Turkey Hot Pockets: Post-Christmas Letdown Recipes Edition

Look, I am a little cranky post-Christmas to be honest with you. Too much booze, not enough sleep, and all that cooking and cleaning kind of take the shine off of it, you know?

I have 17 out of 18 lbs of turkey leftover. This may be due to my annual salmonella freak out that turned everyone off of eating the beautiful, tasty and terribly large turkey that I prepared for four adults and two children.

Christmas 2012 007

Look at that beautiful goddamn thing. My dad (who is carving it) ate the drumstick and that’s about it.

After the turkey casseroles were made and the turkey soup I still had about 8-10 lbs to go, and I remembered the most amazing idea ever. A few months ago, Brother Jon had the thought of the genius thanksgiving hot pocket. He is a visionary. I would buy a thousand of those and serve them up fresh from the toaster oven for every special occasion from now until forever. I promised to prototype it with my Canadian Thanksgiving leftovers and then promptly forgot about it in a fit of not wanting to do anymore cooking ever, as is my semi-annual holiday tradition.

But today; today in the haze of grumpiness I prototyped. I made this calzone dough, although any recipe that you can find on the internet would do, I guess. I don’t bake, which should be strongly factored in to all of my advice. Seriously? Every holiday I have ever had in history has been somehow brought down to disaster by baking.

So I made the dough. As in, I dumped all of the ingredients into my KitchenAid and sat down to have a coffee for 10 minutes because my hands are tired and there’s a machine that does the kneading sort of for you. Then I dumped the contents into a bowl, covered with olive oil and turned the bread proof function on in my oven because that is a real thing that new ovens have.

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Ingredients made into a ball of something that will turn into something else. ALCHEMY.

Then I waited for yeast to do its thing (seriously, bread is a miracle, isn’t it?) and then I cut it in 4, and let the yeast do it’s thing again. Then I stretched it out and filled it, and basically if you understand how a calzone works you can figure this part out.

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This could have easily been a flat bread had I not put in the effort to fold it in half. *pats self on back

The filling I used was turkey, roasted brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole with apples and pecans, cranberries and then a big dollop of gravy on top because gravy. I know not all these things are on people’s holiday menus and you hate brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes are terrible or whatever, but look, I DON’T KNOW YOUR LIFE. Put whatever you want in it, ok? This isn’t Epicurious. (sorry, I have the Christmas letdowns. I am going to go get some more Bailey’s).

So then I sealed it up. I didn’t do the egg wash thing like the recipe said because that seemed like effort. But I did put some olive oil on it because olive oil is my favourite and thanks to Madame Weebles and Nudo, I now have a lot of it. Or at least I did, until I left the olive oil close to a 3-year-old. Now I have a whole turkey casserole that is going to be poached in olive oil when I put it in the oven. I’ll let you know how that tastes.

Then baked it at about 400 for about 20 minutes until they were brown and gravy was leaking from them. I told you I wasn’t very good at this.

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Turkey dinner hot pockets, fresh from the oven and taken from the most flattering and least leaky angle.

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The Maillard reaction improves the look and taste of everything in life.

Even the 3 year olds took exactly one bite of it before declaring it yucky, so I’d say that was a success.

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Taste test.

The true test will be if anyone actually eats the leftover one tomorrow because no one in this house has eaten a leftover since the early aughts.


Mashed potatoes aren’t my favourite in there. It was a kind of bland layer. Maybe if you mixed the gravy directly into the mashed potato it would be better.

More gravy. Because. Maybe some bacon. Definitely more cranberries if you’re into that sort of thing.

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No gravy oozing. Disappointing.

Do not leave a full bottle of olive oil anywhere near a 3-year-old. Terrible outcome.

Perhaps drink less coping booze for big holidays to avoid post-Christmas rut.  You know what, ima just forget I said that altogether. CHEERS.



  1. It sounds like maybe you DO KNOW MY LIFE. I’ve never had Brussels sprouts at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I do like them. And people that don’t like sweet potatoes are a little weird in my book. Anyway…those look great. I would have to agree with the bacon thing. Pork fat rules.

    1. I normally put some type of cured meat in with my brussels sprouts I just forgot this year.. but it would have made it taste even better. Kind of cut the sweetness of the cranberries and sweet potatoes. But it is kind of a genius idea.. who doesn’t love all the flavours of turkey dinner altogether?

      I wished I had also had the mental capacity to figure out how to make them shelf-stable so I could send you some!

  2. These are quite creative, RG! A great way to use leftovers. I wonder if cheese would help. The best thing about calzones is all the gooey, yummy cheese. Maybe leave out the veggies and just do turkey (since you have so much of it) cranberry sauce and brie? Then a salad on the side. Don’t know, just ruminating about turkey leftover calzones.

    1. I am not a cheese eater, which is why I didn’t include it, but I think that would be a good variation. I think you’d get the similar gooey effect if you didn’t have the potatoes in there soaking up the gravy. Maybe another business idea would be customizable hot pockets! Online ordering, so when you arrived your hot pocket would be waiting for you ready to go.

  3. It’s like a meal in doughy goodness you can hold in your hand! I like this. I like brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes (though I prefer yams, but whatever).
    I am most relieved to hear that no one in YOUR house eats leftovers either. It is the easiest meal to prepare, and then no one wants it anyway.

    1. My family considers leftovers to be radioactive or something. And despite all of my husband’s protestations that we need to cut the food bill, everyone still stares into the fridge for 3 hours, looking over the delicious leftovers and complaining that there’s nothing to eat.

  4. Clever idea, though I too would leave out the potatoes. I love your toddler’s declaration–have heard it many times myself. Of course, teens come up with more sophisticated terms than ‘yucky,’ but it all amounts to the same thing. 🙂

    1. It’s reassuring to know that I’ll have many years of rejection to look forward to. I like to keep my expectations low, and then one day when they come home for mom’s cooking I will be overjoyed.

    1. Mail order hot pockets from Canada! They might not be fresh after customs has their way with them, but then they’ll taste more like authentic hot pockets anyway.

      Also, after eating the oil soaked turkey casserole tonight I can confirm that it was definitely not fried goodness, but thoroughly saturated in warm oil. Ima go with poached.

  5. Jen, they look delicious. I’m proud of you for going to so much trouble! I know the feeling of trying out something new and having it just be so-so, and if the kids don’t eat it, I never repeat it. I’d say your hot pockets were a big success. Anything with Baileys taste good. And, bacon, too. You can’t go wrong. You crack me up, I DON’T KNOW YOUR LIFE!

  6. Those hot pockets look very tasty to me, even though I’m not much of a turkey eater overall. When I was with my family on the West Coast over Christmas, my sister baked an eight pound spiral sliced ham on Christmas Eve for four of us. None of us are big eaters and somehow that ham seemed to double in size once she took it out of the oven. She made a terrific split pea soup out of the 32 pounds of leftovers (it also doubled in size every 12 hours). You might also consider making turkey soup with the leftovers or maybe just burying the carcass in the yard. That’s something that might intrigue your twins.

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