Go Green with these yummy ways to ‘recycle’ your turkey

By Catharine L. Kaufman

The Kitchen Shrink

After anguishing over the Thanksgiving menu, now families have to figure out what to do with the leftovers from 45 million turkeys. Let me help you navigate your way through Leftover Land with some suggestions for creative recycling.

Have a yen for Asian

Whip up some Chinese, Japanese or fusion dishes. Try turkey and veggie fried rice, lo mein or a chow mein, turkey lettuce wraps with hoison dipping sauce, turkey egg foo yung, or a turkey stir fry with black bean sauce, broccoli, snap peas and shitake mushrooms. Do Japanese with a turkey and Udon noodle soup or a turkey teriyaki salad.

Turkey Italiano

Mince the turkey and make a “Bolognese” sauce over linguini. Bake a turkey lasagna or turkey parm. Add chunks into a bubbling pot of pasta e fagioli or toss slices with egg noodles in a creamy Alfredo or vodka sauce. Put strips of turkey on a pizza, make a panini with mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil or assemble a turkey antipasto platter.

A fowl fiesta

Add turkey cubes to a skillet of chili, whip up turkey tacos with shredded cabbage and salsa, or a turkey taco salad with chopped tomatoes, avocadoes and corn and black beans.

Mediterranean meals

Toss a Greek salad with breast chunks, feta cheese and black olives. Add strips of turkey to couscous with roasted peppers and garlic. Make a Persian stew with turkey cubes in a walnut and pomegranate sauce, or a Greek-style lemon and turkey soup (Avgolemono).

Some Jewish fare

Put the carcass in a soup pot; add some carrots, celery root, onion, chopped parsley and parsnips for a hearty turkey and matzo ball soup. Whip up a turkey fricassee or sweet and sour turkey cabbage rolls. With Chanukah around the corner, how about a twist on the classic potato latke by adding some shredded turkey into the mix?

Yankee-Doodle Dandy

A turkey shepherd’s pie would do a triple recycling job – the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. Turkey pot pie, a mac and cheese turkey bake, a turkey Cobb salad or a classic turkey salad jazzed up with spicy mayo, chopped celery and capers stuffed in avocado halves make great lunches or dinners.

Long-term parking

Portion the leftover pieces and store in freezer-friendly containers or storage bags. Do breast slices for kids’ lunches or sandwiches, thigh chunks for chicken salad, or legs and wings for snacks. These can keep in the freezer for several weeks.

Turkey donations

You can always bring your turkey leftovers to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, that’ll also teach the kids a lesson in generosity of heart, repairing the world, and show them an attitude of gratitude.

Here’s one of my favorite concoctions, a turkey wild mushroom strudel that makes a great side dish or main meal. Gobble, gobble!

Turkey and Wild Mushroom Strudel

2 sheets of Artisan puff pastry

1 cup of chopped turkey (your choice, breast or thigh)

1 pound of assorted mushrooms (oyster, crimini, shiitake, button, your choice)

1 1/2 tablespoons of butter or virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons of white wine

1 teaspoon of fresh chopped Italian parsley

2 shallots, minced

1 large garlic clove, minced

Sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste

1 beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of cold water (for the egg wash)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, heat the butter or oil on low, and sauté the shallots, garlic and mushrooms for 1 minute. Add the wine, parsley, turkey and seasonings. Continue cooking on low until tender. Strain the liquid and reserve.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and carefully place the puff pastry layer on the sheet. Spread the turkey/mushroom mixture evenly on the pastry, and drizzle with some of the reserved liquid. Place the second sheet of pastry on top, pinching around the edges to close any gaps. Vent by making three slits with a sharp knife. Brush with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Slice and enjoy hot or chilled.

If you want to talk turkey, email

or check out the Kitchen Shrink and company’s healthy eating blog at

for additional holiday recipes.

Brunch for Beginners

Learn to make easy, impressive brunch recipes with me from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 28 at Harvard Cookie Girl, 7441 Girard. The class is

$40. To register, call (858) 405-1092 or email