Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Leftover Turkey (or Chicken) Casserole Recipe with Brown Rice, Mushrooms, Sour Cream, Cheese, and Thyme

Use leftover turkey or chicken to make this Brown Rice Casserole with Mushrooms, Sour Cream, Cheese, and Thyme.

Brown Rice Casserole with Leftover Turkey (or chicken), Mushrooms, Sour Cream, Cheese, and Thyme
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day, and some of you may even be cooking one of my Thanksgiving Recipes in honor of the big feast day. This week I've been giving suggestions for using up leftover turkey, such as Turkey and Guacamole Quesadillas or Turkey and Pinto Bean White Chili. This flavorful Leftover Turkey (or Chicken) Casserole with Brown Rice, Mushrooms, Sour Cream, Cheese, and Thyme is another option for something to make with your leftover turkey, or make it with chicken if you're not cooking a turkey this year.

It's been months now since I vowed to make more casseroles for the blog, and if you grew up on casseroles like I did, you'll probably like this idea to use your leftover turkey. My casserole is missing the canned soup like the ones mom used to make, and I'm using low-fat sour cream and low-fat cheese, so it's really not as decadent as it looks in the photo.

To make this recipe you'll need 2 cups cooked brown rice. I cooked a batch in my rice cooker and froze the extra rice I didn't need. The rice doesn't need to be cooled, so you can cook it right before you make the casserole if desired.

Wash mushrooms, cut into half slices, and then saute in a small amount of olive oil until the mushrooms are slightly browned and all the liquid has evaporated.

Remove the mushrooms and in the same frying pan, heat a little more olive oil, then saute chopped onion until it's starting to soften. Then add the dried thyme and poultry seasoning and saute a few minutes more.

While onions are cooking, dice up enough leftover turkey (or chicken) to make 1 1/2 - 2 cups diced turkey. I cut it into pieces about 1/2 inch.

Add the mushrooms and diced turkey (or chicken) to the pan and mix with the onion-herb mixture.

Then mix in the rice and gently stir to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and turkey (or chicken) stock, then stir in the coarsely grated parmesan and grated low-fat cheese.

Mix the sour cream mixture into the rice mixture and stir gently to combine. I'm not sure why the picture taking process broke down at this point, but you'll have to imagine there are photos here of putting the casserole mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish, baking 25 minutes, adding the second cup of low-fat cheese, and baking about 15 minutes more!

Leftover Turkey (or Chicken) Casserole with Brown Rice, Mushrooms, Sour Cream, Cheese, and Thyme
(Makes about 6 generous servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

2 cups cooked brown rice (long grain brown rice is best)
16 oz. mushrooms, washed, thickly sliced, slices cut in half
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
1 onion, diced into small pieces
2 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. ground poultry seasoning (see note after the recipe if you don't have it)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 - 2 cups diced leftover turkey or chicken, cut in 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup turkey stock or chicken stock
1/2 cup sour cream (I used low-fat sour cream, but don't use fat-free)
1/2 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese
1 cup + 1 cup grated low-fat cheese (I used Four Cheese Mexican Blend, use any type of low-fat cheese that you like the flavor of.)

Cook brown rice following package directions or using a rice cooker and let cool. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

Wash mushrooms and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Cut mushrooms into thick slices, then cut slices in half. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in heavy non-stick pan and saute mushrooms until they're starting to brown and all liquid has evaporated. Remove onions to a dish.

In same frying pan, add 1 tsp. more olive oil and heat, then add onions and saute 3-4 minutes until onions are softened. Add thyme, ground poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper, and saute about 2 minutes more.

While onions cook, dice leftover turkey or chicken into 1/2 inch pieces. Add mushrooms and diced turkey into pan with the onion-herb mixture, and stir to combine. Add rice and gently stir until all the meat and vegetables are evenly distributed in the rice.

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and chicken stock, then stir in coarsely grated parmesan cheese and 1 cup grated low-fat cheese. Gently stir the sour cream mixture into the rice mixture.

Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. (I'd use a relatively flat dish without a lid for this casserole.) Spoon rice mixture into the casserole dish and press down to evenly distribute. Bake for 25 minutes, or until casserole is slightly bubbling and barely starting to brown. Sprinkle with second cup of grated low-fat cheese and bake about 15 minutes more, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

(Note about poultry seasoning: My poultry seasoning from Penzeys has sage, white pepper, red and green bell pepper, lemon peel, savory, rosemary, dill weed, allspice, thyme, marjoram, and ginger. If you don't have it, just use a pinch of what you have.)

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South Beach Suggestions:
With lots of low-glycemic ingredients like brown rice, mushrooms, and turkey, if you use low-fat cheese as recommended this casserole would be a good option for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. The highest fat ingredient is the parmesan cheese, so if you wanted to reduce the fat you could use less of that.

More Leftover Turkey Ideas with Rice or Pasta:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Turkey or Chicken Lasagna with Sage and Three Cheeses from Kalyn's Kitchen

Brown Rice Salad with Leftover Turkey, Red Cabbage, and Pecans from Kalyn's Kitchen

Crockpot Turkey and Wild Rice Soup from A Year of Slow Cooking

Turkey Avgolemono Soup from More Than Burnt Toast

Turkey Wild Rice Casserole from Kitchen Parade

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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  1. looks delicious! great way to use up that leftover turkey!

  2. Another great recipe Kalyn! I like the combination of ingredients and cant wait to try it. This year I am VERY THANKFUL for your wonderful South Beach blog and inspiration!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  3. Another leftover goodie!
    I love mushroom casseroles, and this looks delish.
    Happy Tday Kalyn!

  4. I adore casseroles. There's something about a one-pot meal that is just so satisfying. This sounds delicious. Great way to use up extra poultry!

  5. Ashley, thanks.

    Deb, You are so kind. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

    Winnie, same to you. I had fun having leftovers before the main meal!

  6. Oh, that looks SOOO good. I'm making a Sticky Chicken ( instead of turkey and it has strong spices, but I may still try this recipe with the leftovers. Normally DH likes me to make Chicken Noodle Soup with it, but this time maybe I won't. ;-)

  7. Looks delicious. I'm sure I'll be trying this recipe very soon. Lots of left over turkey.

  8. I'm going to bring a leftover container or two to my brother's dinner so that I can give this a try! Happy Thanksgiving, Kalyn!

  9. I am a sucker for a good casserole, and this would be good all year round.

  10. You can send your leftovers right over. they look great!

  11. Delicious! If I'm adventurous enough tomorrow, I might check out the Penzey's outlet store near our mall.

  12. Now I kind of wish I'd made the big turkey.... alas, no leftovers. But this casserole looks like a keeper, so I'm bookmarking.

  13. DeAnn, your chicken looks great!

    TW, I hope you got some good leftovers (and pie!)

    Mother Rimmy, I liked it a lot. Still have some in the freezer; I think it will freeze well too, will report back.

    Katerina, I think it would be great with leftover rotisserie chicken.

    Tobias, thanks!

    Daisy, I love Penzeys and The Spice House too (brother/sister).

    Lydia, like I said, rotisserie chicken!

    Joanne, thanks. I agree, casseroles are so comforting.

  14. Oh no! Now I'm hungry, just before bed! This looks fabulous =D.

  15. Now this is how to enjoy those leftovers! Baked with cheese!

  16. I just had some leftovers but this blog item and the pictures got me hungry for turkey all over again! Can't wait to try this...

  17. I made this using a wild rice-brown rice mixture that I like a lot. The casserole was yummy. Not as quick as Mom's cream-of- something soup method, but far tastier. And more nutritious, for sure! And DH liked it, too. Thanks, Kalyn. It's a keeper.

  18. Kady thanks! I like the idea of using brown and wild rice in this! Glad it was a hit.

  19. Just found your blog on a random internet search for leftover turkey recipes. This looks tasty!

  20. This was sooooo good!!! I made it for dinner last night and am having it again right now for lunch; I love it! I added a small amount of frozen peas (microwaved first) to it for a little green. I also omitted the thyme (not a fan) and poultry seasoning because I thought I had some at home while shopping, and found out I was wrong! Either way, it was still delicious! Thank you!

  21. It so cold here in Georgia today and a yummy casserole it just the thing for dinner. Hope mine turns out looking as delish as yours does.

    Thanks for all you do!

  22. I searched your recipes for ground turkey. This recipe came up and I used my ground turkey instead of the diced bird. It is so delicious. Thanks for all the awesome recipes.

  23. I googled turkey leftovers and came across this. Thank you so much I love it! It hit the spot for dinner, I'll post it soon with a link to you.


  24. So glad people are liking this! Thanks for all the nice feedback.

  25. I found your recipe through OAMM's December menu and made it last night. It was quite yummy! My only variation was that I did not have fresh mushrooms so I used canned (and I used shredded chicken I already had in my freezer, not leftover turkey). I would make it again! Thanks!

  26. Shannon, glad you liked it and good to know that canned mushrooms will work for this.

  27. Another winner, Kalyn! I have made this twice with great success. Husband and I both wanted to eat the whole thing. I made it a little lower fat this time than last - lower fat cheeses and sour cream - and it's still great.

    Like another commenter, I used a jar of mushrooms once and fresh once. Frankly, both were great.

  28. So glad you liked it. And good to know that the canned mushrooms are good in this; I always have those on hand.

  29. Delicious recipe!!! Made it last night and it was a hit! Only change I made was that I used the converted rice since that's what I had on hand. Will be making it again, for sure. Thanks, Kalyn!!

  30. Trying this tonight with leftover turkey I confescated from my MIL's Christmas dinner last night. :) I'm not a fan of mushrooms, so I'm subbing in Broccoli instead. THANKS for the idea, just what I needed. :)

  31. I made this after Christmas and I'm making it for supper again tonight! So delicious.

  32. Hi Kalyn - I made a version of this delicious dish. Would you mind if I posted it on my blog - giving you full credit of course!

  33. No problem; I never mind as long as there is a link to the inspiring recipe on my site. Thanks!

  34. Just made this today. It was excellent! We used leftover Turkey breast that we had injected with Italian dressing. In fact, we are making a second batch to use up more leftover turkey.

  35. I made this casserole tonight with the last of our leftover turkey, and it was oh so good. My super-finicky 12-year-old daughter, who eats approximately 6 bites of food per day, actually had a full helping and said it "wasn't bad." THIS IS MONUMENTAL! My husband told me he liked it better than the actual turkey and suggested I just make this recipe for Thanksgiving next year. Thanks, Kalyn!

  36. Samantha, I love hearing it was such a hit! Now I wish I had made this with my own leftover turkey!


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