Leftover turkey is never a bad word at our houses. In fact, we count on it to pull us out of the desperate meals that are sure to follow the big day of feasting. We say roast the largest bird you can possibly fit in your oven. Since you're going to all the trouble anyway, you might as well make the effort last for several meals.

The trick is to manage the meat without wasting it or boring your family. If you're a turkey sandwich clan (with lots of mayo and black pepper, yum!), designate at least a pound or so of the meat for lunch for the next day.

On Friday night, spread three cups of chopped turkey over six to eight cups of salad greens on a large, attractive platter. (The same platter from Thanksgiving Day works well.) Scatter a quarter-cup of blue cheese crumbles over that. Top the salad with a purchased dressing — something on the sweet side, such as a raspberry vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing.

By Saturday night, you're ready for the classic turkey casserole. Today's recipe, Stove-Top Wild Turkey "Bake" doesn't bake at all, but stays on the stove-top. So it's super fast and super easy — and anything but boring!

Menu: Stove-Top Wild Turkey "Bake"

Steamed Broccoli spears

Yeast rolls


Start to finish: 20 minutes

Cook's notes: If you do not have leftover turkey, you can use 2 packages (10 ounces each) Short Cuts carved chicken breast, such as the Perdue brand.

For testing purposes, we used Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice Fast Cook Recipe. If you choose another quick-cooking wild rice product, check the amount of water called for on the package and use that amount.

3 1/2 cups leftover cooked turkey (see Cook's notes)

4 cups water (see Cook's notes)

2 boxes (6.2 ounces each) quick-cooking long grain and wild rice mix, such as Uncle Ben's

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup skim milk

3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Coarsely chop the turkey into bite-size pieces and set it aside.

In a 12-inch, extra-deep nonstick skillet with a lid, stir together the water, rice mix and rice mix seasoning packets, cream of mushroom soup, milk and turkey. Place the mixture over medium heat and bring it to a boil. When the mixture just begins to boil, cover the pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Sprinkle the cheese over the pan and cover. Cook on low for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Remove the pan from the heat, and serve.

Serves 6.

Approximate Values Per Serving: 468 calories (29 percent from fat), 15 g fat (6 g saturated), 84 mg cholesterol, 34 g protein, 48 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 1300 mg sodium

Beverly Mills is a former food editor of the Miami Herald food section and a mother of two; Alicia Ross, a former food columnist for The Raleigh News and Observer, also has two children. They have been living the desperate life for years and years. Send desperate tales of woe or everyday success stories and your favorite quick recipes to Desperation Dinners, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016. Or visit the Desperation Dinners Web site at www.desperationdinners.com. You can e-mail Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross at bev-alicia@desperationdinners.com.

© United Feature Syndicate, Inc.