How about using leftover Thanksgiving turkey between layers of lasagna noodles? And we’ll still have the usual cheese laden layers of ricotta and plenty of mozzarella! It’s lasagna, even though we’re using stuffing and sweet potatoes and cranberries with the turkey. And of course cheese must happen!
My P.S. (Pasta Supplier/hubby) was skeptical as I described my lasagna idea but even he decided it sounded like it might work well. We had everything leftover from a turkey we’d roasted a few days earlier, complete with most of the trimmings. All I needed was some stuffing, ricotta and the mozzarella which my P.S. remembered to bring home the next day.
I started by roasting a sweet potato then making a fresh batch of stuffing. I thought this would be a simple dish to assemble and bake. Since it was a Sunday, I told P.S. we’d have dinner early, about 4 pm. He was pleased and disappeared down into his Batcave to do whatever men do in Batcaves. I bustled around and was surprised it was a full 2 hours before my lasagna went into the oven. It’s not a quick meal, unfortunately.
As I assembled the ingredients on the counter so I could eventually layer them in my lasagna pan, I started by sautéing celery and onion in a little butter for a few minutes. Then using the trick I’d recently learned, I poured the broth into the skillet and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to get the flavors all through the broth. When the broth was done I just had to pour it over the bread cubes, add some sage, salt and pepper, and toss.
I put the stuffing into a sprayed baking dish and put it into the 350°F oven where the sweet potato was already baking.
The sweet potato was done first and I let the halves cool until I could handle them. I peeled the skins off easily after roasting and diced them into a container.
I cubed up about 4 cups of roasted turkey, 3 cups dark and 1 cup light meat. That was the last of the turkey we’d been eating for almost a week, and it was a relief to finally move on to other meat!
There was about 4 cups of giblet gravy leftover and I wanted about 6 cups. I added 2 cups of chicken broth to the gravy and heated it in a skillet until it was all smooth and liquefied.
I had a can left of my homemade cranberries jelled in a can. I diced it into a bowl and set it with my growing pile of ingredients. I put 2 cups of ricotta into a bowl along with one egg and some garlic powder, salt and pepper. I added a few tablespoons of dried parsley and stirred well.
My water was boiling and I put the box of lasagna noodles in to cook. When they were al dente I drained and rinsed them to keep them from sticking together. I was finally ready to layer! I spread a layer of gravy over the bottom of the lasagna pan. I put a layer of noodles down next. Winging It, I spread half of the chopped turkey next, followed by half of the diced sweet potatoes.
Deciding cranberries needed to be close to the turkey, I layered half of them into the pan next. I poured some gravy over it all, then layered half of the stuffing in teaspoon sized amounts all over the top.
Next I spread half of the ricotta mixture, then sprinkled half of the Parmesan over the top.
I sprinkled a generous cup of mozzarella over the top and started all over with the second set of layers. Putting a final layer of lasagna noodles over the top, and a good cup of mozzarella, my lasagna was built! I poured the last of the gravy over it and covered the pan with foil.
I baked the turkey lasagna for 45 minutes at 375°F covered. I removed the foil and baked it another 45 minutes. The cheese on top wasn’t quite as golden as I wanted so I broiled it for a couple of minutes to make it pretty.
We let the lasagna rest for 20 minutes before serving. It could have sat longer, but we were eager to try it. The smells were like a full Thanksgiving meal all over again and we were hungry!
As we ate we commented on how well the ingredients worked together with the pasta and cheeses. The cranberries were a nice pop of tangy fruit and the sweet potatoes gave it a little sweetness in random bites. It really was a delicious combination of flavors!
There was a whole lot of lasagna leftover and I cut it into pieces and froze most of them for another time. Another time when we were in the mood to visit turkey again. Although we loved the lasagna, we were out of love with turkey for the time being.
Box of lasagna noodles; prepared al dente according to box instructions
6 cups turkey gravy/broth combination
1 baked sweet potato; peeled and diced
4-6 cups of stuffing
1 can of cranberries; diced (I used this homemade recipe)
2 cups ricotta
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 recipe stuffing mix; about 6 cups
4 cups diced roast turkey
5 cups mozzarella; shredded
6 tablespoons Parmesan; shredded
When all ingredients are prepared and ready, assemble lasagna in sprayed or greased pan. Layer, gravy, lasagna noodles, 1/2 the turkey, half the sweet potatoes, 1/2 the diced cranberries. Spread half of the ricotta, then sprinkle with half the Parmesan and mozzarella. Repeat ingredients all in second layers, topping with mozzarella.
Cover pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve.
Stores well in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze for several months.