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Gobble up dandified Thanksgiving leftovers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The turkey's not even in the oven, and I'm already thinking about what I'm going to do with the leftovers. Inevitably, the bland meat loses its appeal after the first sandwiches and requisite soup simmered with turkey carcass stock.

The classic Waldorf salad of apples, grapes, celery and nuts tossed with a creamy dressing graces many Thanksgiving tables. Convert the leftovers to a main dish salad simply by mixing in some shredded turkey. Or start from scratch with the recipe below, perhaps using nuts and fruits that might have decorated a holiday table centerpiece. 

How about spicing it up with Mexican-style with Quick Turkey Mole? The rich mole sauce with its hint of dark chocolate and cinnamon provides interesting contrast to turkey.

Cook a few more sweet potatoes than you need for your sweet potato casserole and save them for Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans. Enjoy the fritters with their crusty crusts and tender centers as a side dish or pair them with the beans for a main dish.

Turkey croquettes deliciously use up three leftovers: turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Serve them with the Sweet Potato Fritters and you have a meal made entirely of round foods.

Other quick ideas:

Shred turkey and combine with stuffing and a bit of mayo. Shape into patties and cook in a hot skillet. Mix a little cranberry sauce into some mayo to improvise a cranberry aioli to serve alongside.

Make quesadillas with a mixture of shredded turkey and chopped parsley, placed on tortillas spread with cranberry sauce. Top with shredded cheese and a tortilla. Brown in hot skillet coated with a dab of butter.

Lighten up with a turkey Cobb salad, a plate of healthy greens topped with rows of diced tomatoes, avocado, bacon, turkey, hard-boiled egg and bleu cheese. So much for the healthy greens.

Switch up the turkey and cranberry sandwich with green apples. Slice green apples and place them along with sliced sharp cheddar cheese and turkey on hearty bread spread with mayo and grainy mustard.

Perhaps the promise of delicious leftovers will deter diners from overindulging at the big meal on Thursday. Probably not.

@tag:Reach Julie Robinson at julier@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.

Turkey Waldorf Salad

2 cups shredded leftover turkey meat

2 stalks celery, sliced

1/2 cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more whole leaves for garnish

1 crisp apple, such as Gala or Macintosh, cored and chopped

1 cup red seedless grapes, halved

1/2 cup pecans, toasted, and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup non-fat yogurt

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed

Shredded or torn lettuce

Freshly ground black pepper

GENTLY toss the turkey, celery, celery leaves, apple, grapes and pecans in a large bowl until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt until well combined.

FOLD dressing into the turkey mixture, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to evenly dress the salad.

SPREAD lettuce evenly onto a serving platter, top with the dressed salad, garnish with celery leaves and serve immediately.

Source: www.foodnetwork.com

Quick Turkey Mole

Serves 6

1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 4-ounce) can diced chiles

1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds or roasted pumpkin seeds

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

A few grinds black pepper

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped

3 to 4 cups diced cooked turkey

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Cooked rice or tortillas

COMBINE tomatoes, chiles, almonds, onion, garlic, spices, salt, pepper and sugar in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

HEAT oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add sauce. Sprinkle in chocolate and cook, stirring often, until chocolate melts. Simmer sauce on medium-low for 10 minutes.

ADD turkey and cook, stirring often, until it is heated through. Stir in cilantro.

SERVE turkey mole with rice or tortillas

Source: sheknows.com

Sweet Potato Fritters with Smoky Pinto Beans

1 large sweet potato, cooked (about 1 pound)

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large poblano peppers or small green bell peppers, chopped

1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed

11/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup water

4 lime wedges for garnish

HEAT oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

HEAT 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture. Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.

WHISK cornmeal, flour, baking powder, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Peel the sweet potato and mash in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in the reserved onion-pepper mixture, egg and water. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.

FORM the sweet potato mixture into eight 3-inch oval fritters, using a generous 1/4 cup for each. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 fritters until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fritters and oil.

Bake the fritters until puffed and firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the fritters with the reserved bean mixture and lime wedges, if desired.

Source: www.eatingwell.com

Turkey Croquettes

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 medium onion, minced

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

11/2 teaspoons minced fresh sage

11/2 teaspoons minced fresh savory or thyme

2 cups finely chopped cooked turkey

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup mashed potatoes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 large egg, lightly beaten

11/2 cups finely ground fresh breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil, for frying

Cranberry sauce, for serving

MELT butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, 1 teaspoon salt and teaspoon pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Stir in sage and savory or thyme, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in turkey and cream, and cook until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl, and let cool for 15 minutes.

ADD potatoes, flour and egg to turkey, and season with salt and pepper.

DROP 2 tablespoons turkey mixture into a shallow bowl of breadcrumbs, turn to coat, and pat into 2-inch disks. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

HEAT 1/4 inch oil in a skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook croquettes in a single layer until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately with cranberry sauce.

Source: www.marthastewart.com


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