One thing I love about Thanksgiving turkey is all the leftover.
Thanksgiving Day is over. To get started planning mouth-watering meals from leftover turkey, trim all the turkey off the bone, slice the breast meat and dice the rest. Then use one or more of the following suggestions to create delicious after-Thanksgiving meals.
Turkey frame soup: Once the turkey meat is cut off the bone, the carcass can be made into a delicious soup. Place in a large pot, cover with water, add a few carrots, celery and onion. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for two hours. Strain; discard bones and vegetables. Skim the fat. Add a variety of diced vegetables and/or pasta; cook until tender. Add diced turkey meat and salt or chicken bouillon cubes. Serve with hot rolls for a hearty autumn supper.
Think chicken: Turkey can be substituted in any recipe that normally uses chicken, such as chicken noodle soup or chicken ‘n’ dumplings.
Turkey salad: Mix diced turkey, diced hardboiled eggs, chopped celery, dried cranberries, coarsely chopped walnuts, mayonnaise and salt. Turkey is a little drier than chicken in texture, so you might need to add extra mayonnaise. Serve on a bed of lettuce or on a croissant roll. Chef’s salad: Chunks of turkey, ham, cheese, and hardboiled eggs are the perfect choice for a refreshing Chef’s salad. Serve on mixed greens, grated carrots, diced celery, diced green pepper and tomato wedges. Ranch or French dressing complements these flavors well.
Autumn barbecue: Use sliced or shredded turkey for barbecue sandwiches. Heat barbecue sauce and turkey in a pan or in the microwave. Toast fluffy rolls or hamburger buns. Serve turkey on rolls. A side of cole slaw and potato salad completes this “summer-like” meal.
Fajitas: Fry sliced green peppers and onions in a skillet. Add diced turkey and fajita seasoning. Serve in warmed flour tortillas with grated Monterey Jack cheese.
Turkey tetrazzine: Similar to chicken tetrazzine, this delicious spaghetti dish has a white sauce. Cook spaghetti; drain. Add diced turkey, cream of mushroom soup diluted with milk, and Parmesan cheese. Top with buttered breadcrumbs. Bake in a greased casserole dish at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly.
Freeze for later use: Put leftover turkey that you have trimmed, sliced, and diced into labeled containers, creating convenience the next time you need cooked turkey for a casserole or a quick dinner.
TV dinners: Here’s another way to freeze your leftover turkey. Place individual portions of sliced turkey, gravy, and side dishes in foil pans, TV dinner-style. Surround with tin foil, label and freeze. To reheat, bake frozen dinners in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until hot.
QUICK TURKEY LASAGNA
For the person who doesn’t have time to cook but wants to impress, combine jarred pasta sauce, leftover turkey and no-boil noodles for a perfect lasagna. If you’re using regular lasagna noodles instead of no-boil noodles, do not bake before freezing.
3 cups cooked, skinless turkey, cut into strips
2 (26-ounce) jars red pasta sauce
1 (8-ounce) package no-boil lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 (10-ounce) packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (4-ounce) package crumbled goat cheese (I don’t like goat cheese so used gruyere)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine turkey and pasta sauce.
Spread thin layer of turkey sauce in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Top with one-third of the noodles, one-third of the remaining turkey sauce, one-third of the mozzarella, half the spinach and one-third of goat cheese. Repeat layers, using remaining spinach. Place remaining noodles, turkey sauce, mozzarella and goat cheese on top.
Bake, covered, 50 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer, or until bubbly. Serve immediately.
To Prepare and Eat Now: Serve when ready.
To Freeze: Cool to room temperature. Wrap, label and freeze. Recommended freezing time: up to 3 months.
To Serve: Remove from freezer and thaw several hours in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350F, bake, covered, 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbly. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer. Alternately, you can reheat in microwave if cut into pieces.