Quick and Easy Turkey Dishes Answer the Holiday Rush

December 1, 2001


CONTACT: Sherrie Rosenblatt
Director of Public Relations
202-898-0100 x233
E-mail: srosenblatt@turkeyfed.org


After the traditional golden roasted turkey presentation at Thanksgiving, turn the tables and offer Italian cuisine for quick and easy entertaining or family dinners. Turkey combines well with the mild flavors of polenta and pasta and are time-honored combinations that have enriched the Italian diet for several centuries. Recipes that utilize these convenient ingredients and are quick and easy to prepare are the answer to busy cook's prayers.

When planning meals for busy December dinners, leftovers from the Thanksgiving turkey can be of great assistance. Sherrie Rosenblatt, Director of Public Relations for the National Turkey Federation, suggests purchasing one pound of turkey per person for the Thanksgiving feast, then freezing leftovers for use throughout the holidays. A presentation of leftover turkey combined with mushrooms and served over soft polenta is featured in the Polenta with Turkey and Mushrooms recipe.

Polenta is known in many regions of the United States as cornmeal. Just as cornmeal is a staple in our Southern and Midwestern diets, cornmeal is an Italian staple in the Veneto region in Northern Italy and is enjoyed in most regions. Cornmeal was introduced to Italians by way of the ports as the explorers returned from the New World. Now, several hundred years later, the Italian version of cornmeal is praised as it has made its way back across the Atlantic.

Quick and Easy

Mary Beth Clark, CCP, chef and owner of The International Cooking School Of Italian Food And Wine based in Bologna, Italy, reveals polenta has "traditionally been associated with home cooking, but in recent years has been elevated to Michelin-Star restaurant heights. The flavors of turkey and polenta marry quite well and both foods represent a celebration of the autumn harvest that is perfect for the holidays." The addition of tarragon and mushrooms to the cooked turkey creates a full and robust taste that is perfect for a warm and satisfying appetizer or main dish during the winter holiday season.

Leftover turkey from the holiday feast can also be combined with pasta to yield the Colorful Turkey Pasta Salad. The addition of crisp celery, scallions and herbs gives the turkey salad a lively and refreshing flavor. Substituting reduced-calorie mayonnaise is an effective way to shave a few calories from the holiday season.

Another quick and easy recipe that is considerate of the family budget is the hearty Country Style Italian Turkey Sausage with Pasta. Italian cuisine is the most popular of all ethnic cuisines and this recipe represents an informal main dish that is perfect for a family dinner or for casual entertaining. Italian turkey sausage is a reasonably priced protein source and is available in the pre-packaged smoked or fresh meat sections of supermarkets. Italian turkey sausage is available with hot, sweet or with mild seasonings, depending on the diner's preferences for spice and heat.

Turkey with an Italian twist is a tasty, convenient answer to menu planning during the busy holiday season. Additional holiday recipes that feature popular quick and easy fare can be found on the National Turkey Federation Web site at www.eatturkey.com.




The National Turkey Federation is the advocate for all segments of the U.S. turkey industry. It's award winning web site www.eatturkey.com offers successful on-line professional chef cooking demonstrations and a searchable database of more than 300 recipes that exhibit turkey's versatility as a profit-building item, which enhances menus in all meal occasions during every season of the year. Operators can also go to www.eatturkey.com to sign up for the RecipE-mail program to register and receive unique recipe ideas that add flair to holiday and special occasion menus year-round.