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Some Of The Best Meals Are Made From Leftover Turkey

Laura Carnie Correspondent

Turkey is so much a part of Americana that Benjamin Franklin once proposed making it our national bird. Nearly 200 years later, turkey still stands at the center of holiday menus and remains a post-holiday favorite.

Tomorrow the big bird will serve as the focus for Thanksgiving feasts around our land. After everyone has had their fill, it’s time to prepare the remains for future meals.

Strip the carcass of meat and stuffing. Package them airtight in one- and two-cup portions and chill rapidly in the coldest portion of the refrigerator or freezer (freeze any portions that won’t be used within three days). Meanwhile, simmer the bones and skin in water to cover along with herbs and chopped carrot, onion and celery rib for two to three hours.

A good-sized turkey will yield three or more quarts of broth and enough leftover meat for at least two more meals. Once you’ve tried these post-feast options, you’ll be ready to roast another turkey just to make more leftovers!

Turkey Pasta Primavera

1 pound cooked turkey breast

4 ounces pasta (spaghetti or fettuccine)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 green onions, sliced

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons water

1 pound fresh broccoli

1 cup (8 ounces) plain yogurt

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cut turkey breast into 3/4-inch chunks. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, combine garlic, onions and oil in large skillet; cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Cut 2-inch florets from broccoli; reserve remainder for another use. Add water, broccoli florets and turkey to skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender.

Toss cooked and drained pasta with turkey-vegetable mixture. Place on platter. Top with tomatoes. Combine yogurt and basil; spoon over pasta mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Turkey Chowder

4 slices bacon, chopped

1-1/2 cups diced potatoes

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

About 2 cups bite-size pieces turkey

2 cups turkey or chicken broth

10-ounce package frozen corn

1-1/2 cups half and half or milk

Cook bacon in Dutch oven or large saucepan until it starts to brown; remove all except 1 tablespoon fat. Add potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic and seasonings; cook until onions are translucent. Stir in turkey and broth; simmer 20 minutes.

Add corn and half and half; heat gently to serving temperature.

Yield: 8 servings.

Turkey Enchiladas

1-1/2 cups shredded or chopped cooked turkey

1 cup picante sauce or salsa

3-ounce package cream cheese, cubed

1/2 cup sliced green onions

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves, crushed

1-1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or colby cheese

8 flour tortillas (6- to 7-inch)

Shredded lettuce

Radish slices or halved cherry tomatoes

Ripe olive slices

Combine turkey, 1/4 cup of the picante sauce, cream cheese cubes, green onion slices, cumin and oregano in a skillet. Place over low heat until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Spoon scant 1/3 cup portions of turkey mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up and place seam-side down in lightly greased 12- by 7-inch baking dish. Spoon remaining 3/4 cup picante sauce evenly over enchiladas; cover with remaining 1 cup shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with lettuce, radishes (or tomatoes) and olives, as desired. Serve with additional picante sauce on the side.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Turkey and Pasta Salad Vinaigrette

2 cups (about 8 ounces) uncooked pasta (rotini, elbow macaroni, medium shells or radiatore)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced

Dash ground white pepper

3/4 cup chopped carrot

3/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup sliced pitted ripe olives

8-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained

3 cups cubed cooked turkey

Leaf lettuce

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

In small bowl, blend oil, vinegar, garlic and pepper.

In larger bowl, combine carrot, celery, onion and pasta. Add oil mixture; toss to coat. Add olives, artichokes and turkey; toss gently. Cover; chill thoroughly. Serve each portion on lettuce leaves.

Turkey Curry

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon flour

2 cups turkey broth (see note)

2 cups chopped cooked turkey

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup raisins

1-1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

2 cups cooked long-grain rice

Melt butter or margarine in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add carrot, onion and garlic; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in curry powder, ginger and flour; cook 1 minute.

Add broth, cooked turkey, water, raisins, hot pepper sauce and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in parsley. Serve mixture over rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

Cook’s note: To make turkey broth, place turkey skin and bones in a large kettle. Cover with water. Add herbs, chopped carrot, onion and celery rib. Simmer until bones fall apart, about 2 to 3 hours. Strain, separate and discard fat.

If turkey broth is not available, substitute a 13-3/4-ounce can chicken broth.

Have a food question? Looking for a recipe? Laura Carnie, a certified family and consumer scientist and food consultant in Coeur d’Alene, would like to hear from you. Write to Cook’s Notebook, Features Department, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210.

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