Leftover Turkey or Chicken Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
If you're sick of eating leftover roast turkey sandwiches and you still have a ton of Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey in the fridge, you might be wondering what to do with it. You might even be considering throwing it out if that big bird is taking up a whole lot of space in your fridge. Why not put it to good use and turn it into a whole new delicious and healthy dinner that everyone will love?
This is one of my favourite recipes for leftover turkey or chicken. This leftover turkey macaroni and cheese casserole is so easy to make and so deliciously creamy, with a crunchy, buttery breadcrumb crust. You can bet there won't be any leftovers this time.
You can even make a few of these ahead of time and freeze them for another day. It's a great way to use up of all of that leftover turkey. Simply prepare the casseroles in foil baking pans, wrap them in plastic and put them in the freezer. Then when you're ready to make one, just pull it out of the freezer and pop it in the oven.
When you're cooking it from frozen, you will want to cook it at a lower temperature for longer so that it has a chance to thaw before the top starts to burn. I would suggest baking it at 325˚F for up to an hour or until it's heated through. I would even suggest covering it with foil and removing the foil for the last 15 to 20 minutes to crisp up the topping.
How Long Is Leftover Turkey Good For?
Do you have leftover turkey in the fridge that you're wondering if you can still use? According to foodsafety.gov, cooked poultry is good in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days and can be frozen for 2 to 6 months.
Personally, I have used refrigerated leftover turkey for up to a week and I have never had a problem. I always just make sure it's wrapped in plastic really well so no air can get to it. I would never let it go past 7 days. If you're not sure whether the meat is safe to eat, just ditch it. It's better to be safe than sorry; it's not worth the risk.
If you don't plan to use the leftover turkey within 3 to 4 days, it is best to freeze it about 2 hours after its cooked. Make sure to remove the meat from the bird and freeze it in an airtight plastic bag or container.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 250 grams uncooked macaroni noodles
- 2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped
- 2 cups leftover turkey or chicken, diced
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small pot. Add the flour when the butter is melted and whisk until well blended. Let the mixture simmer for 1 minute to thicken.
- Take the pot off the burner and whisk in the milk. Return the pot to the burner and simmer on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, whisking often.
- When the milk is thickened, add the shredded cheddar cheese and mix until the cheese is fully melted. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.
- Boil the macaroni noodles and boil or steam the chopped broccoli.
- In a casserole dish, mix the cooked noodles with the cooked broccoli and leftover turkey or chicken. Add the cheese sauce, mustard powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne and mix until well blended.
- To make your bread crumb topping melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and mix together with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake in the oven at 350˚F for 30 minutes or until the top of the casserole is slightly browned and crispy. (If the casserole was previously frozen, bake it at 325˚F for 1 hour instead, leaving a foil tent over the top until the last 15 minutes.)
You can make this recipe your own by adding your favourite ingredients. I decided to add broccoli because I absolutely love broccoli and cheese together. This would also go well with peas and carrots, tomatoes, onions, or whatever you desire. If you're a bacon lover, why not sprinkle some bacon bits on top. The possibilities are endless!
This recipe also works great with leftover chicken. Want to make this recipe but don't have any leftover turkey or chicken on hand? You can run to the grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken. If your local store doesn't sell rotisserie chicken you can also just grab a couple boneless chicken breasts and cut them in cubes and quickly cook them in a frying pan.
Another Great Recipe for Using Up Leftover Turkey
Looking for another recipe to use leftover turkey or chicken? Try my Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Cheesy Casserole.
© 2019 Jennifer C