Turkey Leftovers Can Be A Seasonal Safety Net



This week most of us will have more leftover turkey than we know what to do with. But cooked turkey stashed in the freezer can be a safety net for planning meals during the hectic weeks after Thanksgiving.

You can toss it with pasta and vegetables, add it to a main course salad, or do all kinds of creative things combining it with other ingredients for a one-dish meal.

A good, healthful way to use leftover turkey is the base for a casserole. With a whole grain, you can make a flavorful and rich-textured, but healthful one-dish meal.

Barley, Turkey and Butternut Squash Casserole

Cooking spray

2 small butternut squash

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 cup minced onion

1 teaspoon dried sage

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth

3/4 cup quick-cooking barley*

1/2 pound cooked turkey breast, cubed or diced

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 4-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a large pot of rapidly boiling water, boil squash halves 5 minutes or until not quite tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from each half and dice. Set aside. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add green pepper, onion and diced squash. Sauté 3 minutes. Add sage and pepper and stir to coat. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add barley and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 10 minutes, until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Mix in diced turkey. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and top with feta cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until cheese is golden. Makes 6 servings.

  • Most supermarkets and health food stores carry quick-cooking barley.

Turkey Leftovers are a perennial reality. Here are a few favorites from www.mindspring.com/~mgrosz/turkeys.htm

Turkey Casserole with Noodles and Poppyseeds

This is another turkey casserole recipe for your collection. It's a good "make ahead" recipe for company as it requires an 8 hour chill time. Serves 6

1 (8 oz.) pkg. medium egg noodles, uncooked

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 cup margarine, melted

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon poppyseeds

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper

3 cups diced cooked turkey

1 (4 oz.) jar diced pimento, drained

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Cook noodles, drain well, set aside. Sauté onion and green pepper in margarine in a Dutch oven until tender; add flour stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in noodles, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and next 4 ingredients; add pimento, and stir gently. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 12-by-8-by-2-inch baking dish. Cover and chill 8 hours.

To bake, remove from refrigerator and let stand 30 minutes. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and add 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

NOTE: Unbaked casserole may be frozen. Thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours.

Turkey and Pasta

2 medium carrots

3/4 cup unsweetened orange juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried whole basil

3/4 pound cooked turkey breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

8 cups water

1/2 (8 ounces) package fettuccine

2 ounces fresh snow peas - trimmed

1 cup small fresh mushrooms

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon margarine

Cut carrots in half lengthwise; scrape halves into long strips, using a vegetable peeler; cut into 2-inch pieces, set aside. Combine orange juice and next 3 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in turkey; cook 1 minute. Set aside.

Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large Dutch oven; add fettuccine and cook 7 minutes or until tender. Add carrot strips and snow peas; cook 30 seconds. Drain well, and return to Dutch oven. Add turkey mixture, mushrooms and remaining ingredients to fettuccine mixture; toss gently. Serve warm.

Fruit Salad with Turkey

2 cups chopped cooked turkey

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 medium oranges, peeled and sectioned lettuce leaves

1 cup fresh strawberries halved

1 small banana, sliced

Combine turkey and celery; set aside. Combine yogurt and next 4 ingredients; pour over turkey mixture, and toss gently. Cover and chill. Arrange orange sections on individual lettuce lined plates. Just before serving, add strawberries and banana to turkey mixture; toss gently and spoon onto plates.

Hot Turkey Salad

2 cups of cooked turkey (or chicken), diced

1 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds

1/3 cup green pepper, diced

2 tablespoon grated onion

1 teaspoon salt

1 can water chestnuts, diced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon pimento, chopped

1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise

4 slices Swiss or Cheddar cheese

1/2 to 1 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

Combine all but last three ingredients. Place in a 9-by-14-inch baking dish, top with cheese. Cover with buttered crumbs. Bake, uncovered at 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Any dish in which you used cooked chicken, such as enchiladas, you can substitute turkey.

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