Thankfully Light Leftovers

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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.

JOURNAL AS: a “light 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 , 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%.

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 , 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%.