Thanksgiving Leftovers & Turkey Enchilada Stack: A Family Favorite

Turkey Enchilada Stack Recipe

I’m writing this post while on a family Thanksgiving vacation in Mammoth Lakes, CA. I don’t like to think a lot about meals while on vacation, so this Turkey Enchilada Stack fits the bill perfectly. For the most part, I am using leftover turkey and ingredients you would likely already have in your pantry or refrigerator. Now, if you didn’t cook a turkey or if you don’t have any leftovers, you can easily use meat from a rotisserie turkey or chicken.

I had two places of inspiration for this recipe – The Pioneer Woman and Cook’s Illustrated. When I came across Ree Drummond’s recipe for Simple, Perfect Enchiladas, I knew I had to make it. And what a treat it was; I loved how she incorporated fresh green onions and cilantro! But I wanted to find a way to simplify it and make it a tad healthier. To simplify, I stacked the tortillas instead of rolling them. To make it healthier, I used shredded turkey breast, eliminated most oil and used light cheese. Ree’s recipe also uses canned enchilada sauce. I searched high and low for a canned sauce I liked and came up empty. So I decided to make an easy one from scratch. Cook’s Illustrated is my favorite how-to site, so that was my first stop. I found a recipe that met my expectations, but I did modify it a bit to my liking.

So, here is my version of turkey enchiladas…

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 1/2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons MAGGI Instant Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 king size (7 1/2-inch) corn tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded white meat turkey or meat from 2 lb. rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded light cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese, divided
  • 1 cup sliced green onions, divided
  • 1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced black olives, drained, divided (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • Light sour cream (optional)

For the sauce, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in chili powder, cumin, sugar and bouillon. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.

Stir in tomato paste, evaporated milk and water; cook for a few minutes to heat through.

Turkey Enchilada Stack Recipe

Pour through fine-mesh strainer (see photo above); discard onion/garlic pieces. Like it spicy? Stir 1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles into the sauce.

Heat tortillas in microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 40 seconds or until very warm (this is how a lot of the fat is cut out of the recipe – no need to fry the tortillas in oil.)

Turkey Enchilada Stack Recipe

Spoon 2 tablespoons sauce over bottom of 9-inch-round deep-dish pie plate, shown above.

Turkey Enchilada Stack Recipe

Place 2 tortillas over sauce, covering entire bottom of pie plate, shown above.

Top with 1 1/2 cups turkey, ¾ cup cheese, 1/2 cup green onions, half of the olives and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Since my family doesn’t like olives, I left the olives out this time!

Turkey Enchilada Stack Recipe

Top with about ½ cup sauce. Place 2 more tortillas over top. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups turkey, ¾ cup cheese, remaining 1/2 cup green onions, remaining olives and 1 tablespoon cilantro, shown above.

Turkey Enchilada Stack Recipe

Top with about ½ cup sauce. Top with remaining 2 tortillas, shown above.

Turkey Enchilada Stack Recipe

Pour remaining sauce over tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese (see photo above); cover loosely with foil.

Bake for 25 minutes or heated through. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro before serving. Serve with sour cream.

Turkey Enchilada Stack Recipe

Ahh, another meal triplet approved. Enjoy this special time with your family! We’re off to the slopes for now…


Other ideas for your turkey leftovers:


Turkey & White Bean Stew Recipe
Turkey & White Bean Stew
Take Two Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
Take Two Turkey Tetrazzini


  1. Posted November 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Chris, thanks for sharing this GREAT enchilada recipe with us. Such a healthy & tasty meal. Very smart way to use that delish evaporated milk. If it is triplet approved than I know my kids would love it too! Your daughter is adorable. Have fun on the slopes 🙂

    • Posted November 27, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Marla, my kids love this one! The sauce is really good, and so simple! The evap milk adds just the right touch! Have a great weekend…hope to see you again soon!

  2. Posted November 17, 2012 at 5:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    Love this recipe! Will be linking back to this in my upcoming post 🙂

    • Posted November 17, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Marla! We are heading to Mammoth again shortly and this meal is on the menu again 🙂 I just re-read my post and had to laugh at my images with the point/shoot camera. That’s all I brought with me on vacation.

      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving – and I sure hope we can visit again in person one of these days! Thank you for the link love.

7 Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marla M and Alison L, Marla Meridith and Rick Garboski, Nestle USA. Nestle USA said: If you're looking for a good way to use that leftover turkey, here's a twist on the traditional Thanksgiving… […]

  2. […] also like the idea of stacking them like a pie rather than in […]

  3. By Our five favourite ways to use up leftover turkey on December 16, 2010 at 2:45 am

    […] also like the idea of stacking them like a pie rather than in […]

  4. […] also like the idea of stacking them like a pie rather than in […]

  5. […] also like the idea of stacking them like a pie rather than in […]

  6. […] Turkey Enchilada Stack […]

  7. […] Turkey Enchilada Stack Nestle USA […]

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