The Food Guy, Steven Keith Eating his way through the state, plate by plate

More Turkey Leftovers? More Recipe Ideas!

We’re still in full “Thanksgiving Leftover Mode” at our house, with the boys requesting hot open-faced turkey sandwiches for both lunch AND dinner yesterday.

Happy to oblige with that deliciousness – no arguments here.

But if you’re looking for something a bit more creative, here’s a recipe that brings turkey, pumpkin and cranberries together in an unusual pasta dish.

The combination sounds a bit odd, I know. But pumpkin pairs well with savory flavors so the garlic, scallions and fennel called for here shouldn’t scare you. Throwing cranberries into the mix admittedly throws me a bit but, hey, live a little!


Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce, Turkey & Cranberries


1 lb. bowtie or any medium pasta shape, uncooked

1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil

1 1/2 cup sliced scallions, white and green parts

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. fennel seeds

1 12-oz. can evaporated skim milk

1/2 cup low-fat milk

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 15-oz. can solid pack pumpkin

3 cups chopped cooked turkey

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

6 fresh fennel sprigs (optional)


  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add scallions, garlic and fennel seeds; sauté 3 minutes.
  2. Combine milk, flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Stir into saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat; boil until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in pumpkin, turkey and cranberries until well blended. Reduce heat to medium; cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  3. Drain pasta. Place in large bowl. Add pumpkin sauce and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. (Garnished with sprigs of fresh fennel, if desired.)
    Recipe courtesy

Give Turkey Leftovers a Little Mediterranean Flair

We enjoyed a super-traditional Thanksgiving menu at our house yesterday featuring a bounty of family-favorite recipes. A simple herb-roasted turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, sautéed Brussels sprouts, sweet potato casserole and rolls. 

And I’m sure we’ll scarf down our fair share of traditional leftovers today. 

But come tomorrow, I’m thinking we’ll be ready to throw a few new flavors into the turkey-leftover equation. 

Check out this recipe for a lively turkey casserole that uses artichokes, roasted red peppers and Kalamata olives to give your Thanksgiving bird some Mediterranean flair! 


Mediterranean Turkey Casserole
1 lb. penne pasta or any medium pasta shape, uncooked

1 14 1/2-oz. can low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup skim milk

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups chopped cooked turkey

1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 7 1/2-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

9 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. black pepper

Vegetable oil cooking spray

2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Prepare noodles according to package directions; drain. Stir the broth, milk, salt and cornstarch together in a large pot or Dutch oven until the cornstarch is dissolved. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in noodles, turkey, artichoke hearts, red peppers, olives, mozzarella cheese, wine, lemon juice and pepper.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon noodle mixture into dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
    Recipe courtesy

Let’s Talk Turkey, Shall We?

We’re months removed from Thanksgiving, but I’ve got turkey on the brain this week.

Roasting a big bird is something most people only do once or twice a year for special occasions. I don’t blame ’em. They’re not cheap, they eat up tons of fridge space, they’re messy to prepare, they take time. We always love the finished product in November, it’s just not a commitment we’re prepared to make on a regular basis.

Which is why I’m now a breast man!

The wife brought home a nice turkey breast this week and said, as she often does, “You need to do something with this.” So I roasted that bad boy and rocked her world.

I don’t know why we don’t go this route more often. You get the same look, feel and taste of a big Butterball — just in a tidier “Mini Me”-like package. And they’re less expensive, easier to store and a breeze to prepare …

  1. After thawing appropriately, just remove the turkey breast from the package, rinse and pat dry. (There’s no messy neck, giblets or hardware inside the cavity to deal with — just a package of pre-made gravy that you should IMMEDIATELY throw away. It’s pretty gross, so you’re better off making your own with pan drippings or just using the turkey’s natural juices as an au jus.)
  2. Season the skin with a mixture of your favorite herbs and spices. (I use fresh for Thanksgiving, but gave this one a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper and various dried herbs. I also painstakingly smear herbed butter between the meat and skin of our annual Thanksgiving bird, but skipped that step here. The breast is moist enough and this is all about keeping it simple.)
  3. Place the breast in a Dutch oven or small roasting pan, throw in some chopped onions, carrots and/or celery for aroma and flavor, then cover and slow-roast in the oven on low heat all darn day. (Or, for quicker results, follow the times and temperatures listed on the package.)

That’s all there is to it, and this thing was RIDICULOUS! So juicy, tender and flavorful. We lapped it up that night with rice pilaf and roasted asparagus. And the next night in a turkey curry casserole. And the next day in toasted turkey melt sandwiches.

Thanksgiving, Schmanksgiving.

I recently made a mess of (as in “way too many”) braised short ribs for a family dinner. We loved them the first night and enjoyed leftovers the next. But by Day 3 my 8-year-old was, like, “Again with the short ribs?”

Point taken.

So I gave them a break that night, but it was only a temporary reprieve.

The next day I cubed those leftover short ribs and placed them in a casserole dish with their remaining sauce, a thick blend of chopped onions, celery, tomatoes, herbs, red wine and such – reduced to perfection. Then I sliced in carrots,  poured extra beef broth over the whole mixture and let in simmer stovetop for a few hours.

That night, I steamed some rice and ladled my “new” beef stew over top of it for dinner.

“This is awesome!” they said, asking for seconds. (Insert sinister laugh here.)