Florentine dish is tasty alternative for the bird

  • Follow Karin Calloway

Thanksgiving dinner is notorious for taking all day to prepare, only to be consumed in a matter of minutes. The leftovers, on the other hand, seem to go on forever. After a few days of turkey sandwiches, you'll be ready for a change of pace, and this Turkey Florentine Bake is a quick and easy, one-dish meal with just five ingredients.

Turkey Florentine Bake is a quick and easy, one-dish meal with just five ingredients.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Turkey Florentine Bake is a quick and easy, one-dish meal with just five ingredients.

A jar of Alfredo sauce makes this recipe a snap to prepare, but if you'd rather cook from scratch, use a homemade white sauce. Melt two tablespoons of butter or margarine in a saucepan. When the butter is bubbly, whisk in two tablespoons of flour and whisk for 1 minute. Then, whisk in two cups of milk and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

You also can change the recipe and replace the Alfredo with one can of cream of chicken soup and a cup of sour cream.

If using defrosted spinach, squeeze out as much water as possible. Place the spinach on a salad plate, top with another salad plate (both facing up) and then squeeze it over the sink.

TURKEY FLORENTINE BAKE

1 pound uncooked bow tie, penne, rigatoni or corkscrew pasta

3 cups cooked, cubed turkey breast meat

1 16-ounce jar Alfredo sauce

1/4 cup water

1 9-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed well

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Set oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta until al dente, about 2-3 minutes less than package directions (the pasta will cook more in the oven). Drain. Place in a large bowl and add the turkey.

In another bowl, combine the Alfredo sauce, spinach, and half of the mozzarella. Add 1/4 cup water to the jar of sauce, seal and shake to get all of the sauce out of the jar. Add this to the bowl and stir until the spinach is completely incorporated. Add to the pasta and turkey and then spread in a baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 30-40 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Yields 6 servings.

GROCERIES

1 pound penne, rigatoni or corkscrew pasta

1 16-ounce jar Alfredo sauce

1 9-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed well

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Leftovers: 3 cups cooked, cubed turkey breast meat (Note: The meat of 1 rotisserie chicken can substitute)

A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS

Need more ideas on what to do with leftovers? Here are some suggestions from Food page readers.

Pat Curry, who is new to the Augusta area, sent a recipe for a gourmet turkey wild rice pumpkin soup. I tried it at home. Although it requires a bit of work, it is absolutely delicious.

Deborah Davis sent her sister Patsy's recipe for Ham Jumble; Debra Thompson, a recipe for cabbage stew; and Barbara Lamm Smith , her recipe for turkey casserole.

PAT CURRY'S TURKEY WILD RICE PUMPKIN SOUP

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup sliced celery

1 can (16 ounce) solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

4 cups turkey or chicken broth

2 cups (10 oz.) cubed cooked turkey

2 cups cooked wild rice

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Melt margarine or butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and celery until crisp-tender, about five minutes. Add pumpkin and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer five minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to serving temperature.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

PATSY'S HAM JUMBLE

Submitted by Deborah Davis

2 large onions chopped

1 large green onion chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

3 tablespoons oil

1 cup rice

2 cups cooked cubed ham (or chicken or turkey or shrimp or a combo)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Hot pepper sauce to taste

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes or 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

3/4 cup chicken broth

In a 12-inch skillet cook onion, peppers and garlic in hot oil for 5 minutes. Add rice and meat; stir for about a minute until rice is coated with oil. Add spices, tomatoes and broth. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Freezes well. To reheat, thaw and add more broth if necessary and reheat in skillet or microwave.

DEBRA THOMPSON'S CABBAGE STEW

1 large head of cabbage

1 32-ounce box of chicken broth (low sodium)

2 large cans of diced tomatoes

2 or 3 regular cans of great northern beans

3 cups leftover diced turkey or the meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, pulled off the bone and shredded

Salt and pepper, to taste

Onion (optional)

Cut up cabbage. Mix all ingredients in pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until cabbage is done. May serve over wild or brown rice.

BARBARA LAMM SMITH'S TURKEY CASSEROLE

11/2 cups diced leftover turkey

4 cups leftover corn bread dressing

1 can of cream of celery soup

1/2 can of water

1 boiled egg chopped (optional)

1 small jar pimentos

Set oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients, spread in the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling. Serve with cranberry sauce and a green salad.

Reach Karin Calloway at karin.calloway@comcast.net. See her prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on television station WJBF (Channel 6). Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karincalloway.

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