#BlogsgivingDinner: Freezer-Friendly Turkey and Rice Casserole (Leftovers!)
Is your elastic holding up? I hope you’ve saved room for dessert and other goodies (hello, after-dinner drinks) today! Oh and leftovers…which might be as good as the first act.
Grandma’s Pecan Pie from The Wetherills Say I Do
Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting from My Cooking Spot
Gluten-Free Apple Berry Crumble from Twin Stripe
Paleo Pumpkin Pudding from Wit Wisdom Food
Cranberry Almond Coconut Bars from Love & Flour
Torched Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie with Olive & Sinclair Chocolate from The Local Forkful
Poached Pears with Salted Maple Caramel Syrup from Home at Six
Sweet Potato Pie from Think Fruitful
Nutella Pumpkin S’mores Tart from bethcakes
Gluten-Free Acorn Squash Spice Bars from I Cook. I Eat. It’s Life.
Drunken Pecan Pie Bars from The Speckled Palate
Butter Pecan Cupcakes from The Speckled Palate
Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider from A Savory Feast
Cranberry Bourbon Granita from Feast + West
Cheesy Potato Croquettes from Hello Little Home
Leftover Stuffed Egg Rolls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce from Cake ‘n’ Knife
Freezer-Friendly Turkey and Rice Casserole from Betty Becca
Stuffed Crescents with Thanksgiving Leftovers from My Cooking Spot
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a blast this week. I’m proud to share this experience with such talented people from far and wide (10 states across the U.S. + Canada!). Aren’t you glad you didn’t have to drive or fly all that way for all of this delicious food?
I made this casserole last year, and it was almost better than the real deal on Thanksgiving day. And the best part is that you can easily freeze it for later. It’s a delicious, hearty dish (and a little break from the flavors of Thanksgiving, if you’re burned out). I served this to my toddler, and he gobbled it up…so it’s even kid-friendly, too!
And since I mentioned the smoked theme, the turkey I’m using was smoked, but it’s not as big of a deal in a casserole format. There’s enough going on that the smoke flavor doesn’t really come through. I’m sure however you cooked your turkey (or chicken – if it’s another time of the year – or heck, rotisserie, anyone?), will work – and taste – just fine.
Freezer-Friendly Turkey and Rice Casserole
2 cups prepared grain of your choice (white or brown rice, quinoa, barley, etc.)
Around 1 cup leftover turkey (or chicken), shredded or chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 cup frozen veggies (peas, carrots and peas, spinach, vegetable medley, etc.)
Here’s where you create your own destiny. If you have leftover gravy (you’ll need about a cup), then throw it in with 1 tsp of Italian seasoning and some salt and pepper. This element binds the casserole together and makes it creamy and delish!
If you don’t have any leftover you can make this recipe for “cream of” soup sub, or for a for a dairy-free version (like I used in what’s pictured):
2 T olive oil
2 T all purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 t Italian seasoning (or herb blend of your choice – I bet Ms. Dash would be good, too)
Scant 1/2 t salt (I always under-salt things I know my toddler will be eating. You may want to add a bit more)
Freshly ground pepper
Optional: Add 1/8-1/4 (or more – to taste) of mild curry powder for a completely different taste profile from Thanksgiving. Curry is so warming and comforting, and I love to add it to dishes like this (chicken noodle soup, chicken pot pie, etc.)
Add oil to small skillet on medium heat. When oil begins to warm, add flour and whisk often until it starts to bubble for a minute or two. Add stock in small increments, letting sauce thicken after each addition. Season with remaining ingredients.
To prepare the casserole:
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a small casserole dish. You can top with cheese or breadcrumbs or both, if desired. From here, you can bake at 350* for 20 minutes or until heated through and bubbling or freeze for later, if you’re absolutely sick of the tastes of Thanksgiving. Hopefully, this format will change up your leftovers enough to trick you into a few more meals, but if you can’t bear it, then it will hang out waiting for you – a tasty, warm, healthy — and easy — meal come December or January.
Notes: Amounts can be adjusted depending on how much Thanksgiving fare you have to repurpose. The version shown is dairy-free using the second option/recipe for sauce noted above. It’s got extra breadcrumb topping from the mushroom entree from yesterday – an herby, garlicky mixture with day-old bread run through the food processor (This option won’t freeze as well though. It’s best to freeze the casserole plain and add something on top later when you heat it up). When reheating, preheat the whole dish with the oven, and cooking time may take a little longer. If you’re not planning to go the freezer route, 1-2 chopped hard-boiled eggs are good in it, too. My mom puts eggs in her gravy so that’s what would be in there if I’d used leftovers. Eggs don’t freeze as well though so plan accordingly.