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South-of-the-border spin on turkey leftovers

November 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Thanksgiving is a holiday of tradition. We love making those family favorites, but eating leftovers the same old way, day after day, can get a little tedious.

So, consider giving Thanksgiving leftovers a south-of-the-border spin.

Like his mother, chef Alex Padilla of Taberna Mexicana in Beverly Hills doesn't throw anything away.

In his quesadilla, he reuses Thanksgiving turkey, along with adding festive flavors like mango salsa and pico de gallo. Padilla suggests using any veggies you may have on hand and replacing black beans for cheese if you're cutting back.

If you have a panini maker, it's a fun way to heat and eat.

Many make turkey soup. But Padilla's recipe consists of a little bit of fennel, garlic, bay leaves, wild rice, onions, mashed potatoes, turkey and bread. Putting the mash potatoes in the soup thickens the broth.

And don't throw out those leftover rolls. Padilla cubes them for croutons to top the soup. You can also freeze them for later.

Padilla's perfectly portioned version of shepherd's pie includes turkey gravy, turkey, carrots and mushrooms, topped with mashed potatoes.

Bake it for about 10 minutes and you're good to go.

Finally, if you're looking to cut carbs, you can make a light and luscious lettuce cup.

Padilla made the turkey salad with apple, pecans, a little bit of wild rice, a little bit of mayonnaise, chipotle and Dijon.

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