News Column

Thanksgiving Leftovers Beyond Turkey Sandwiches

November 26, 2010

Kim Brown

Whether you're a staunch traditionalist or a modern foodie, Thanksgiving is not a mere meal -- in Oklahoma, it's an event.

And for many, the leftover turkey sandwich is the perfect finale to the ultimate culinary holiday.

But if you're sick of the same old sandwich, it's difficult to see all that work whither away in plastic wrap in your refrigerator.

So we've compiled some quick and zesty ways to tame that leftover turkey, taters and cranberry sauce.

We love Tex-Mex in Oklahoma, and this simple soup recipe from Better Homes & Gardens would be perfect for the Big Game.

Turkey Tortilla Soup

3 6-inch corn tortillas, cut in strips 2 tablespoons cooking oil 1 cup purchased red or green salsa 2 14-ounce cans reduced sodium chicken broth 2 cups cubed cooked turkey (12 ounces) 1 large zucchini, coarsely chopped Lime wedges (optional) Sour cream and cilantro (optional)

1. In a large skillet cook tortilla strips in hot oil until crisp; remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper toweling.

2. In a large saucepan combine salsa and chicken broth; bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Add turkey and zucchini; heat through. Serve in bowls topped with tortilla strips, lime wedges and cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

Need a quick starter to serve to a crowd? This spicy recipe from Ocean Spray is a great way to use your leftover cranberry sauce.

Tex-Mex Cranberry


1 cup water 1 cup sugar 1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray fresh or frozen cranberries 2 tablespoons chopped canned jalapeno peppers 1 teaspoon dried cilantro 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 1 green onion, white and green parts, sliced 1 teaspoon lime juice

1. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add cranberries; return to a boil. Gently boil cranberries for 10 minutes without stirring. Pour into a medium glass mixing bowl. Gently stir in remaining ingredients.

2. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on salsa. Cool at room temperature and refrigerate. Best if served at room temperature. Makes about 2 1/2 cups. Leftover no-no's The Tulsa Health Department strongly suggests refrigerating those leftovers ASAP:

--Hot foods should be refrigerated as soon as possible, within two hours after cooking. Don't keep the food if it's been standing out for more than two hours. Don't taste test it, either. Even a small amount of contaminated food can cause illness.

--Date leftovers so they can be used within a safe time. Generally, they remain safe when properly refrigerated for three to five days. If in doubt, throw it out. Sauce it up Here are some other quick ways to spice up those leftovers, courtesy of Whole Foods:

Mashed potatoes

--Mix with some cooked chopped cabbage, kale or other hearty winter green for a quick version of colcannon, an Irish staple.

--Combine with a little chopped onion and beaten egg, form into patties and pan-fry for delicious potato cakes. Adding a little cooked grain to the mix will make them even more wonderful -- try wild rice or barley.

--Saute sliced leeks in butter until soft, then puree with chicken stock and mashed potatoes for a delicious winter soup.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

--Mix a cup of mashed sweet potatoes into your favorite muffin or quick bread recipe.

--Make a quick sweet-potato bisque by pureeing peeled or mashed potatoes with stock and coconut milk. Stir in a little curry paste or powder for an exotic touch, or add cooked rice and chopped turkey for a hearty main course.

--Make sweet potato croquettes: mix chilled, mashed potatoes with beaten egg, roll into cylinders and coat with panko bread crumbs. Pan-fry until crisped and heated through.

Cranberry Sauce

--Mix with plain yogurt for breakfast or a satisfying snack.

--Stir some chopped pecans or walnuts into your sauce and serve as a chutney with crackers and cheeses -- particularly delicious with Stilton or Farmhouse Cheddar.

--Mix into applesauce and serve hot with pork chops or as a topping for pancakes or waffles.

Source: Copyright (c) 2010, Tulsa World, Okla. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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