I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! Our family had such a fun time together, and being able to connect with the other half of the Cookin’ Mamas is always a blast, not to mention being able to play with my sweet little grandson. 🙂 And my gluten-free Thanksgiving went off perfectly and no one could tell anything was different from our normal holiday meal. Woohoo! (picture me dancing all around the kitchen with a big smile on my face)
Now that the big feast is over, and everyone has gone home (boo hoo), my husband and I have plenty of leftovers to eat up and I mean plenty! Now all you people that are poo-pooing leftovers, listen up! You are missing out on some really delicious meals that are perfect for the busy holiday season coming up!
I love the challenge of creating after-the-feast recipes and changing them up so no one even knows they are eating leftovers. The recipes are usually quick and easy too since the meat is already cooked. In fact, if you have any recipes that you love that use rotisserie chicken, just sub in chopped turkey and you are good to go!
I have found that if you take an international slant on the leftovers, it is so different from our American Thanksgiving feast, they won’t even associate the meals with the same turkey. So go Italian with our easy Italian Chicken Noodle Casserole or, maybe Mexican with a Southwestern Chicken Casserole or go way out with an Asian twist and make this easy Chinese Chicken Casserole.
Easy Chinese Chicken Casserole
- 1 zucchini, washed
- Sea salt
- 3-4 cups cooked turkey, chopped or 1 rotisserie chicken, chopped or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- Sesame oil (if using raw chicken breasts)
- 1 cup celery
- 1 cup carrots, grated (I used a pre-grated package)
- 1 cup snow peas (fresh from produce section)
- 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup cashew pieces
- 3/4 cup crunchy chow mein noodles (Goldbaums makes a gluten-free version)(optional)
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup (Pacific Organic makes a gluten-free version)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 4 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce (check for Joyce Chen’s gluten-free version)
- 1 Tablespoon Tamari soy sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large oval casserole dish with a non-stick spray.
Using a mandolin, julienne your zucchini with narrow blades into noodles. Place in a colander, salt generously and let sit over a bowl for at least 30 minutes. This will get most of the moisture out of the zucchini that would dilute the dish. When ready to add to dish, carefully squeeze one last time to get any remaining moisture out of the noodles.
While zucchini is sweating, if using raw chicken, season with salt & pepper. Heat sesame oil in large skillet and cook chicken thoroughly. Drain and place in large bowl. To the same skillet, add a little more sesame oil, if needed, and saute celery, carrot, snow peas, green onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Place vegetables in bowl with chicken. Add zucchini noodles, 1/2 cup cashews, 1/2 cup chow mein noodles and pinch of cayenne.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients together then add to chicken-vegetable mixture. Toss well. Pour into prepared baking dish.
Bake for 25 minutes then top with remaining nuts and chow mein noodles and cook for 5 additional minutes.
What’s your favorite way to use leftovers?