If you're wondering what to do with all that leftover Thanksgiving turkey in your fridge, I've got the perfect solution for you. Forget about a turkey sandwiches; let's whip up this light and delicious turkey bake (also, so you don't have to cook for the rest of the week)!
Unlike most turkey bakes or casseroles that tend to be dense and creamy, this version is light and fluffy. There's no cream in this recipe—just a simplified turkey gravy mixed with sautéed mushrooms and onions to enhance the sauce.
To add some texture, we're tossing in some wild rice (though any rice variety will do), and that bag of frozen peas lurking in your freezer finally has a purpose. Plus, if you've got any leftover roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes (really any leftover veggie side dish will do), toss them in for extra flavour and nutrients!
As for cheese, it's entirely optional (especially for those with sensitive tummies). So, you have the flexibility to make this recipe dairy-free if you prefer. In other words, versatility is the key here.
Let's turn those Thanksgiving leftovers into something special!
Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Bake
This easy turkey bake is comforting, light and delicious. Top with some cheese for some extra decadence during the transition to our cozy Ontario weather.
1 cup organic wild rice
3 cups cooked turkey, shredded or cubed
1 white onion, diced finely
10 cremini mushrooms, diced or chopped (I chop these super small to disguise in the rice as my boys don't like them - or they think they don't 🙄)
2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 cup turkey or chicken broth
1 tbsp arrowroot powder, mixed with 1 tablespoon warm water
1 1/4 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup sharp cheddar or freshly grated parmesan, asiago or romano cheese
Any other veggie leftovers of your liking! (I added Brussels sprouts & sweet potatoes)
Now, I really struggle with traditional recipe formats. Ingredients here and directions there...and believe me, if your brain works anything like mine - the back and forth between the two can often be incredibly distracting and frustrating!
SO - from now on - I've decided to make my recipe directions more accessible for those of us with ADHD/neurodivergence.
I'd love to know what you think - this is just the beginning. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
Cook the (1 cup) wild rice as per package instructions. Set aside.
Heat the (2 tbsp) oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the (1 diced) onion and (10 - chopped) mushrooms and saute for 4-5 minutes, until onions are translucent.
Add the (6-minced) garlic, (1/2 tsp) thyme, (to taste) salt and pepper and stir for 1-2 mins until fragrant.
Pour in the (3/4 cup) broth and stir.
In a separate bowl, whisk the (1 tbsp) arrowroot powder with (1 tbsp) warm water. Add this to the pan and stir for another 2-3 minutes until thickened.
In a 9x13 inch casserole dish, add the (3 cups) turkey, (1 1/4 cups) peas, onion/garlic mushroom sauce, cooked wild rice, (1/2 cup) cheese and any other leftover you'd like.
Stir all of the ingredients together, then pop in the oven and cook covered with unbleached parchment or foil for 15 minutes, or warmed through.
Top with extra cheese (if desired) and then bake for another 5 mins.
Serve with a smile - because everyone is going to devour this!
Storing and Reheating Your Leftovers
When it comes to meal prep, casseroles are a real game-changer. Whip this up post-Thanksgiving, and you've got a few meals sorted for the week.
To Keep Fresh: You can store it in the refrigerator for approximately four days. Simply pop it into an airtight container or cover the casserole dish.
To Preserve for Later: Bake until fully cooked, then allow it to cool to room temperature. Divide it into serving portions, transfer them into airtight containers, and freeze them for up to three months.
For Reheating: If it's frozen, let the casserole thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat it in the oven at 350°F until it's piping hot. Alternatively, you can warm up individual portions in the microwave.
Enjoy your delicious leftovers!
Curious about nutrition for your family?
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BA Hons., B Ed., RHN, CNE, OCT
Metabolic Balance® Coach
Intuitive Eating Counsellor Candidate
Care-Informed & Health At Every Size® (HAES®) Nutritionist