Kathryn Rem: Make the most of those Thanksgiving leftovers

Kathryn Rem

After Thursday, your beautiful Thanksgiving dinner will be nothing more than a bunch of leftovers stored in the fridge.

Lucky you!

Those bits of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and cranberry sauce will be ready to morph into a host of new meals. But first a few words about safety.

Remove stuffing from the turkey cavity and carve turkey meat from the bones. Make sure leftovers are stored in shallow containers or airtight packaging. This keeps out bacteria, retains moisture and prevents them from picking up odors from other foods. Refrigerate or freeze within two hours of cooking.

Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. If frozen, leftovers will last three to four months. Although frozen foods will remain safe to eat after that, they can lose moisture and flavor.

When using leftovers, reheat hot foods thoroughly to 165 F and bring gravy to a boil before serving. Cover the food when reheating to retain moisture and heat all the way through.

Here are a few recipes to get you started:

Turkey Tortilla Soup

From the National Turkey Federation

1 cup chopped onion

1 t olive oil

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles

1 package (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning mix

1 can (16 ounces) tomatoes, undrained

6 cups turkey broth or reduced-sodium chicken bouillon

1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn

2 cups cooked turkey, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

4 ounces unsalted tortilla chips, coarsely crumbled

1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

In 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in hot oil 3 to 4 minutes or until translucent. Stir in chiles and taco seasoning mix; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking up with spoon. Stir in turkey broth; bring to a boil. Add corn and turkey, reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Add cilantro.

To serve, spoon 1 1/3 cups of soup in each bowl. Top each serving with 1/2 ounce tortilla pieces and 1 T cheese.

Makes 8 servings.

Turkey Cranberry Croissant

From the National Turkey Federation

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup orange marmalade

1/2 cup chopped pecans

6 croissants, split

1 pound cooked turkey, thinly sliced

3/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce

6 red leaf lettuce leaves, washed and chilled

In small bowl combine softened cream cheese, marmalade and pecans.

Spread cream cheese mixture on both halves of croissants. Layer turkey, cranberry sauce and lettuce on bottom half of croissant.

To serve, top with other half of croissant.

Makes 6 servings.

Cast Iron Skillet Turkey Hash with Soft-Cooked Eggs

From “The New Thanksgiving Table” by Diane Morgan

4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 pounds red-skinned, Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 ribs celery, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 large red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 t kosher or sea salt

1/2 t freshly ground pepper

3 cups coarsely chopped roast turkey

3 T chopped tarragon, plus extra for garnish

1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

6 large eggs

Tabasco or other hot sauce

In a 12-inch skillet or saute pan, preferably cast iron, melt the butter over medium heat and swirl to coat the pan. Add potatoes and onion and saute about 1 minute until just coated with butter.

Cover and cook 7 minutes to steam the potatoes, stirring once. Add celery and bell pepper, stir briefly, then cover and cook 3 minutes longer. Uncover pan, raise heat to medium-high and add the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until potatoes are lightly browned.

Gently fold in the turkey, tarragon and parsley and cook about 2 minutes, just until turkey is heated through. Using a large spoon, make 6 shallow depressions in the hash, spacing them equally around the pan, with one in the center. Carefully crack an egg into each hollowed-out spot. Cover pan and cook eggs for about 5 minutes until whites are set and yolks are still runny.

Serve immediately, garnishing top of each egg with a sprinkling of tarragon. Pass hot sauce at the table.

Note: Use pasteurized-in-the-shell eggs if you’re worried about the runny yolk.

Makes 6 servings.

Kathryn Rem can be reached at 788-1520 or kathryn.rem@sj-r.com.