I love Christmas more than any other holiday, and look forward to all of the festivities that come with it (especially the delicious food!). Turkey dinner is one of my all-time favourite meals. And what’s even better are the leftovers! My favourites are the classics–turkey barley soup and toasted turkey sandwiches–but this year, the kids and I are going to add a new recipe to our leftover list – Turkey Mac & Cheese Casserole. How does this not sound amazing?!

I wanted a recipe that incorporated my favourite Christmas dinner foods–turkey and roasted veggies (like Brussel sprouts, broccoli, squash, cauliflower and carrots). I always make extra veggies, because they make fantastic leftovers and can be added to sandwiches, soups, and casseroles (like this one). 

Adding turkey and veggies to macaroni and cheese makes it a balanced meal, complete with a full line up of nutrients including protein, vitamins, and minerals. And in this more nutritious version of mac and cheese, I used whole wheat noodles, which adds extra fibre too!

As a bonus, the milk and cheese provide lots of nutrition- over 15 essential nutrients- to the meal. Considering one third of children ages 4 to 9 don’t consume their daily recommended milk servings, recipes like this give me peace of mind. We used 1% milk, but any type of milk, including lactose-free, would work well. The same quantities of vitamins and minerals are available in the different kinds of milk- skim, 1%, 2%, whole milk, and lactose-free.

So, as you’re planning your holiday meal this year, make sure that you think about your post-turkey dinner game plan. What should you make more of, or what dishes make great leftovers? As a busy mom, I’m always trying to think ahead and repurpose food in any way I can.

Part of my game plan is making sure that I have lots of leftover turkey and roasted vegetables to make nutritious and delicious leftovers for the weeks ahead. They come in really handy, especially on busy weeknights! I know you can relate!

Happy holidays!

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Leftover Turkey Mac & Cheese Casserole
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Yields
10
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Ingredients

1 box (375 g) uncooked whole wheat macaroni or corkscrew noodles
2 cups (500 ml) milk
1 cup (250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup (60 ml) butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) flour
2 cups (500 ml) leftover roasted veggies (I leave out potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn and focus more on non-starchy veggies like Brussel sprouts, broccoli, squash, carrots, etc.)
2 cups (500 ml) leftover turkey, shredded
3 cups plus 1 cup (1 L) shredded cheese (your choice, or a combination)
1 tsp (5 ml) nutmeg
1 tsp (5 ml) dry mustard
1/2 cup (125 ml) panko bread crumbs
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C) and grease a large casserole dish.
  2. Cook noodlers as per directions on box or package (to "al dente").
  3. As the noodles are cooking, melt butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan.
  4. Once the butter is melted, add flour and stir with a spatula until well combined. Add milk and broth little by little, stirring well, until flour/butter mixture is incorporated evenly. Add 3 cups (750 ml) of cheese and stir until "saucy". Add nutmeg and mustard, and reduce heat to low and cover (stirring occasionally).
  5. Add leftover roasted veggies, turkey, and cooked noodles. Stir to combine. Transfer to a large casserole dish.
  6. In a separate small dish, combine bread crumbs and remaning 1 cup (250 ml) of cheese. Season with pepper to taste. Sprinkle over top of mac n cheese mixture. Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden on top. Cool and serve.

dairy-divas

Sarah
Read more by: Sarah
Sarah Remmer, RD is a Mom of three, and Registered Dietitian in Calgary, Alberta. Sarah runs a nutrition consulting and communications company, where she specializes in infant and kids nutrition. Sarah is also a freelance nutrition writer and blogger.
Member Of
College of Dietitians of Alberta
Dietitians of Canada