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.

Terrific salads from turkey leftovers & beautiful berries

Berry beautiful blackberry turkey salad

Tired of the same old, same old post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches?

Toss the bread and fat-laden mayo aside for these new takes on turkey salad. The secret to these easy recipes is berries. 

Fresh berries add a burst of flavor, a bit of texture and, of course, up the health quotient.

This Blackberry Rice Turkey Salad from Driscoll’s is a quick and easy way to give your leftover turkey a makeover. Aside from being tasty, blackberries serve double-duty by adding dietary fiber, heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, Vitamin C and antioxidants to your diet.

Another wonderful menu
option any day of the year is this Raspberry Turkey Salad recipe from Driscoll's. Snap peas add texture and crunch while raspberries add color (and a healthy dose of antioxidants) to this light and fresh salad.

Driscoll’s is offering $.50 coupons through their website www.Driscolls.com.  Just click and print!

Blackberry Rice Turkey Salad

Prep time: 10 minute plus rice cook-time
Makes 4 servings


Rice Salad

1             package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Blackberries
3             cups whole grain brown and wild rice, cooked
1 1/2       cups turkey, cooked and cubed
1             cup celery, thinly sliced
3/4          cup radish, thinly sliced
1/3          cup glazed walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/3          cup olive oil
1             teaspoon Dijon mustard, coarse ground
2             tablespoons lemon juice
1             teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2          teaspoon salt
1/4          teaspoon black pepper

For the rice salad, mix blackberries, rice, turkey, celery, radishes and walnuts in medium bowl.
Stir in just enough vinaigrette to moisten salad.  Serve or refrigerate until serving.

For the vinaigrette, whisk olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, thyme leaves, salt and pepper in a bowl until blended. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Nutrition Per Serving: 497 calories, 25.63g total fat, 4.00g saturated fat, 20.23g protein, 47.18g carbohydrate, 40.42mg cholesterol, 4.89g fiber, 434mg sodium

Raspberry Turkey Salad Crisp and delicious raspberry turkey salad
Prep time: 10 min
Makes: 2 servings

1   package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Raspberries, rinsed and divided
¼  cup balsamic vinegar
½  teaspoon sugar
¼  teaspoon black pepper, coarse and ground
4   ounces field greens
4   ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and blanched
6   ounces turkey strips, cooked and sliced
2   ounces ricotta salata cheese, grated
Purée 1/2 cup of the raspberries, balsamic vinegar, and sugar in a food processor or blender; strain. Stir in black pepper.
Combine field greens, remaining 1 cup raspberries, sugar snap peas and turkey in medium bowl.

Drizzle dressing over salad. Toss until evenly coated. Divide between two serving plates. Sprinkle with cheese.

Nutrition Per Serving: 302 calories, 7.73g total fat, 3.50g saturated fat, 31.97g protein, 23.74g carbohydrate, 78.36mg cholesterol, 8.20g fiber, 137mg sodium

Soup's on: what to do with the leftover roast

Bean soup for a chilly day

Recently we had a delicious and meaty pork roast for dinner, but with lots of pork left I needed to find a fresh way to serve up leftovers. Pulled pork sandwiches are terrific, but so is a hearty soup.

With the weather turning cooler, a perfect solution for meat leftovers is a stockpot full of comforting and healthy soup. This Two Bean Soup is nutritious and easy to make, has a little kick to it, and takes care of those leftovers.

I keep beans - dried and canned -as well as chicken stock as a pantry staple, so there is no extra shopping to be done.  I used leftover pork as a base for my soup, but you could easily substitute leftover chicken or roast beef. 

If all the ingredients aren't on hand, substitutions are fine. 

No beans? Use a combination of vegetables - carrots, peas, corn, diced potatoes, coarsely chopped tomatoes, celery, string beans, etc.  All of these ingredients can be bought fresh in the farmers market and frozen or canned for later use also.

No herbs of Provence? Substitute cilantro or basil. You can grow these herbs all year around in a sunny kitchen window garden too. A splash of Tabasco or a pinch of cayenne pepper can add a bit of heat in the absence of fresh Poblano chiles.


Two Bean Soup

Serves 6


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 Poblano chile, cored and diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 onion, diced

1 teaspoon herbs of Provence

1 cup of  pork, cubed

6 cups chicken stock

1 16-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 16-ounce can Canellini beans, rinsed and drained


In a stockpot, saute chile, garlic, and onion until soft. Add herbs, pork, chicken stock and kidney beans. Simmer for at least two hours to marry the flavors. 

Serve with French bread croutons.

Holiday leftovers don't have to be boring

Love them or hate them, something has to be done to get rid of leftovers.

There are only so many turkey sandwiches one can eat.  And what to do the stuffing and cranberry sauce?  Of course, no one wants to toss a chunk of fois gras de canard when it costs roughly $35 for less than 7 ounces.

So what's a foodie to do?


  • Leftover smoked salmon and lumpfish caviar is perfect for a fabulous brunch omelette. Incorporate the salmon in the egg mixture, then garnish with a dollop of caviar and sour cream. Serve with toast points and mixed greens.  Quick, easy and fabulous.
  • Tired of the turkey sandwich.  Whip up these cute canapes by cutting bread into small rounds or squares, spread with mayonnaise or garlic aioli, top with a dollop of stuffing, bite-size pieces of turkey, a bit of cranberry or spiced apple. Great for kids -- big and small. 
  • If you still have turkey left,remove it from the bone, wrap it tightly and put it in the freezer for soups, tacos, pot pies and casseroles.
  • Toss the turkey carcass into a pot with chunks of carrot, onion, celery, bay leaves and simmer into a rich stock for use in soups and sauces.
  • No time to make stock? Tightly wrap and toss the turkey carcass into the freezer to make stock later this month.
  • Did someone say turkey tacos or enchiladas?  Shred turkey, sautee with diced garlic, onion, cumin and chili (use prepared taco seasoning if you're in a hurry).  Fill warmed flour or corn tortillas with turkey, chiffonaded lettuce, pico de gallo, and grated cheese. 
  • Left over fois gras makes a very rich spread for panini or use it in decadent baked eggs.

In Praise of a Messy Sandwich

It's Saturday afternoon and there's no better time than right now for a Dagwood -- the ultimate stacked and messy sandwich.

I haven't been to the grocery, so it's catch as catch can.  I have ciabatta, a wedge of tangy rustic camembert, a smattering of goat cheese, garden fresh tomatoes, romaine, avocado and red onion. Despite what the doctor said about my cholesterol, tomorrow is another day.

I stacked it high, plopped it on the grill pan and gave it a good toasting, then dug in. No photo opportunity.  It was too gooey and too good to wait on styling and make-up.

A finger-licking feast, if I do say so myself.