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Healthy ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers

November 23, 2011
By Cheri Mathiowetz , Marshall Independent

Like most Americans after tomorrow's meal, you may have a refrigerator full of Thanksgiving leftovers. Turn that Thanksgiving feast into several other meals and sides that will both satisfy your family and prevent waste!

Turkey is easy to use. Simply chop leftover turkey and use in the following ways.

Turkey Avocado Wrap - Use whole-wheat tortilla, a Laughing Cow light cheese wedge, avocado slices and chopped turkey to make a delicious wrap

Soups - Place chopped turkey in soupsturkey noodle soup, turkey chili, turkey and rice soup and more!

Turkey Omelets - Use turkey, Havarti or other cheese and salsa in an omelet.

Salads - Toss turkey in lettuce salads along with dried cranberries, walnuts, green onion, shredded carrots, feta cheese and a light dressing.

Pizza - Top a whole-wheat pizza crust with cup barbecue sauce, 1/2 cup chopped turkey and 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees.

Turkey Tacos - Sprinkle turkey with low-sodium taco seasoning. Fill taco shells with seasoned turkey, fat-free refried beans, shredded lettuce, salsa and shredded cheese.

Turkey Stir-Fry - Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a wok and add stir-fry frozen veggies. When veggies are crisp-tender, add 1 to 2 cups cooked turkey. Add your favorite stir-fry sauce and serve over cooked brown rice.

Turkey Mac and Cheese - Make a box of whole grain macaroni and cheese. Stir in shredded turkey at the end of the cooking time.

Cranberry sauce is usually left over at Thanksgiving dinners, but doesn't need to be wasted. Use cranberry sauce in the following ways.

Cranberry Muffins - Mix up your favorite muffin recipe. Put a scoop of cranberry sauce into each muffin cup before baking.

Cranberry Sandwich - Spice up a plain old turkey sandwich: use whole-grain bread, spread with cranberry sauce and top with Swiss cheese, arugula, and leftover turkey.

Cranberry Dip - Mix leftover cranberry sauce with 4 ounces Neufchatel cheese (low-fat cream cheese) and thawed whipped topping (8-ounce tub) for a fun dip for fruit.

Meat Marinade - Combine cranberry sauce with vinegar to make a great marinade or glaze for meats such as pork and chicken.

Rolls can be frozen and used later for breadcrumbs, croutons or stuffing.

Vegetables like green beans and corn can be added to vegetable soup or stew. They can also be added to casseroles (such as the Turkey Mac and Cheese listed above).

Mashed potatoes don't need to go to waste. Shape leftovers into patties and "fry" in a non-stick cooking pan for healthier hash browns.

Crispy Turkey Tostadas

Serves 4 (2 tostadas each) Total: 35 minutes

All you need:

1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, preferably with jalapeos

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

3 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken (12 ounces)

8 corn tortillas

Canola or olive oil cooking spray

1 avocado, pitted

1/4 cup prepared salsa

2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

All you do:

1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 375F.

2. Bring tomatoes and juice to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Add turkey (or chicken); cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray. Divide the tortillas between 2 large baking sheets. Bake, turning once, until crisped and lightly brown, about 10 minutes.

4. Mash avocado in a bowl. Stir in salsa, sour cream and cilantro until combined. To assemble tostadas, spread each crisped tortilla with some of the avocado mixture. Top with the turkey (or chicken) mixture, lettuce and cheese.

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

Nutrition facts per serving: 397 calories; 15g fat (5g sat, 7g mono); 86mg cholesterol; 34g carbohydrate; 33g protein; 8g fiber; 621mg sodium; 709mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (27% daily value), Magnesium (22% dv), Potassium & Zinc (21% dv), Folate (19% dv), Calcium (18% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2 | Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 2 vegetable, 4 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat



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