Turkey: the Day After

20101124-thanksgivingisover-postLeftovers: the budget’s best friend, but the cook’s dilemma. The beauty of a big turkey is that you can generally get a few meals out of it, but the challenge is creating interesting, flavourful meals.

Here are a mix of old and new faves to try at your table.

Turkey Wraps

This makes for a delicious meal that makes use of a number of leftovers from the Thanksgiving table. Smear the inside of tortilla wraps with cream cheese and then add a thin layer of cranberry sauce. Fill with chopped turkey and leftover stuffing. Seal and heat in the oven (or microwave) until heated through (about 15-20 mins in the oven, about 30 seconds in the microwave).

Turkey Tetrazzini

Cook pasta (probably about 2 cups) to package directions (short pasta, like rotini or spaghetti noodles work well in this dish).  Place in casserole dish.

In a bowl, add chopped cooked turkey and a cup of sliced mushrooms (they are yummier if you sauté them in a little butter, salt and pepper first- which also removes much of the liquid). Add a can of your favourite cream soup (my suggestions include cream of celery or cream of mushroom) and about a cup of sour cream.  Finally, put in about a half cup of grated swiss cheese . Stir and pour over the noodles. Sprinkle top with about a half cup of parmesan cheese.  Bake for about 25-35 mins in the oven, until sauce is bubbling and top is browned.

Turkey Soup

There is nothing more comforting than this tried and true classic alongside a crusty loaf of bread.

Remove remaining meat from bones. Cover bones completely in water. Add salt, pepper, a couple of bays leaves, about a tsp of sage and about two cups of chopped carrots celery and onions. Simmer for several hours, until water is reduced and has become broth-like. Remove bones and bay leaves. Add peas, diced turkey and egg noodles and cook until noodles are tender.

Turkey Parmesan

Mix together about a cup of Italian-style breadcrumbs, a tsp of fresh parsley,  a ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, about a 1/3 cup of mayo and a couple of tsps of olive oil (add more mayo/oil if mixture is too dry).

Dip large, solid turkey slices in a beaten egg, and then press bread mixture on both sides of turkey slices. Bake in about a 425 oven for about 15-20 mins, until breadcrumbs are crispy. For extra moisture, you can melt your favourite cheese on top.

Turkey Pot Pie

Another traditional treat. I make sure that mine is packed with loads of veggies (4-6 cups of carrots, onions, celery, red pepper and peas combined). Cover the bottom of a 9×13 pan with veggie mixture and cooked, chopped turkey.

There are a couple of choices for the sauce. You can either use a couple of cans of cream of mushroom soup (make sure the mixture is well moistened), or else you can make a traditional cream sauce (which is actually pretty easy).

Add about 1/2 cup of butter and about ¼ cup of flour (you can add more to thicken). Melt and stir, making a roux paste. Add milk (likely about 4 cups, but you can add more, if consistency is too thick).  Simmer over medium heat until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and pour over pot pie mixture.

For the crust, I use store-bought puff pastry. Place a thawed sheet of puff pastry over top the pot pie and don’t forget to prick holes for the steam to escape. Bake for about 30 mins at 400, or until sauce is bubbling and crust is browned.

Turkey Club

This is a new take on the traditional turkey sandwich. Layer pieces of toasted bread with turkey, tomato, lettuce, bacon and cheese. Slather bread with cranberry mayo (made simply by combining leftover cranberry sauce with mayo).