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November 28, 2003   Email to Friend 

Ideas from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
November 28, 2003

Part of the pleasure of a holiday meal is the aroma of a turkey baking in your oven. Continue that great feeling by planning a variety of pleasing post-holiday meals with leftover turkey. Try these recipes or use them as inspiration for your own.

Turkey makes a great first meal plus delicious leftovers that are easy to combine into a variety of scrumptious future meals. Try turkey year-round and think "planned-overs" rather than "leftovers" to "cook it quick" with turkey.

Follow these food safety guidelines for handling your turkey leftovers safely:

Debone turkey and refrigerate all leftovers in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking. Use leftover turkey within 3 to 4 days, stuffing and gravy within 1 to 2 days, or freeze these foods. When reheating turkey, heat thoroughly to a temperature of 165 F or until hot and steaming throughout.

Chilled Turkey Rice Salad
(Serves 4)

2 cups cooked turkey, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup cooked rice (See Tip 1)
2 green onions, chopped (See Tip 2)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
4 teaspoons lemon juice (See Tip 3)
Salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (See Tip 4)
1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup mayonnaise (See Tip 5)

Combine rice, onion, curry, lemon juice and salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Add rest of ingredients, except lettuce, to chilled rice mixture. Serve on lettuce leaves.

Cook's Tips: Save time by making extra rice for use at a later date. Though your recipe will be less colorful, you could substitute about 2 tablespoons of fresh, chopped onion or 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried, chopped onion for the green onion. You could use bottled lemon juice for this small amount. Or, buy a lemon and cut up the extra lemon for a touch of elegance by adding lemon wedges to the water glasses at your post-holiday meal. Frozen, chopped green pepper could be substituted for the fresh pepper. Thaw quickly by placing it in a strainer or colander and running cool water over it. Shake off excess water.

A light or fat-free mayonnaise may be used. Or, try low-fat or nonfat yogurt or sour cream in place of the mayonnaise or try a mixture of these and mayonnaise.

Turkey Tarragon Pitas
(Serves 4)

1/2 cup lemon yogurt (See Tip 1
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves, finely crushed (See Tip 2)
2 cups fully cooked turkey breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (See Tip 3)
1/2 cup green grapes, sliced in half
4 mini (or 2 6-inch) whole-wheat pitas (See Tip 4)
4 pieces leaf lettuce (See Tip 5)

In medium bowl combine yogurt, mayonnaise and tarragon. Fold in turkey and grapes; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Trim tops from mini pita pockets (or cut 6-inch pitas in half). Line inside of pitas with lettuce. Carefully fill pitas with turkey mixture.

Cook's Tips: Combine leftover lemon yogurt with chopped apple, diced celery, raisins and chopped walnuts or any of your other favorite Waldorf salad ingredients for a new twist on an old favorite recipe. Most purchased, dried crushed tarragon leaves should be fine enough "as is" without further crushing.

Use white meat leftovers if you've prepared a whole turkey and not just the breast portion. If you'd like to try this recipe but don't have access to pita bread, you could serve the turkey mixture atop the lettuce on a plate with some of your leftover rolls placed on the side. If you don't have large pieces of leaf lettuce but do have pre-torn bagged lettuce, you can place this on the bottom half of your pita and then fill with the turkey mixture.

White Turkey Chili
(Serves 8)

1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped (See Tip 1)
1 cup celery, chopped
4 cups cooked turkey, chopped
2 cans (15.5 oz.) Great Northern beans, drained
2 cans (11 oz.) corn, undrained
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
4 cups turkey or chicken broth (See Tip 2)
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan (at least 4 quarts). Stir well. Cover and cook about 15 minutes over medium heat stirring occasionally until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top if desired.

Cook's Tips: You can substitute 1 tablespoon chopped dried onion for the chopped fresh onion or use as recommended on the dried onion container. If you have extra broth, use it instead of water when cooking vegetables or use it for some or all of the liquid in making rice. Use within a day or two or freeze.

SOURCE: Alice Henneman, MS, RD, Extension, University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

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