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If you have leftovers (and many will) ...

Here I am with my annual recipes for leftover turkey, this time focusing on casseroles.

Even though I always buy the biggest turkey I can find, I usually do not have all that much meat left over from the big feast. I always give guests “care packages” to take home so they can enjoy leftovers too.

For myself, my main craving after the feast is a hot, open-faced turkey sandwich with gravy poured over it. You don’t need a recipe for that. And the carcass traditionally gets used for a pot of turkey soup with dumplings. But every once in a while I make a turkey casserole, which is probably one of life’s greatest comfort foods.

You can even make some simple turkey fajitas by stir-frying some of the turkey that’s been cut into strips, along with some sliced onions and bell peppers, a little garlic and your favorite seasonings. Fill some warm, blistered tortillas and fold over.

May I take this opportunity to tell every one of you that I am thankful we are such good kitchen buddies!

Turkey vegetable casserole

Crust: 2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese 2/3 cup shortening 1 tablespoon cold butter 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Filling: 1 cup cubed peeled potatoes 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots 1/3 cup chopped celery 1/4 cup chopped onion (I prefer a little more) 1 tablespoon butter 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed 1 cup chicken or turkey broth 2 tablespoons flour 1/2 cup milk 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. For crust: In a food processor, combine flour and salt; cover and pulse to blend. Add cheese; pulse until fine crumbs form. Add shortening and butter; pulse until coarse crumbs form. While processing, gradually add water until dough forms a ball. Divide dough in half with one ball slightly larger than the other; wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for about half an hour.

  2. For filling: In a large saucepan, saute the potatoes, carrots, celery and onion in butter for 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in broth; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Combine flour and milk until smooth; gradually add to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the remaining ingredients; simmer 5 minutes longer.

  3. To assemble: Preheat oven to 350. Roll out larger pastry ball to fit a 9-inch pie plate; transfer to pie plate. Trim pastry even with edge. Pour hot turkey filling into crust. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie; place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top or make decorative cutouts in pastry. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown. Makes 6 servings.

Broccoli turkey supreme A quick and easy recipe from Taste of Home.

4 cups cubed, cooked turkey breast 1 can (10 3/4-oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted 4 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained 1 package (6.9-oz.) chicken-flavored rice mix 1 1/3 cups milk 1 cup chicken or turkey broth 1 cup chopped celery 1 can (8-oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained 3/4 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup chopped onion

  1. Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Transfer to a greased 3-quart baking dish.

  2. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Uncover; bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until rice is tender. Makes 8 servings.

Corn bread turkey casserole Makes enough for the freezer, or reduce recipe.

3 packages (6-oz. each) crushed corn bread stuffing mix 11 cups cubed cooked turkey 2 cups (8-oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese 2 cans (10 3/4-oz. each) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted 2 cans (10 3/4-oz. each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted 1 can (10 3/4-oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted 1 can (12-oz.) evaporated milk 1 1/2 cups (6-oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Add turkey and Cheddar cheese. In a large bowl, combine soups and milk. In three greased 13-by-9-inch baking dishes, layer each with 1 cup turkey mixture and 1 cup soup mixture. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with Swiss cheese.

  2. Cover and freeze two casseroles for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

  3. To use frozen casseroles: Thaw each in the refrigerator. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Makes 3 casseroles at 8 servings each.

Crescent roll turkey casserole 1/2 cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules 1/8 teaspoon pepper 3/4 cup milk 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey breast 1 package (10-oz.) frozen mixed vegetables 1 tube (4-oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls

  1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large saucepan, combine the mayonnaise, flour, bouillon and pepper. Gradually add milk; stir until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add turkey and vegetables; heat through. Spoon into a greased 8-inch square baking dish.

  2. Unroll crescent dough and separate into two rectangles. Seal perforations. Place over turkey mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 4 servings.

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