Turkey & Rice Casserole

Ah, the glorious traditions of the holidays . . . . friends, family, food, fun . . . f*cking off from writing the blog.  I’ve had a lovely time over the past week being a domestic goddess, but I’ve missed being a writer girl.  I’m trying to get back into actually writing fiction at the moment just so my brain doesn’t explode and I don’t start talking to the furniture, but I thought I could at least pop in here and share a recipe.  I made this last night with the final succulent remains of our Thanksgiving turkey, and it was quite yummy.  And it made great leftovers for lunch today, too – two minutes in the microwave.

Turkey & Rice Casserole

Leftover turkey, white and dark meat, cut into small bite-sized pieces – at least 1 cup

2 cans of cream of mushroom soup

1 can of chicken broth

1 can of dry white rice

1.5 to 2 cans of water

1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning

2 tablespoons of dried minced onion

Salt and pepper to taste

1 to 2 tablespoons of butter

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an oblong casserole dish with cooking spray or grease with butter.

Whisk together the cream of mushroom soup, the chicken broth, and 1 can of water with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, and dried minced onion in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir in the rice and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer, stirring often, until rice is translucent and beginning to soften – about twenty minutes – adding extra water as needed.  Remove from heat, stir in turkey.

Spread rice and turkey mixture in casserole dish, spread butter in small dabs over the top.  Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes more or until casserole starts to brown at the edges and rice looks fluffy.

Makes 4-6 generous entrée servings.

The more turkey you have, the better this is.  Also, you can sprinkle stuffing mix (just the seasoned bread crumbs, not instant stuffing) over the rice and under the butter if you like a crunchy topping.   By the way, this also works with chicken, including those rotisserie fowl you can get at the grocery store.  But personally,  I like turkey best.

Katie’s Extra Cheesy Macaroni & Cheese

My niece, Katie, is an afficianada of macaroni and cheese – Ernest Hemingway didn’t know gin cocktails the way Katie knows pasta and cheddar.  This is the stupidly simple recipe that earned me the coveted “Aunt Lucy makes the BEST mac & cheese!” award for excellence.  The sauce also tastes really yumtastic on steamed broccoli. 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

2 heaping tablespoons spreadable cream cheese or half of a 3 ounce block, cut in small cubes

8 ounces dry macaroni

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the macaroni per package instructions.  While it’s cooking, grate the cheese – I know, you can buy it pre-grated, and if you have to hurry back to watching the red button on the nuclear missile silo, by all means, use that; otherwise, don’t ruin your mac & cheese.  Drain your macaroni.

Melt butter in a pot big enough for your finished dish over medium high heat.  Whisk in flour until it forms a smooth yellow paste.  Add milk, whisking constantly, and keep whisking until it thickens and bubbles.  Do not panic if your paste lumps up in the beginning, just keep whisking; it will smooth out.  (Some recipes for white sauce, which is what this is at this point, say you need to heat the milk first; I haven’t found that to be true, though I suppose it would probably thicken faster.)  Whisk in cheese by handfuls, reserving about one handful, keep whisking until it melts completely.  Repeat with the cream cheese. 

Stir in macaroni until smooth.  Add the last handful of cheese, stir until melted and stringy.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6-8 side dish servings, 4-5 main course servings.