Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 2:40 PM
Kitchens get a major workout this time of year. In the upcoming weeks, you are likely to be roasting turkey, baking pies, cookies and gingerbread, and making party appetizers, potluck dishes, fudge, divinity and neighbor gifts.
But in the meantime, your family still needs dinner every night.
Here are two dishes that take advantage of cooked turkey and other Thanksgiving leftovers. You can get them on the table within 30 minutes, with a minimum of chopping, peeling or other prep work.
I like to have “planned-over” turkey on hand, because sometimes there’s not much turkey left over from Thanksgiving dinner when you have a large family and others who like taking home leftovers, too. Most grocery stores are offering some great deals on frozen turkey right now. I like to roast one the week before Thanksgiving and slice, dice, and freeze it for future sandwiches, soup and casseroles.
Then you can quickly make Pesto Turkey & Spinach in less than 10 minutes in the microwave. It’s full of good-for-you greens with a pesto flavor boost. You can serve it as is, or over pasta or toast.
Turkey broth is a great base for flavorful soups. After you’re finished eating Thanksgiving dinner, take a few minutes to pull most of the meat off the turkey carcass while you’re cleaning up. Refrigerate the meat in an airtight container so it doesn’t dry out.
Then use the carcass to make turkey broth. Put it in a stockpot or a large slow cooker, and cover it with water. Add the drippings in the bottom of the roasting pan, if you didn’t use them to make gravy. Toss in leftover celery and carrots from your Thanksgiving relish tray, and leftover onion from making dressing. If you use a slow cooker, turn it on low and let it simmer all night. If you’re cooking it on the stove, let it gently boil for about 4 or 5 hours.
Let the broth cool for about an hour, then pour it through a strainer into a large bowl. The strainer will catch all the spent bones and meat, which can be discarded.
Taste your broth. If the flavor is weak and watery, gently boil the broth on the stove or in the microwave for an hour to let more of the liquid evaporate and concentrate the flavor. Refrigerate it for several hours or overnight, so the fat will rise to the top andharden. Skim off the hardened fat so you can cut some calories and your soups won’t taste greasy.
Use the broth for making Turkey Pot Pie Soup, which conveniently helps you use up leftover veggies or pie crust. Just cut the crust in squares or circles to place on top of each bowl of soup as it’s ladled out.
Valerie Phillips blogs at www.chewandchat.com.
Don’t be concerned that there’s too much spinach; it contains a lot of water and will cook down.
— Valerie Phillips
Prep time: 30 minutes
— “Soup’s On!”by Valerie Phillips (Covenant, $19.95)
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