Thankfully Light Leftovers

Our 'Recipe Doctor' offers tips on how to use up the rest of that bird

From the WebMD Archives

I know I'm not alone when I say that one of the best parts about the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays actually comes the day after -- leftovers! What's your favorite: the leftover stuffing, the mashed potatoes, or a slice of pumpkin pie

In honor of the season, and the leftover turkey we all hope to have sitting in our refrigerator after the hordes of dinner guests have departed, I wanted to share a few of my favorite leftover turkey tips and recipes.

10 Light & Tasty Ways to Enjoy Leftover Turkey

10) Make a turkey salad sandwich by mixing a little light mayonnaise with just as much fat-free sour cream and stir in diced turkey along with some chopped celery, a pinch of Dijon mustard, and a sprinkle of toasted pecans or walnuts. Serve on whole-grain bread or a whole-grain roll.

JOURNAL AS: a "sandwich and burger lean meat" (2 ounces bread + 3 ounces meat), plus 2 teaspoons of light mayo can be journaled as 1 teaspoon of regular mayo.

(Check out my Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich recipe below.)

9) Add diced turkey to whatever soup, stew, or chowder you enjoy. You can even buy low-fat canned soup (like chicken noodle, minestrone, etc.) and stir some diced turkey into the saucepan when you are heating it up.

JOURNAL AS: 1 cup of "hearty stews, chili, starches soup."

8) Use shredded turkey in place of chicken in your favorite Mexican recipes, such as enchiladas, quesadillas, tamales, etc.

7) Add shredded turkey to your favorite pasta dish, such as light fettuccine Alfredo (see recipe below), lasagna, pesto and pasta, even chilled pasta salad.

6) Add shredded turkey to your favorite rice dish, such as a rice casserole, a saffron or savory rice dish, or even a cold rice salad.

5) Make an individual serving of stuffing casserole. Stir about 1/3 cup of shredded turkey meat (and 1/3 cup of some vegetables if desired) into a small microwave-safe bowl, along with about 1 cup of leftover stuffing. Top with a spoon of gravy or grated reduced-fat cheese, if desired. Cover and reheat mixture in the microwave about 2 minutes on HIGH.

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JOURNAL AS: a "light frozen dinner, pasta, or rice dish with meat/fish with light sauce."

(Or try out my Irish Shepherd's Pie recipe below!)

4) Turkey chili will heat things up the day after Thanksgiving. Make your favorite light chili recipe but instead of adding in browned ground beef or beef chunks, stir in some diced or shredded turkey.

JOURNAL AS: 1 cup of "hearty stews, chili, starches soup."

3) Enjoy a light turkey Caesar salad the next day. Mix up a quick Caesar salad using Romaine lettuce, tomato wedges, and fat-free or low-fat Caesar salad croutons (available in most supermarkets). Top the salad with plenty of shredded turkey and drizzle bottled light Caesar salad dressing over the top. If you can't find light Caesar dressing in your market, make up your own by blending 1/2 cup of regular Caesar dressing with 1/2 cup of apple juice.

JOURNAL AS: "entrée salad with meat, fish or eggs with light salad dressing."

2) Don't wait until lunch to enjoy your leftover turkey. Add some shredded turkey to your breakfast omelet or frittata. Turkey goes well with the fixings we normally add to our omelets and frittatas -- green onions, avocado, vegetables, reduced-fat cheese, fat-free sour cream, etc.

JOURNAL AS: "Eggs with meat."

1) Transform leftover turkey into an elegant turkey divan by topping a turkey and broccoli casserole with melted reduced-fat cheese and a light crumb topping.

JOURNAL AS: "lean meat with sauce" plus "vegetables without added fat."

And Now a Few Thankfully Light Recipes

Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 "sandwich and burger lean meat" plus 1 ounce "low-fat cheese."

I know you are all going to want to make turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving. To give you yet another sandwich to enjoy, other than the standard turkey sandwich, here's a sandwich that uses the leftover cranberry sauce as well!

2 slices whole-grain bread or 1 whole-grain roll

1 to 2 tablespoons light cream cheese

1 to 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce

A couple of carved slices of turkey (about the size of the palm of your hand)

Lettuce, tomato, sliced onion, alfalfa sprouts (as desired)

  • Spread the cream cheese over one of the slices of bread or roll. Spread cranberry sauce over the top of that.
  • Add the slices of turkey and top with lettuce, tomato, sliced onion or alfalfa sprouts as desired. Enjoy!

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Makes 1 sandwich.

Per sandwich: 339 calories, 33 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 6.5 g fat (3.2 g saturated fat, 0.9 g monounsaturated fat, 0.7 g polyunsaturated fat), 81 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 419 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 17%.

The Day After Irish Shepherd's Pie

Journal as: 1 serving Quick Meal "Light Frozen dinner, pasta or rice with meat or fish or vegetarian with cream sauce" OR 1 serving "Lean Meat without added fat" + 1 serving "vegetable serving without added fat" + 1 serving "starch and legumes without added fat"

This is a wonderful way to enjoy the leftover mashed potatoes, green vegetables, and gravy, too!

Canola cooking spray

2/3 cup chopped mild or sweet onion

2 cups diced roasted turkey

2 cups leftover gravy

1/2 to 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1-2 cups assorted leftover vegetables (optional)

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 tablespoon butter or no/low-trans fat margarine

Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Coat the inside of a deep-dish pie plate with canola cooking spray.
  • Coat a large, nonstick skillet with canola cooking spray, add the onion, and cook until the onion is lightly browned. With the spatula, stir in the diced turkey, gravy, Worcestershire sauce, and leftover vegetables, if desired.
  • Spread the turkey mixture evenly in the prepared pie plate. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the meat. With the fork, make a design in the mashed potatoes. Set aside.
  • In a microwave-safe cup, melt the butter in the microwave (or melt it in saucepan over low heat on the stove). With a pastry brush, brush the top of the potatoes with the melted butter. Sprinkle black pepper over the top if desired.
  • Place pie dish in the oven and cook until heated through and golden on top (about 25 minutes).

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving (using a store-bought gravy): 234 calories, 18 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 7.3 g fat (2.2 g saturated fat, 2.8 g monounsaturated fat, 2.2 g polyunsaturated fat), 42 mg cholesterol, 2.5 g fiber, 500-700 mg sodium (depending on the gravy). Calories from fat: 28%.

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Turkey Fettuccini Alfredo

Journal as: 1 serving "lean meat without added fat" plus 1 ounce "low-fat cheese" plus 2 servings (1/2 cup total) "starches and legumes without fat."

You will love this totally creamy and comforting dish.

2 to 2 1/2 cups roasted turkey breast, cut into strips (skinless)

1/4 cup light cream cheese

1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half or whole milk, divided

1 tablespoon Wondra quick-mixing flour

1 tablespoon butter (or no/low-trans fat margarine)

3 cups hot cooked and drained spaghetti or fettuccine noodles

Salt and freshly grated pepper to taste

Pinch or two of nutmeg (add more to taste if desired)

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (add more at the table if desired)

  • Boil fettuccine noodles.
  • Combine cream cheese, 1/4-cup fat-free half-and-half, and flour in a small mixing bowl or food processor. Beat or pulse until well blended. Slowly pour in remaining half-and-half or milk and beat until smooth.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large, nonstick frying pan or saucepan over medium heat. Add the milk mixture and continue to heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is just the right thickness (about 3-4 minutes). Turn the heat to low and add the hot noodles and turkey strips. Toss to coat noodles and turkey well with sauce. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste if desired. Stir in grated Parmesan and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 419 calories, 37 g protein, 44 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (3.8 g saturated fat, 2.8 g monounsaturated fat, 1.6 g polyunsaturated fat), 79 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 332 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 23%.

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