Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Leftover Turkey Casserole for Easy #Thanksgiving Weekend Dinner from Cleo Coyle

From Cleo Coyle: Are you looking forward to Thanksgiving leftovers almost as much as the dinner itself? Marc and I definitely are. Black Friday breakfast? At our house: a cold slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream, of course.

Another of our leftover favorites is this comfort food casserole recipe. As an easy, one-pan dinner, it works just as well with leftover chicken as turkey, which means you can enjoy it all winter long. 

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Years ago, I adapted the recipe after getting it from a working firefighter named Captain Jim Colston who originally made this dish at his firehouse. Why did I have to adapt Jim's recipe? Because his original "firehouse" portions were huge! After bringing it down to a sane serving of 6, I added more details to the directions, including oven temperatures and times, and I tweaked the ingredients a bit too. I also included directions for you on cooking chicken breasts when you don't have leftovers on hand.

May you eat with joy this holiday weekend and to all those working on Thanksgiving Day, including our first responders (police, firefighters, and health care workers), we send our sincerest thanks to you this Thanksgiving. 

Stay safe out there and God bless you all!

~ Cleo

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Click here for the free recipe PDF.

adapted by Cleo Coyle from a
firehouse recipe shared by Captain Jim Colston

Serves 6


4 cups cooked, chopped turkey or chicken (about 2 pounds)
1 12-ounce box of stuffing (*see my note on using leftover stuffing)
1 14-ounce can of chicken broth (or 2 cups fresh stock)
1-2 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 slices cooked ham, quartered (or 6 slices of Canadian bacon)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese (deli slices or block cheese, **see my note
on using other cheeses)

*Note on stuffing: If using leftover or pre-made stuffing, you'll need 6 cups for this recipe and be sure to reduce the amount of broth or stock to 1/3 cup.

**Note on cheese: If you don't care for spicy flavor, substitute any mild cheese that melts easily: e.g., Monterey Jack, Colby-Jack, mozzarella, or a young Provolone or Asiago.

(Optional) Step 1 - You can use leftover turkey or chicken for this recipe; rotisserie chicken; or roast or grill your chicken breasts fresh. To roast raw chicken breasts, sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning; place them in a greased shallow pan; and cook them for about 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F. Do not overcook or your chicken will be dry. But do follow the food safety guidelines and cook to an internal temp. of 165 degrees F. Chop up the cooked chicken and set aside.

Step 2 - Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a shallow 8 x 12-inch glass dish or casserole pan with butter or margarine. In a large bowl, mix together the boxed stuffing ingredients and broth. If you roasted chicken specifically for this dish, I suggest adding the pan drippings to the stuffing bowl for more good flavor. If using leftover or pre-made stuffing, be sure to reduce the amount of broth or stock to 1/3 cup.

Step 3 - Pour the stuffing into the pan. Using the back of a large spoon, press it into an even layer, and bake until the top is crispy and brown, about 20 minutes.

Step 4 - Spread the cooked turkey or chicken evenly on top of the crisped stuffing. Arrange the ham slices (or Canadian bacon) on top of the meat and return it to the hot oven for 10 minutes. 

After 10 minutes, remove the pan once more and cover it evenly with the cheese slices (or shredded block cheese). Return to the oven...

Bake for 10 more minutes, until cheese is mostly melted. Finish under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

New York Times bestselling author
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Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

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  1. That casserole looks amazing. What a smart way to change up boring leftovers. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Cleo and all of your fellow bloggers.

  2. We are big fans of leftovers at our house, especially at Thanksgiving. Glad you enjoyed the recipe post, Rita. And a very Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, and all of our wonderful readers and blog followers!

    ~ Cleo

  3. What a delicious idea, Cleo. With two whole turkeys in the oven on Thanksgiving Day, I'm thinking this recipe will come in handy.

  4. Patricia - Love hearing that, and the two turkeys in the oven idea, as well, which I know is popular with families who enjoy all the leftovers as much as we do: turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey pot pie, and (as I've shared today) "firehouse favorite" turkey and stuffing casserole. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Patricia, may you and yours be blessed. xoxo

    ~ Cleo