Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey Quesadilla

Add a little post-holiday pizzazz to your “day after” menu with this leftover Thanksgiving quesadilla!

By Certified Executive Chef Mark Shoopman, CEC, CFBE

Ingredients For 4 Servings:

  • 2 pounds of Leftover turkey, baked, smoked, or fried is fine. Pulled or diced.
  • As desired Leftover stuffing – (recipe attached for great stuffing)
  • 12 ounces Cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Queso melting cheese, shredded
  • 1 each Jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced.
  • 4 each 10-inch Flour tortillas
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • As needed Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ bunch Fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • To Taste Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 each Fresh lime wedges
  • As desired Cranberry salsa, (recipe follows)

Procedure and Presentation

Lay one flour tortilla on your work surface and spread an even amount of cream cheese all over the tortilla. Next, sprinkle the whole tortilla with shredded cheddar cheese. On one half, cover with the leftover turkey, and on the other half, place a layer of the leftover stuffing. Top the whole thing with some queso-melting cheese, chopped cilantro, and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Heat a large skillet over low to medium heat and add a small amount of oil. Place the tortilla on the skillet and cook slowly until the cheese is melted and then fold the side with the stuffing side over the side with the turkey. Continue cooking until lightly browned and the cheese is melting. Lovingly flip the tortilla and continue to cook on the other side for a few minutes until the lightly browned and heated-through cheese is melted. You can also do this in the oven at 350 degrees F.

Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half, or into four triangles if you like smaller portions. Place onto a heated plate and serve with the cranberry salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole. Garnish with a nice bouquet of fresh cilantro and a fresh lime wedge.

Sausage and Sage Stuffing


  • 1 pound Ground pork sausage (can use Italian also), casings removed
  • 1-1/2 cup Sliced mushrooms. Use your favorite.
  • 4 ounces Butter, melted
  • ½ cup Yellow onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup Carrot, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh garlic, minced
  • ½ cup Celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh sage, chopped, or dry rubbed
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme leaves, minced
  • 2 tablespoon Flat leaf parsley, rough chopped
  • ½ cup Dried cranberries
  • 8 cups Sourdough bread, cut into ½ inch cubes and toasted or dried.
  • As needed Chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium preferred
  • 2 eggs Lightly beaten, optional. It will work fine without the eggs
  • To Taste Freshly ground pepper
  • To Taste Kosher salt

Prepare the Stuffing

1. In a large skillet cook the sausage over medium-high heat until done. Add the garlic, celery, onion, and carrots. Sauté until soft and they begin to caramelize, (about 2 minutes). Add the mushrooms, sage, and thyme and continue to sauté two minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Place the breadcrumbs into a large bowl and cover with the sausage mixture and melted butter. Add the cranberries and then add the stock 1 cup at a time or until you reach the desired consistency. We want it to bind and be more moist than dry. Add the eggs and mix them in. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and place the mixture in a lightly greased casserole dish large enough to accommodate the stuffing.

3. Bake covered with foil in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, remove the foil, and continue cooking until reaching an internal temperature of 140 degrees and toasty on top.

Cranberry Salsa

  • 1 cup Leftover cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup Favorite freshly made tomato salsa, chilled. Not the jarred variety.
  • *Mix the two together and chill completely.