Monthly Archives: November 2011

Turkey leftovers? No problem!

For the holidays, I’m recapping some of our favorite turkey leftover recipes. Remember, it’s easy to shred leftover meat in the Vitamix, food processor, or mixer. I use shredded leftover turkey to make turkey salad, turkey burritos, and turkey barbecue sandwiches.


Turkey BBQ Sandwiches
Serves 2
(I serve these with Cole Slaw made using the Vitamix)

1 cup shredded turkey dark meat
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce of choice
2 whole wheat burger buns

Combine turkey and barbecue sauce in a one quart pan. Cover and place over low heat for gentle heating. After mixture is completely warmed through, remove pan from heat and serve on the burger buns.


Turkey Tetrazzini
Serves 4-5

(I use a Kitchen Craft covered skillet, but this recipe can be baked in a conventional oven. I prefer the electric skillet because the entire dish is prepared in one pot, reducing clean-up time in the kitchen. Also, a quality liquid core electric skillet uses less energy than an oven):

Dry sauté in the skillet:

1 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

After the mushrooms have browned, add:

1½ cups cooked turkey, cubed
4 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta, spread evenly across vegetables and chicken in skillet (or 1½ quart baking dish)

In a 1 pint measuring pitcher, blend:

1 10 ¾ oz. can Campbell’s® 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup
½ cup milk
¼ cup water
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pour soup mixture over turkey and pasta. Be sure all pasta is covered.

If using a skillet, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Do NOT remove lid to peek. If baking, cover casserole with foil and cook in a pre-heated 375°F oven for 30 minutes.

Garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley and additional parmesan cheese if desired. Serve with a garden salad and whole grain bread. Serves 4.

With the rising cost of canned goods, I’ve started canning my own turkey stock, which is easy using the pressure cooker and freezer-safe, pint canning jars.  But whether you make your own stock or buy it, you’ll enjoy making soup from leftover turkey.  Here’s one suggestion, Turkey Noodle Soup:


Turkey Noodle Soup

Makes 4 servings

In a 3 quart pot over medium heat, add

2 teaspoons olive oil
brown for 5 minutes:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery (including the leaves), sliced
1 bell pepper (any color, but I use red), seeded and chopped


1 quart turkey stock or chicken broth
1 cup water
Seasonings – your choice
1 ½ cups cooked turkey, cubed

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover. Don’t remove the lid and you’ll be able to cook on the lowest setting.

About 10 minutes before serving, add:

1 cup dry whole wheat noodles, or any whole wheat pasta

Taste test for seasonings. You may want to add salt or pepper. When the noodles are al dente, serve the soup.

The beauty of this recipe is the cooking time is flexible. The soup can simmer for 20 minutes or a couple of hours because the starchy pasta isn’t added until the last 10 minutes. It’s a light, healthy meal for those days following the overindulgence of a holiday meal. Double or triple the recipe and feed a crowd on a cold night.

One more tip: You can adapt this for the slow cooker. Add the pasta in during the last hour and turn to Low.

Here’s one I modified from a GE recipe.  Theirs is baked in a casserole dish, but I use the electric skillet.


Turkey Cashew Casserole
Serves 6

In a pre-heated electric skillet, melt:

1 Tablespoon butter

Sauté for five minutes:

2 cups chopped celery
1 large onion, chopped


5 cups cubed cooked turkey

Mix together in a large mixing pitcher or bowl:

1 cup turkey or chicken broth
2 cans reduced-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup
dash of hot sauce

Pour over chicken and cover.  Simmer (220°) for 20-25 minutes (or bake in a casserole dish at 350° for 30 minutes in a traditional oven).

Sprinkle cooked casserole with:

1 cup cashews
10 oz. chow-mein noodles

Serve and enjoy!

I saved my favorite for last, turkey burritos!  This recipe can be adjusted according to how much leftover turkey you have.


Turkey Burritos
Makes 6

Preheat oven to 375°.  In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup shredded cooked turkey
1 can Rotel® tomatoes and green chiles
1 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning (or your choice)

Mix together and divide into six equal portions.  Fill each of the:

6 whole wheat tortillas

with a portion of the mixture.  Wrap tortilla around mixture into a roll.  Place burritos in a 9×13 casserole dish.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and uncover.  After 5 minutes, remove each burrito from the casserole dish and serve.

Happy Holidays and Happy Cooking!


Filed under Burritos, casseroles, cooking, Healthful Eating, Recipes, Soups & Stews, turkey, Turkey Recipes


(Encore from last year by request)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with these famous TV chefs and their elaborate instructions for making the perfect holiday turkey. Folks, it doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. About the only thing I agree with them on is the use of a good thermometer. Here is how I cook my holiday turkey, and it’s always moist and delicious.

First, buy the smallest turkey possible. If you’re having lots of guests, buy two small turkeys or one turkey and a breast. Be sure to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator completely, which can take several days. When I cook the turkey on Thanksgiving (or Christmas) morning, I’ve already prepped it the night before by removing the giblets (and whatever else is stuffed in its cavity) and patting the skin dry with paper towels.

I preheat the oven to 325°, sprinkle salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning on the outside and inside the cavity, stick an onion quarter and celery stick inside, then get my roasting pan ready. I use a stainless steel covered roasting pan, but one of those roasting bags works great, too. In the bottom of the roasting pan I build a “rack” of celery, onion, and carrots. I place the turkey (breast side up) on the vegetables (They keep the bird elevated from the bottom of the pan, but you may also use a roasting rack if you have one). Then I pour about three cups of water into the bottom of the pan around the bird. This water steams the turkey to keep it moist and later becomes the drippings for your gravy.

I don’t stuff the bird with anything else but fresh herbs. It’s easier to make the dressing the day before using chicken stock or broth. Then I pop it in the oven to finish after I’ve cooked the turkey. Leftover dressing has a longer and safer storage life if it isn’t cooked inside the bird.

Don’t worry about stuff like starting out at a high temperature to brown the turkey’s skin or rubbing butter beneath the skin. If you cook low and slow, the bird won’t dry out. As for the skin, you shouldn’t be eating it, anyway! It’s loaded with saturated fat you don’t need. You should skin the bird before you carve it to serve.

Cook the turkey for twenty minutes per pound but pull the roaster from the oven early to test the temperature. If it’s at least 160° inside temperature, take the roasting pan out, keep it covered, and set it somewhere to “rest” for at least half an hour, or until internal temperature reaches 180°F. Residual cooking will bring the turkey meat to the desired temperature without overcooking it.

How simple is that? Good luck and happy Thanksgiving!


UPDATE: I followed these instuctions except omitted the water and the bird turned out great. So the addition of water for steaming is optional. There is enough liquid from the vegetables to create steam.

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Filed under Healthful Eating