready rolled shortcrust pastry sheet (£1.25)
  • 1 Beaten egg (£1 for a pack of six free-range eggs)

Leftovers and store cupboard:

  • 350 g (12.3oz) Cooked British turkey, chopped
  • 300 g (10.6oz) Cooked potatoes, cubed
  • 150 g (5.3oz) Peas, cooked
  • 2 small carrots, cooked cut into small pieces
  • 1 pint (0.6l) thick gravy, any will do

Total cost:

This is going to be a really cheap dish to make if you've already got the basics. The extra ingredients listed above cost £3.29 at Asda, or 82p a head for a family of four. If you’re really trying to save money you could make your own shortcrust pastry.


  1. Pre heat the oven to 200°C gas 6.
  2. Heat the oil and add the onions and garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the turkey, potatoes, peas, carrots, tarragon and gravy and mix.
  4. Spoon into a large, deep oval dish.
  5. Egg the top of the baking dish, then lay the pastry over, press down well and decorate the edges by scoring with a knife.
  6. Egg wash well, then make 2-3 slits in the top of the pastry. Bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Serve with pickled red cabbage and pickled walnuts.

Ingredients – Turkey bubble and squeak cakes

  • 1 Small onion, peeled and finely chopped, (9p)
  • 1 Egg lightly beaten
  • 4 Lightly poached eggs (£1 for a pack of six free-range eggs)
  • 1 Jar of hollandaise sauce (£1.33 for a 200ml Maille jar)
  • 1 Bag of watercress (£1)

Leftovers and cupboard staples:

  • 25 g (0.9oz) Unsalted butter
  • 450 g (15.9oz) Potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 350 g (12.3oz) Cooked British turkey thigh, chopped
  • 300 g (10.6oz) Cooked cabbage or spinach, chopped
  • 150 g (5.3oz) French beans, cooked
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Handful of dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • 1 Pinch of freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 Splash of vegetable oil for cooking

Total cost

The extras for this dish cost £3.42, or 86p a head for a family of four at Asda. If you want to save more money you could choose a packet Hollandaise sauce, or make your own following this recipe


  1. Heat the butter in a frying pan and cook the onions for 2-3 minutes, until slightly soft and translucent.
  2. Place the mashed potatoes, cooked onions, turkey, cabbage and salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the olive oil and a few dry breadcrumbs to form a firm but not stiff mixture. Form the mixture into 4 balls, flatten on both sides to make thick cakes, and dust with flour. Brush the cakes all over with egg and coat with more breadcrumbs.
  4. Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the cakes on both sides for 3 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Place a little watercress on a warm plate, top with a cake, and a poached egg on top. Serve with French beans and hollandaise sauce.

More on Christmas shopping:

Top credit cards for Christmas shopping

Top 10 cheap and free Christmas activities for kids!

Swap your unwanted Christmas presents online!

Twelve good, cheap Christmas gift ideas

Cheap Christmas drinks 2012

The hidden dangers of Christmas

This is a classic article updated for 2011.

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Comments (3)

  • Mike10613
    Love rating 632
    Mike10613 said

    If you don't have all of the ingredients, Asda is open today; Tesco is closed unfortunately. You never seems to remember to put Massaman paste and coconut milk on the shopping list at Christmas; do you? I'm happy with some cold turkey and ham with pickles; I don't want to cook again. The left over potato should be stir fried until golden brown. I put Branston (smooth one) on mine. Now that is frugal and it tastes nice too! I wonder why people are obsessed with foreign food? I do a Chinese stir fry sometimes but British food is still good.

    Report on 26 December 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Iamcoldsteve
    Love rating 331
    Iamcoldsteve said

    My grandad had a saying about turkey. Once hot, once cold and the dog gets the rest.

    Personally I don't like turkey. It is usually pretty dry and awful. We elected to enjoy a nice joint of beef this year, and as we have done for as long as I can remember. As there was about a dozen of us, the joint needs to be pretty big, and a big joint always cooks nicely.

    Report on 01 January 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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