Easy idea for those turkey leftovers

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I bought a 20-pound turkey for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner even though I’m only expecting six people to eat at my table on Thursday. And one of them doesn’t eat turkey!

It was no mistake getting a big turkey; I love the leftovers. Don’t you? I’m really looking forward to turkey sandwiches made with mayo, lettuce and tomato, and my turkey soup is one of my favorite meals.

But there are so many ways to enjoy those leftovers from turkey chili to turkey tetrazzini.

I made an easy casserole last week using rotisserie chicken that could easily be made with turkey leftovers instead.

This Cooking Light recipe for chicken-spaghetti casserole cooks in the baking dish only and is so easy to prepare. It would also be simple to customize. I did a little of that myself.

My casserole included a mixture of red, orange and yellow bell peppers and no celery. I also omitted the Boursin cheese and added a little more than the 1 cup of cheddar called for in the recipe. (I see other versions of this recipe use 1 to 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup instead of the creamy Boursin cheese.) I’m thinking a small jar of pimiento peppers would be a delicious substitute for the fresh bell peppers. Mushrooms would also be good. And, of course, you could experiment with different cheeses.

All of the ingredients, except for the cheddar cheese, are mixed and spooned into the casserole dish. This includes the uncooked spaghetti. The dish is covered with foil and cooks for 35 minutes before removing the foil and adding the cheese.

I wondered, of course, if the spaghetti would cook.

After 35 minutes, I took out the dish and uncovered it. There were a few noodles that hadn’t been mixed well with the other ingredients, and they weren’t cooked all the way. So I stirred it up, made sure those noodles were well-incorporated, and let it cook another five minutes. The next time I make this dish, I will buy a box of cut spaghetti; I think it will cook better. I have used the Barilla product several times, and it’s so convenient.

Because I had not used the Boursin cheese, I was concerned that the casserole would be dry. So instead of just adding the cheddar cheese to the top, I mixed it into the casserole and let it cook about 5 more minutes for the cheese to melt.

Reggie and I both really enjoyed this recipe! It was very good and so simple.

If you have some leftovers tomorrow, save out 2 cups of turkey and give this recipe a try!

Chicken-Spaghetti Casserole

Substitute leftover turkey and give this casserole a try this weekend.

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast

3 cups uncooked spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces

1 cup sliced celery (cut 1/4-inch thick)

1 cup pre-chopped red bell pepper

1 cup pre-chopped onion

1 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 (6.5-ounce) packages light Boursin cheese

Cooking spray

4 ounces (about 1 cup) pre-shredded, reduced-fat cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine broth, salt, pepper and Boursin cheese in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cheese mixture to chicken mixture and toss.

Spoon mixture in to 13-by-9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover; stir and top with cheddar cheese. Bake 10 minutes more. Serving size is about 1 cup.

Cooking Light

Editor’s Note: I made several changes. First, I used rotisserie chicken from the grocery story. I omitted the celery and used a handful of red, orange and yellow peppers. I used the entire can of chicken broth and omitted the Boursin cheese. After the first 35 minutes of cooking, I stirred the casserole to incorporate spaghetti that hadn’t cooked all the way. Then I let it cook, covered, for another 5 minutes. I mixed in about 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese and put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes for the cheese to melt. When you mix the ingredients, make sure the noddles are wet and incorporated in the chicken mixture. We had a few crunchy noodles!