Originally created 11/27/02

Turn leftover turkey into a wonderful retro dish



What's Thanksgiving without leftovers? You can turn your bounty into a delicious Hot Turkey Salad.

I've had this recipe on file for years, and you may have had similar hot chicken or turkey salads in the 1970s. This is the turkey, celery, mayonnaise and cheese casserole topped with crushed potato chips that so often appeared at church suppers and ladies luncheons way back when.

The combination still satisfies, and makes wonderful use of leftover turkey or chicken.

I wish I could say that I've lightened up the dish, but frankly, only real potato chips for the topping will do. It takes four cups of chips to make one cup of crushed chips for the topping, so the dish is hopelessly stuck in the higher-fat category. Reduced-fat mayonnaise and less cheese barely makes a dent in the fat count here.

Fat calories aside, the casserole is a great excuse to dice and freeze leftover turkey to pull out in December for a satisfyingly simple meal for home or a casual gathering.

The casserole calls for a lot of diced celery, but you can decrease the amount based on your family's tastes. My children prefer much less celery than called for in the recipe, and I've found that sauteing the celery before adding it to the casserole will sometimes make it more palatable for young children. The celery also can be omitted altogether.

Serve your Hot Turkey Salad with some warm dinner rolls and cooked green peas for a retro way to revisit the rewards of your Thanksgiving meal.

HOT TURKEY SALAD

3 cups cooked, diced turkey

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups chopped celery

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup crushed potato chips (4 cups of potato chips make 1 cup crushed)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place diced turkey in a medium bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the celery, almonds, mayonnaise and cheese and stir well to combine. Spread the turkey salad in a 9-by-9-inch glass baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and top with the crushed potato chips. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 412 calories, 26.4 grams protein, 14.2 grams carbohydrates, 2.4 grams fiber, 28.1 grams fat, 5.8 grams saturated fat, 81 milligrams cholesterol, 641 milligrams sodium.

Nutrition analysis provided by Fran Frye, a licensed and registered dietitian of the Augusta District Dietetic Association. Send questions via e-mail to augustadietitian@yahoo.com.

COMING Dec. 4: Creamy Black Bean Dip

See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on WJBF-TV (Channel 6).

Write to Karin Calloway in care of The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903. Or send e-mail to karin.calloway@comcast.net. You can find previous Quick Cooking recipes through the online archive at augustachronicle.com/karin.