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Thanksgiving: Round two

By Staff | Nov 21, 2014

-Farm News photos by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby FROM LEFT ARE, Gretta Irwin, executive director of the Iowa Turkey Federation; Katie Olthoff, communications specialist; and Sheila Larson, director of membership services. The three said they enjoy showing new ways home cooks can incorporate turkey into their everyday meals.




AMES – For anyone lucky enough to have leftovers after Thanksgiving, the feast doesn’t have to end. In fact, there are an array of ways to enjoy turkey at its best when creative “planned overs” are on the menu.

“Turkey is so versatile and can take on a variety of flavors, from Latin to Asian,” said Gretta Irwin, executive director of the Iowa Turkey Federation. “We love to show new, exciting ways home cooks can incorporate turkey into their everyday meals.”

GRETTA IRWIN with the Iowa Turkey Federation, said cooks can use just about any leftover vegetables in this recipe, including radishes, celery or cabbage. “I love how the sesame oil adds a deep rich flavor to the rice,” she said.

That’s why Irwin and her team at ITF – Sheila Larson, director of membership services; and Katie Olthoff, communications specialist – are preparing to debut a new turkey cookbook, complete with contemporary recipes that appeal to a variety of tastes.

“This cookbook will span generations of cooking styles,” said Irwin, who has worked with ITF for 21 years.

Irwin juggles a busy work schedule and the activities of her three teen-aged children. She prefers fast, easy recipes that offer plenty of nutrition and can include extra vegetables, like her turkey fried rice.

She said she relies on go-to recipes like Sally’s simple turkey seasoning, which makes cooking a turkey breast in the slow cooker a snap.

Larson, who has worked with ITF for 10 years, is married to a third-generation turkey producer. She likes to make meal plans two weeks in advance for her husband, Chad, and their two children, ages 8 and 5.

She is focused on gluten-free dishes, like her turkey and cream cheese taquitos, since some of her family members have coeliac disease.

“Turkey is a big part of our meals,” said Larson, who gets together with her sister-in-law monthly in the winter to make freezer meals.

In the warmer months, Larson makes turkey poppers for appetizers that can be served when they go to the lake in the summer or head to Ames in the fall to tailgate at Iowa State University football games.

“We’ve literally made hundreds of these poppers at a time,” said Larson, who often makes and freezes them ahead of time.

Olthoff, who is also married to a turkey producer and is raising two children, describes herself as more a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” kind of cook.

Her kitchen staples include turkey luncheon meat, as well as turkey sausage, which can be used in spaghetti sauce and quiche.

After Thanksgiving, she uses leftover turkey to make her signature Mexican turkey lasagna.

“I’m not a sophisticated chef,” Olthoff said, “but turkey helps me get the job done.”

Olthoff, blogs at “On the Banks of Squaw Creek,” and recently published the children’s book “My Family’s Family” in conjunction with the ITF. “We hope these turkey recipes inspire people.”

For more recipe ideas, log onto www.iowaturkey.org.

Turkey poppers

1 boneless turkey breast

1 bottle Italian dressing

1 jar pickled sliced jalapeno peppers

1 8-ounce block of Monterey jack cheese

1 package of turkey bacon


Slice turkey breast into 3/4-inch cubes. Place turkey in a plastic zipper bag or glass pan.

Pour dressing over turkey and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours.

Drain jalapeno peppers and place on a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Slice cheese into 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch squares. Slice bacon in half.

Assemble by layering a turkey cube, 1 jalapeno pepper and cheese. Wrap with bacon and pin with a toothpick.

Cook on a medium grill or broil in an oven. Serve them in a slow cooker to keep them warm.

Sally’s simple

turkey seasoning

1 bone-in turkey breast

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Rub outside of turkey breast with butter. Mix together dry seasonings and rub on the turkey.

Wrap tin foil around the turkey like a blanket, over and under it.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 2 to 2.5 hours, or until the turkey reaches 170 degrees.

One can also prepare the turkey in a slow cooker on low for 4 to 5 hours, or until the turkey reaches 170 degrees.

Terrific turkey fried rice

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 cup broccoli, chopped

1/2cup cauliflower, chopped

1/2 cup green onions, sliced thin

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can peas and carrots, drained

1 cup cubed or shredded cooked turkey

4 cups brown rice, prepared

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add broccoli, cauliflower, green onions and mushrooms.

Stir-fry until the veggies are tender. Push vegetables to the side. Melt butter into pan.

Pour in eggs and cook until set. Using your spatula, stir-fry into large pieces.

Add garlic, peas and carrots, rice, turkey, rice, pepper, sesame oil and soy sauce to skillet.

Mix well until all is warmed.

Serves four.

Tubby turkey and cream cheese taquitos

6 cups cooked shredded turkey

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup sour cream

1 cup salsa

3 cups shredded Mexican cheese

1 1/2 cups chopped baby spinach, stems removed

Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

20 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas

Vegetable or olive oil for frying

Sides: Sour cream, guacamole, salsa, taco sauce or ranch dressing

In a large bowl, mix together the turkey, cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, cheese and spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Working with one tortilla at a time, add two heaping tablespoons of the turkey mixture off center and spread out like a log.

Roll up and set seam side down on a platter. Repeat until all the tortillas are filled and rolled.

Add enough oil to a large skillet to cover the bottom.

Heat on medium to medium-low heat, cook tortillas in batches, turning to brown each side. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Serve with your choice of sides.

Makes about 20 taquitos.

Mexican turkey lasagna

Cooking spray

3 cups cooked turkey, shredded or cubed

1 small container sour cream

2 cups shredded cheese, divided (Olthoff said she uses Cheddar, Monterey Jack or a mixture)

1/2 cup salsa

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

1 extra-large flour tortilla (or a few smaller ones); can also use corn tortillas for more texture

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine turkey, sour cream, most of the cheese, salsa, chiles and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.

Tear tortilla into pieces and arrange in the bottom of the pan.

Layer half the turkey mixture on top of the tortillas. Repeat another layer of tortillas and filling.

Top with remaining cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Let sit for 5 minutes and serve.

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