Debbie Dance Uhrig
This past week folks were still talking about how to use up all the excess turkey from Thanksgiving. Seldom do I ever complain about the ‘left-overs’ from Thanksgiving. Though I love to cook and find great personal satisfaction in doing so, I love a fresh turkey sandwich. No cheese, only salad dressing, lettuce and turkey on fresh bread or leftover dinner rolls. I could enjoy these for a couple days in a row with no problem!
Today at work I mentioned my recipe for Chicken, zucchini and stuffing casserole; surprise, no one had ever heard of it! It’s a dish that works well in the summer when you have tons of zucchini taking over the garden. However after a big holiday it can be a great outlet for the leftover pieces of turkey. Sure the recipe is written for chicken, but turkey works equally as well.
During November and December my culinary classes run late into the afternoon, making it a challenge to get a meal on the table before 7pm. Often I’ll make dinners and put them in the freezer so the guys can start supper before I arrive.
This casserole could be split into (2) 8 x 8 dishes instead of (1) 9 x 13. The gravy guzzlers (like myself) will want to pour gravy over the top of the casserole. Bring on a lettuce salad or fresh vegetables, and this is a full meal. The zucchini keeps the dish nice and moist and it allows us to ‘sneak’ in a vegetable.
Don’t like this approach? Wait, I’ve got some other suggestions. Take the dish down an Italian road. Use Italian Sausage, chopped tomatoes, black olives, eggplant, peppers and/or chopped fresh tomatoes. Whoops, don’t forget the Italian seasonings. On the cheese I would reach for Italian cheeses and parmesan.
With a microwave at work, this is truly a lunchbox meal to go. I wouldn’t mind adding sautéed mushrooms to this dish and perhaps switching out the soup to mushroom. Maybe a light sauté in wine or sherry would add some additional ‘pow’ to the dish. Usually you don’t find me recommending dishes using canned soups. Take some of the excessive turkey, chop it fine, and add finely minced onion and sauté. Mix in half and half or heavy cream and thicken with flour or cornstarch. You just made your own soup with no heavy sodium or msg included.
I’m hoping the next couple of weeks bring me additional rest and time with family. We’ve had a fantastic Thanksgiving with my parents, Betty & Jerry Dance, visiting us from Lewistown, for a few days. Phillip always thinks it’s grand having two good cooks around the house.
It is ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.’ Simply yours, The Covered Dish.
Chicken Zucchini Casserole
2 stovetop chicken stuffing mixes
3 cups shredded zucchini (skins left on)
3 cups chopped chicken or turkey
1 stick of butter, melted
1 can cream of chicken soup
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 ½ cups milk
This will fill a large 9 x 13 baking dish or you can make it into (2) 8 x 8’s. Baking one and freezing the other. Don’t forget to spray the baking pans, mix everything together and place into bakeware. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour. Serves 8-10.