Thursday, November 25, 2010

All that's leftover can become new again...

After enjoying generous helpings of turkey with gravy, mashed sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows, mushroom rye bread stuffing, along with double portions of pumpkin pie, I think I’m tapped out on gluttonous meals. But now I’m faced with a big problem; there is so much leftover and it’s all too good to let go to waste. Although I love leftovers, many members of my family refuse to eat the same thing two days in a row and it will be a challenge to eat the same meal for the next few days. Time to get creative and take all those Thanksgiving goodies and turn them into healthier dishes.

Why have you done a good thing?

Using leftovers to create new meals allows you to maintain a varied diet. As no single food can give you all the nutrients you need, eating a variety of different types of foods, in particular fruits and vegetables, is essential for maintaining a good weight and reduce the risk of disease such as heart disease and cancer. In particular, eating a rainbow of colors and different types of each color (such as bright orange and deep orange foods) helps you to make sure you are eating all your nutrients. Plus eating the same food everyday or the same leftovers for a whole week is boring, and who wants to eat boring food? Not to mention it is very “green” and economical not to let food go to waste…

So here is a HUGE assortment of recipes you can make to get rid of all your leftovers...including breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner!

Morning-after Quiche (serves 6-8)

2 cups of leftover stuffing

6 eggs

½ cup low-fat milk

1 cup shredded turkey leftovers or cheese (if keeping it vegetarian)

1 ½ cups leftover vegetables or potatoes

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Fresh parsley (if you have)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press stuffing into a greased shallow casserole dish. In a bowl, beat eggs with milk. Add turkey or cheese and leftover vegetables to egg mixture. Add salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into stuffed lined casserole dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes until firm around edges but wobbly in middle. Let cool. Top with fresh herbs if you have. Serve warm or cool.

Mashed Sweet Potato Dip (serves 6-8)

2 cup leftover mashed sweet potatoes (sans marshmallows)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ tsp black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor slowly adding oil and blend until smooth. Serve with whole wheat crackers or baked chips.

Healthy Turkey Salad (Serves 4-6)

2 cups leftover turkey, shredded

3 tbsp low-fat mayo

¼ cup celery, diced

¼ cup carrots, diced

¼ cup diced apples

½ cup craisins

Fresh lemon juice

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients and top on toasted whole wheat bread, a scooped out bagel, or salad.

Turkey Cranberry Sandwich (serves 1)

Whole wheat bread, 2 slices

2 slices leftover turkey

1 tbsp leftover cranberry sauce

1 slice fontina cheese

Combine all ingredients and melt in a panini press. If omitting cheese, slightly warm turkey before putting in the sandwich and top with lettuce. Enjoy!!

Turkey Pasta Primavera (Serves 8)

1 lb whole wheat pasta

¼ cup olive oil

5 cloves garlic, diced

1 yellow onion

¼ cup white wine.

Leftover vegetables from table or crudite, cubed

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Fresh leftover herbs (rosemary, thyme or parsley), diced

2 cups shredded leftover turkey

½ cup parmesan cheese

If using raw vegetables, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat raw vegetables with salt, pepper and 2 tbsp oil and roast for 25 minutes or until browning slightly and tender. If using precooked vegetables, cut into small pieces. Boil salted water for penne. Cook pasta to just shy of al dente, drain and reserve 1 cup starchy cooking water. In a skillet, heat the rest of oil with garlic and onion. Add wine and simmer until reduced. Add roasted or precooked veggies, herbs, and turkey. Add pasta and keep on heat until pasta absorbs sauce. If need more fluid, add some starchy cooking water. Serve warm. If using cheese, top with cheese before platting.

End of Supper Soup (serves 6-10)

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

4 stalks of celery, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

Fresh herbs (whatever you have leftover ie. Thyme, rosemary, or parsley)

1 tsp tomato paste (if you have)

Leftover vegetables from the dinner table (anything you’ve got!)

Roasted turkey leftovers, shredded and off the bone

4-8 cups low-sodium chicken stock (depending on how much food you have leftover)

In a large soup pot, combine onion, carrots, and celery and lightly sautée in olive oil until onion has softened. Add fresh herbs, leftover vegetables, and optional tomato paste and sautee for another minute. Add roasted turkey and stock. Bring up to a boil and reduce to simmer. Allow to cook for about 20-30 minutes on simmer. Serve with leftover dinner rolls!

South of the Border Turkey Leftovers (serves 4-6)


1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cups peppers, chopped

1 tbsp canola oil

1-3 of Chulula hot sauce (depending on how spicy you like things)

1 tsp salt

½ tsp red pepper flakes

2 cups shredded leftover turkey

1 cup low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

Whole wheat soft tortillas (look for 3g fiber per tortilla or more)


2 avocados, mashed

½ yellow onion, diced finely

2 tbsp salsa (suggest Green Mountain salsa – mild, medium or hot)

2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

Sautee peppers and onion in oil. Add hot sauce, salt and pepper and cook vegetables until softened. Add black beans.

In a separate bowl, combine avocados, onion, salsa, and seasonings and mashed well until smooth with some chunks if desired.

Top each tortilla with 1 cup of filling mixture and top with 2 tbsp guacamole and more salsa if desired. To fold, fold top and bottom in first. While holding those in place, fold sides into each other. Hold securely to eat. **FYI: A good friend once told me, that if you don’t get messy while eating this recipe, then you are not eating great Mexican food.

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and continue to enjoy delicious, and healthy leftovers with your family and friends!!

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