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Roast beef and turkey redux: what to do with the leftovers

Before: A lovely rib roast

It's the season of leftovers.  From Thanksgiving to New Year's, there are big dinners and that means lots of food to re-heat or re-invent.

Re-heating leftovers is easy, but not particularly interesting. In fact, after about one re-heat, the entire food situation begins to look desperately boring.

Whether you cooked a turkey or a rib roast like the one I served Christmas Day, there are lots of opportunities for delectable re-invented meals that go beyond the usual sandwiches.

Soups and stews are go-to recipes for leftover meats (and I always recommend cubing some of that turkey or beef and freezing it for soups or stews later). You can also use cubed or diced meats for a hearty Cobb-style salad as a quick meal.

A Mexican-style lasagna of layered flour tortillas, diced turkey, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and a roasted poblano chili sauce spices up an ordinary after the holidays meal.  This dish makes a fantastic one dish brunch or dinner meal served with a green salad garnished with avocado.After: Beef Pot Pie

With a homemade pie crust (or store bought, if you must) and some chopped root vegetables and mushrooms, leftover beef or turkey can be transformed into a savory and meaty pot pie just like Mom used to make - and infinitely better than a frozen version.



serves 6


1 cup diced beef or turkey

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 cup diced carrots

1  medium potato, diced

1 medium sweet potato, diced

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup diced onions

1 cup beef or chicken stock

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Prepared pie crust or puff pastry


In a large casserole, mix diced meat, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, peas and onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix stock with cornstarch and pour over the meat and vegetable casserole.  Cover with prepared pie crust and vent with three vertical slashes.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until crust is browned and sauce has thickened and bubbly.


serves six


6 flour tortillas

1 cup diced turkey

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup diced or canned tomatoes (drained)

1/2 cup diced green onions

1 cup roasted poblano sauce


for the poblano sauce

1 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 poblano pepper, roasted and seeded

salt and pepper to taste

In a small sauce pan, combine milk and butter. Stirring continuously, bring the milk and butter to almost boiling. Whisk in the cornstarch and continue stirring until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat and pour into a blender. Add roasted poblano, then pulse until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium-sized casserole, spread a thin layer of poblano sauce, then top with strips of tortilla (each tortilla can be cut lengthwise in quarters to make serving easier), followed by diced chicken, tomatoes, onions and grated cheese. Repeat the layering process, ending with grated cheese.

Bake in oven, preheated to 350 degrees, for 45 minutes or until bubble and cheese is melted. Allow to sit for five minutes before cutting and serving.


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