Bid bye-bye to leftover turkey with these delicious dishes

Catherine L. Kaufman
Catherine L. Kaufman

There’s good news and bad news as we waddle away from the Thanksgiving table. The Bad: The more than 45 million turkeys consumed will yield copious amounts of leftovers from 535 pounds of breast meat, thighs, wings and legs. The Good: There must be 50 ways to use your leftovers.

A Souper Bowl

The leftover carcass makes a great soup base, the bones giving rich flavor and body to a turkey noodle, matzo ball, Italian wedding, wild rice, mushroom barley, turkey veggie, pasta e fazol with navy beans, Greek turkey lemon (avgolemono) or hearty lentil. Throw in some turkey chunks that will become moist and rejuvenated in the pot of savory soups.

Turk Mex

Turkey is adaptable to practically every ethnic dish on the planet. For Italian, top a pizza pie with some turkey strips, fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes; bake turkey Parmesan blanketed with marinara sauce; whip up turkey tetrazzini, piccata with lemon and capers, or cacciatore.

Dial up the spice with turkey burritos, turkey chili, or turkey nachos.

Stir-fry a turkey chow or low mein; do turkey spring rolls, egg foo yung, or turkey and black bean sauce over organic jasmine rice.

Be adventurous with Middle Eastern turkey, pair it with walnut and pomegranate sauce, stuffed pitas or turkey saffron rice with lentils.

Turkey A-Go-Go

How ‘bout a twist on Shepherd’s Pie using shredded turkey, leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, and other veggies hangin’ around from the big dinner.

Also consider Turkey Mac and Cheese, Turkey Sliders with gravy dipping sauce, Turkey Stew, or a classic Turkey Pot Pie.

Hail Caesar!

Concoct one-dish salads loaded with lean turkey protein, heart-healthy seeds and nuts, fiber, and vitamins A, C, K and lycopene-rich fruits and veggies.

Toss a Turkey Caesar with big chunks of white meat, crunchy romaine, garlic croutons and olive oil-anchovy based dressing (hold the raw egg, even though your chances of contracting salmonella from an infected egg is 1 in 30,000). Have a yen for Asian? Do a Mandarin with toasted almonds and sesame seeds.

You could also go Greek with black olives, cherry tomatoes, Persian cukes and crumbled feta.

How about a healthier take on the French Nicoise Salad by swapping out the mercury-laden tuna with chunks of lean white turkey.

Turkey Nicoise Salad

This salad is a delightful lightweight after the heavy carbs of Thanksgiving with just enough meat and potatoes to satisfy all. (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 pounds of turkey breast meat, cubed

1 head of bib lettuce, torn in bite-size pieces

1/2 pound of baby creamer red potatoes

1/2 pound of thin green beans or haricots, ends trimmed

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in quarters

1/2 pound of Roma tomatoes, cubed

1/3 cup each of black and green olives, pitted, halved

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

Chopped fresh herbs for garnish (parsley, tarragon or chives)

Method:

In two separate pots, boil the potatoes until tender. Cut lengthwise in quarters, set aside. Boil string beans for 4 minutes, al dente. Drain and set aside.

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