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Leftover Turkey? A Gourmet Treat!

It's that wonderful time of year again -- pumpkins, autumn leaves, crisp days, and ... leftover turkey. Oh, my! What on earth can you do with those never-ending leftovers besides serving one more cold turkey sandwich?

I personally love Turkey leftovers. I even plan the size of turkey I buy based on how much I want left over (the more, the merrier!). I use leftover turkey in meals I prepare ahead of time to store in the freezer (a delicious freezer-friendly recipe follows), but I also dice and shred some of the meat to store in two-cup freezer containers (or zip-top bags) for an easy addition to meals I'm preparing during the week. Skillet meals, casseroles, and shredded meat sandwiches become quick and simple "on-the-go" family meals.

If you're in need of a wonderful recipe for roasted turkey, feel free to use my family's traditional turkey recipe. It even comes complete with freeze-ahead instructions to save you time and energy on the holiday. To retrieve the instructions and recipe via email autoresponder, simply send an email to:

turkey@sendfree.com

Now, on to those gourmet leftover treats I promised!

Gourmet Turkey Sandwich
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sourdough bread
Jellied cranberry sauce
Cream cheese
Leftover turkey meat (white meat, preferably)

Spread cranberry sauce and cream cheese on opposite sides of bread, and then simply layer on some cold left- over turkey meat (I personally prefer slices of white meat in this sandwich).

Oh, goodness ... just thinking about this sandwich makes me hungry!

Turkey-Stuffed Manicotti
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
8 servings

(Reprinted with permission from 'Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month' by Deborah Taylor-Hough)

2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 cups cooked turkey meat, chopped or shredded
2 cups ricotta cheese
Ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups tomato sauce, or 2 jars (15-oz.) spaghetti sauce
16 manicotti shells, cooked until just barely softened

In large skillet, brown turkey in butter for 2 - 4 minutes. Mix turkey with ricotta cheese. Add pepper, Parmesan, green onions, parsley, rosemary and egg; mix well. Cover bottom of baking pans with one cup tomato sauce. **Stuff manicotti shells with turkey mixture; place in baking pan(s) and cover with remaining sauce. Cover baking pan(s) with foil; label and freeze.

To Serve:
Thaw. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese over manicotti. Baked uncovered at 350 F for 35 minutes, or until bubbly and hot in the center.

**I've found that cooling the manicotti shells completely before stuffing them (just run the cooked noodles under cold water in a colander), makes the stuffing process much easier than attempting to stuff hot noodles. I've also discovered that a long handled infant feeding spoon (with a tiny bowl) works perfectly for stuffing manicotti shells.

For more information on cooking ahead for the freezer, consider joining the Frozen Assets Email Discussion -- share tips, recipes and encouragement with cooks from around the world. Discover the time and money-saving benefits of freezer-meal cooking.

For details, archives, and subscribing information, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/frozen-assets/

Deborah Taylor-Hough (work-at-home mother of three) is the author of the popular book, 'Frozen Assets: How to cook for a day and eat for a month', and the recently released 'Frugal Living For Dummies(r)' (Wiley Publishing, 2003). For more articles and free e-newsletters, visit Debi online at: http://hometown.aol.com/dsimple/


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