When Thanksgiving or Christmas is done and you still have lots of turkey left, you may wonder what you can do with it all. Actually, quite a lot. First, chop, dice or shred your leftovers and store them in resealable plastic bags in the refrigerator. That way, you can reach for a bag or two as you need them. Then you’ll be ready to try one or more of my 10 Low Fat Ways to Use Leftover Turkey.
- Soups: Add 2 cups of chopped leftover turkey, a selection of chopped vegetables and 1 cup of uncooked rice or noodles to 3 cans fat-free, low sodium chicken broth.
- Salads: Add leftover turkey to a mix of arugula and spinach, sliced mushrooms, cranberries, shredded carrots, sliced red onions and a sprinkling of heart-healthy walnuts. Toss with your favorite low-fat or fat-free fruity dressing or vinaigrette.
- Sandwiches and Wraps: Use slices of leftover turkey to make all kinds of sandwiches. Be sure to use whole grain breads and rolls, and low-fat or fat-free fillings. If you don’t like the taste of fat-free mayo, use mustard instead, or flavor your mayo with a little curry powder or another herb or spice. Make a turkey-salad filling with crunchy celery, cranberries, and apple. Use plain low-fat yogurt for the dressing. Stuff into a whole wheat pita or spoon into the center of a whole wheat tortilla wrap and roll up.
- Pizza Toppings: Top a prepared whole wheat crust with 1/2 cup of tomato or barbecue sauce, 1 cup of chopped turkey and 1/2 cup reduced fat cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.
- Quesadillas: Combine shredded turkey with a little cumin. Spoon on one-half of a low-fat corn tortilla; sprinkle with reduced-fat cheese; fold tortilla in half and cook in a nonstick skillet (coated with cooking spray) for 5 minutes, turning once.
- Burritos, Enchiladas, Fajitas, and Tacos: Add shredded turkey to salsa, black beans, low fat sour cream and reduced fat cheese; or combine with sautéed onions and sweet peppers; with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes; or mix with mild green chiles, seasonings, scallions and a can of enchilada sauce. Use low fat flour or corn wraps with these fillings.
- Pot pies: Add leftover turkey, sliced mushrooms and leftover green beans and carrots to low fat, reduced sodium condensed chicken or mushroom soup. Top with a low-fat biscuit topping (there’s now a low-fat version of Bisquick) or phyllo pastry sheets.
- Casseroles: Combine 2 cups chopped leftover turkey with 2 cups cooked whole grain rice, a can fat-free, low sodium broth or chopped tomatoes, and a selection of chopped vegetables in a 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
- Skillet Meals: Add 1 1/2 cups of chopped leftover turkey to sautéed onion, mushrooms, broccoli and rice cooked in fat-free broth. Sprinkle some parmesan before serving.
- Pasta dishes: Add leftover turkey to your any number of pasta dishes. Use shredded turkey instead of ground beef in your favorite lasagna recipe. Be sure to use reduced fat cheeses.
Finally, don’t forget the carcass: put it in a big pot of water along with some onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns, and herbs; bring it to a boil, then simmer. After a couple of hours, you’ll have a rich stock, which you can de-fat and use for low-fat soups, stews, and gravies throughout the holiday season.
Who knows, once that turkey has finally gone, bones and all, you might even miss it…