The host of the big holiday get-together usually ends up staring down a big pile of turkey, wondering how on earth they'll eat it all. Wonder what to do with leftover turkey no more - make this creamy turkey casserole to breathe fresh life into those leftovers and avoid the turkey fatigue.
We love roasted turkey as much as the next person, but one thing we don't love is eating the same meal for dinner for days on end. Most turkeys are pretty large, and many of us tend to err on the side of having too much turkey rather than risk the ultimate holiday party foul - not having enough turkey to feed your dinner guests.
If you accidentally overestimated your turkey needs and have a mountain of turkey to eat in the next few days, we've got you covered!
We built this easy turkey bake recipe to dress up your leftovers and make them feel a little different the second time around. Turkey meat mixes with onions, mushrooms, and decadent penne pasta in a creamy chicken sauce.
The best part? Cheese, naturally. Some shredded Havarti or swiss takes this dish up a notch. The crispy, buttery breadcrumb and cheese topping gives a crunch that sets off the turkey pasta's decadently creamy texture.
Follow our simple guide below to make this easy turkey casserole that you can freeze for later or bake to eat immediately!
3 c. uncooked penne or other medium-sized pasta
3 Tbsp salted butter
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
8 oz white or cremini mushrooms, well-cleaned and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
10 ¾ oz condensed cream of chicken soup
1 ⅓ c. 2% milk
½ tsp seasoned salt
½ tsp dried basil
1 c. Havarti or swiss cheese, shredded
3 c. cooked turkey, dark or light meat removed from the bone (leftover turkey works well)
¼ c. seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbsp salted butter, melted
Preheat your oven to 375°F. While you wait for it to heat, assemble your topping ingredients. Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a small mixing bowl, then add the breadcrumbs and stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Bring a medium-sized water pot to a boil on the stovetop. Cook your penne or other pasta of choice until al dente, according to the package directions.
Heat a large cast-iron casserole dish on the stovetop over medium heat. If your casserole dish isn't cast-iron, use a skillet instead. Once heated, add 3 Tbsp of butter to the pan, along with your chopped onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook the ingredients for ~5 mins, then remove from heat.
In a large-sized mixing bowl or directly in your cast-iron casserole dish, combine the cream of chicken soup, cooked mushrooms and onions, milk, seasoned salt, dried basil, and half the Havarti cheese. Mix well, then fold in the turkey and noodles.
Spread your turkey bake casserole in the casserole dish, then top with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle the buttery breadcrumb topping on top of your turkey casserole dish, then pop it into your now preheated oven.
Bake the turkey pasta casserole uncovered for 30-35 mins, or until hot, crispy, and bubbling.
Let the casserole sit for 5 mins, then slice. Serve and enjoy this creamy turkey casserole to your heart's delight!
Calories: 393 kcal; Carbohydrates: 13 g; Protein: 26 g; Fat: 27 g; Saturated Fat: 15 g; Sodium: 1080 mg; Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 5 g.
*Nutrition information is an estimate and may vary from dish to dish.
You in no way need to use a cast-iron casserole dish and can use one made of glass or other materials instead. We love to use our cast-iron for this recipe because we're lazy chefs, and we love that you can cook the onions and mushrooms right in the casserole dish, mix the ingredients directly in it, then toss in the oven to bake. Cutting down on dirty dishes is a big win for us!
If you set your oven to 375°F, this easy turkey casserole should be ready in approximately 30-35 mins. It should look crispy on the top, with the breadcrumbs turning a lovely golden brown color.
If you're not sure if it's cooked, use an oven thermometer and check the center of your casserole - you want the casserole's internal temperature to reach 165°F to be deemed safe for consumption. Luckily, our dish doesn't contain any raw meat, so the chances of eating something dangerously undercooked are almost nonexistent.
Casserole recipes are even better reheated for breakfast the next day, and we've enjoyed ours for up to 4 days when left in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yes, this means you're going to eat a casserole with leftover turkey recipe as leftovers again. We promise, this is the end of the line - it won't become leftover, leftover, leftovers x3!
Heck yes, you can! Turkey bake recipes can be frozen pre- or post-cooking. If you're cooking your casserole from frozen, keep your oven thermometer handy, as the cooking time will likely be much longer than usual.
If you're reheating an already-cooked casserole from frozen, wrap it in aluminum foil so that it won't dry out. Reheat and keep monitoring until it gets up to temperature. If you want the casserole's top a little more crispy, remove the aluminum foil for the last 5-10 mins of cooking time.
While this turkey casserole is dynamite and mighty filling all on its own, we love to serve ours with an extra serving of veggies on the side, like roasted or steamed broccoli, carrots, or green beans.
It's a rich dish, but when we're feeling in the mood for comfort food, we serve some warmed dinner rolls on the side. You may even have some of those still kicking around after your holiday dinner - it'd be a shame for the rolls to go to waste, right?
This easy turkey casserole is delicious as is, but we've tried a few variations over the years, and we're not mad at any of them - this dish lends itself well to different flavors.
If you want to pump up your veggie intake, toss some frozen mixed vegetables in the mix, or fresh broccoli, carrots, and peas are all fantastic options.
You can substitute different types of pasta, and while we prefer penne, we often just toss in whichever ones we currently have on hand in the pantry.
Don't have leftover turkey? Try subbing in all sorts of leftover meat, like ground turkey or chicken, shredded chicken breasts, or smoked sausage slices.
Enjoy using your turkey leftovers to make the rest of your weeknights a little more exciting!
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