turkey

Stuffed Squash with Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Turkey leftovers? 

Sure, there's sandwiches, salad and so on. 

How about a one-pot meal-in-one you can get ready way ahead and pop it into the oven a few days after Thanksgiving? Something tidy, compact, with a profusion of appealing color? That includes so many food groups?

Like this Stuffed Acorn Squash.

Note: you can make the squash and filling ahead separately. These are good hot or at room temperature.

STUFFED ACORN SQUASH

  • 4 small acorn or carnival squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped yellow squash 
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 2 large eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way down and remove the cap (you can bake it and serve it for decoration). Scoop out the seeds (you can rinse them off and roast them separately to use as a snack). Wrap the squash in aluminum foil and bake for about 35-45 minutes or until tender. Set aside. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. While the squash is roasting, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes, to soften them slightly. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the squash, turkey, spinach, cranberries, breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme and cayenne pepper (if used) and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Mix in the eggs and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon equal amounts of the mixture into the baked squash hollows. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 4 servings

Roasting a turkey half breast

Suppose you're not roasting a whole turkey for Thanksgiving?

For example, your family just likes white meat. Or dark.

A whole turkey does look festive. And is traditional.

Still, if you don't like one part or another, just cook the part you like.

Fortunately for me, my Thanksgiving gang likes every part of the turkey. But when it's just Ed and me, or when I have Eileen and Jeff over for dinner, it's breast-only.

So, if you'll be cooking turkey breast for Thanksgiving or some other time, here's one of my easy, go-to recipes.

 

Roasted Turkey Half Breast with Sweet White Wine

  • half turkey breast, about 4 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-½ tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1-½ cups sweet white wine such as Riesling

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse and dry the turkey breast and place it skin side up in a roasting pan. Brush the skin with the olive oil. Scatter the ginger, garlic and thyme over the breast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Place the turkey in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Pour the wine over the turkey. Continue to roast for another 40-50 minutes, basting occasionally, or until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast measures 160°F. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Serve with pan fluids.

Makes 6 servings.

 

Roasted Turkey Half-Breast with Pineapple Glaze

The lovely image of a large and festive roasted Thanksgiving turkey is one thing. Actually cooking the turkey just right is another thing.

Lots of people, even some who are perfectly good home cooks and make delicious food, are sometimes afraid of roasting a whole turkey.

Here’s how I do it. We eat turkey throughout the year, so I change the basting fluids and seasonings whenever I cook one, but the method described in that blog post works whatever the seasonings. At least it has worked for us.

Turkey can also be easier if you roast separate parts. It’s a much better idea actually, especially if you have a small family or no one likes the white meat (or dark).

When I wish to roast a breast only, this is how I do it. As with a whole turkey, I change the basting fluids and seasonings often, but this recipe, which is vaguely sweet, with a refreshing acidic touch thanks to the pineapple juice, and a bit of heat because of the Sriracha, has been a winner at our house.

You can use the same seasonings for a whole turkey of course (double up on the glaze ingredients). In that case, add the glaze mixture later (after about 40 minutes).

Roasted Turkey Half-Breast with Pineapple Glaze

  • 1-1/2 cups pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sambal or Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • turkey half breast, about 3 pounds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, Sambal, ginger, thyme, and garlic in a saucepan and whisk ingredients until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until thickened slightly and syrupy. Set aside to cool. Rinse and dry the turkey breast and place it skin side up in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Roast for 20 minutes. Pour half the juice mixture over the turkey. Continue to roast for another 20 minutes. Pour the remainder of the juice mixture over the turkey. Continue to roast the turkey for another 20-35 minutes or until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the breast measures 160°F, basting occasionally with the pan juices. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Serve with pan fluids.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Turkey Breast, Southwest Style

Some things never change. I’m thinking petty political squabbles over nonsense. 
 Like the  one I wrote  about last week, about when President Franklin Roosevelt, at the behest of business leaders who wanted more Christmas holiday shopping days to pump up business during the Depression, changed the date Thanksgiving was celebrated from the last Thursday in November, to the 4th Thursday in November. That was in 1939. 
 What I didn’t mention last week, was that this caused such a squall in Republican circles that for years, in several states, Republican governors refused to comply with a Democratic president’s plan and celebrated Thanksgiving, as had been usual, on the last Thursday. 
 For years there were two Thanksgivings: Republican and Democrat. 
 Even after a joint resolution in Congress (in December 1941, the country now at war) setting the official date of Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November, some states refused to comply. For years. 
 It wasn’t until 1957 that every state celebrated Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday. 
 The last holdout was Texas. 
 Somehow I wasn’t surprised to read that. 
 Here’s to you America. I am thankful and happy to celebrate Thanksgiving with everyone else on November 28th, the fourth Thursday. 
 Here’s to you Texas: United we stand! In your honor, here’s a recipe for Southwest style turkey breast for those who don’t want to roast a whole turkey on Thanksgiving or any other time. If you do, double the seasonings and juice. 

 Turkey Breast, Southwest Style 
     
  1 half turkey breast about 3 pounds   
  3 tablespoons olive oil  
  2 cloves garlic, mashed  
  2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano  
  1 teaspoon chili powder  
  1/2 teaspoon ground cumin  
  1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper  
  1 cup apricot or orange juice  
  salt if desired  
     
  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and dry the turkey and place it skin side up in a roasting pan. Combine the olive oil, garlic, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper and brush the turkey with this mixture. Sprinkle with salt if desired. Place the turkey in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Roast for 20 minutes. Pour the juice over the turkey. Roast for another 40-65 minutes, basting occasionally, or until a meat thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the breast reads 160 degrees. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Makes 4 servings.

Some things never change. I’m thinking petty political squabbles over nonsense.

Like the one I wrote about last week, about when President Franklin Roosevelt, at the behest of business leaders who wanted more Christmas holiday shopping days to pump up business during the Depression, changed the date Thanksgiving was celebrated from the last Thursday in November, to the 4th Thursday in November. That was in 1939.

What I didn’t mention last week, was that this caused such a squall in Republican circles that for years, in several states, Republican governors refused to comply with a Democratic president’s plan and celebrated Thanksgiving, as had been usual, on the last Thursday.

For years there were two Thanksgivings: Republican and Democrat.

Even after a joint resolution in Congress (in December 1941, the country now at war) setting the official date of Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November, some states refused to comply. For years.

It wasn’t until 1957 that every state celebrated Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday.

The last holdout was Texas.

Somehow I wasn’t surprised to read that.

Here’s to you America. I am thankful and happy to celebrate Thanksgiving with everyone else on November 28th, the fourth Thursday.

Here’s to you Texas: United we stand! In your honor, here’s a recipe for Southwest style turkey breast for those who don’t want to roast a whole turkey on Thanksgiving or any other time. If you do, double the seasonings and juice.

Turkey Breast, Southwest Style

 

1 half turkey breast about 3 pounds

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, mashed

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup apricot or orange juice

salt if desired

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and dry the turkey and place it skin side up in a roasting pan. Combine the olive oil, garlic, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper and brush the turkey with this mixture. Sprinkle with salt if desired. Place the turkey in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Roast for 20 minutes. Pour the juice over the turkey. Roast for another 40-65 minutes, basting occasionally, or until a meat thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the breast reads 160 degrees. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Makes 4 servings.

Mayonnaise or Ketchup? Turkey Sandwich.

I came from a mayonnaise family. My husband Ed’s family was all about ketchup. Honestly, his parents used to buy bottles of Heinz in bulk long before anyone ever heard of Costco and BJ’s. And so did he, based on what I spotted in the cupboards of his single-guy apartment the first time I looked.

Opinions run high on stuff like this, just like with politics.

Imagine Michelle Bachmann discussing Hellman’s versus Heinz with Al Gore.

It’s not really such a big deal though because when it comes to something like a roast beef sandwich we can each put whatever we want on the bread, right?

But no, right after we were married and might be making sandwiches on a Sunday afternoon, we would each slather the bread and then taunt each other about how the sandwich we were eating was so much better than the other one’s.

Over the intervening years for one reason or another we have each cut down on our favorite condiment. Although I still love a summer tomato sandwich with mayo. And he still pours a blob of ketchup on his plate when I serve grilled steak.

He has tried to convince me that olive oil tastes better on that summer tomato sandwich, but I am not convinced.

I think there ought to be a law against eating ketchup with a good grilled steak.

We both agree that you have to use mayo, not ketchup, for egg salad, but that ketchup, not mayo, is best for meatloaf.

And of course, we can always choose that loving combo of — ketchup PLUS mayo. 

A nice compromise. It often works to the good.

Like on a hamburger.

Or in this turkey sandwich recipe, which you might want to consider for your leftovers after Thanksgiving.

 

Turkey Sandwich

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper

1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon peel

6 sesame seed buns

6 pieces of lettuce or a bunch of watercress

sliced, leftover turkey

2 avocados, sliced, optional

12 tomato slices

6 slices Monterey Jack cheese, optional

Combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, jalapeno pepper and lemon peel in a bowl, mix well and spread equal amounts of this mixture on one side of each of the sesame seed buns. Cover with lettuce or watercress. Top with slices of cooked turkey, optional avocado, tomato and cheese. Cover with the remaining bun half.

Makes 6 sandwiches

Turkey Salad with Chickpeas and Orange Vinaigrette

Food writers are always thinking a season ahead, so I’ve already gone over the prospective Valentine’s Day article with my editor at the newspaper. These discussions always reminds me of my Dad, who was a fabric buyer, and how he was writing orders for calico cotton in December and thick wool in July.

Still, it’s not even Thanksgiving. But this is how my mind works — I’m already contemplating turkey leftovers. We all love sandwiches the day after. But then I like to get more creative so I make up salads and stirfries for the rest of the meat. Here’s an easy salad recipe you can use for your leftovers.

Turkey Salad with Chickpeas and Orange Vinaigrette

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • peel of half an orange cut into strips
  • 2 cups cooked diced turkey
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas or cut up cooked broccoli
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the olive oil and orange peel in a small saucepan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Let rest for 30 minutes. Discard the peel. Place the turkey, chickpeas and vegetable in a bowl and toss to mix the ingredients. In another bowl mix the flavored olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice and orange peel and pour over the turkey mixture. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings