For me, the best part about Thanksgiving is the spread of savory side dishes … and of course, the time spent with family and friends. This year, I brought our MMM Sweet Potato Casserole — a healthy makeover of a recipe I found in the New York Times Cookbook — and our Better-For-You Brussels Sprouts Gratin. Not that I’m bragging or anything, but these two health-ified side dishes have quickly become Turkey-Day staples and are now considered “keepers” by the family.
On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, Janice and I share stories from our Thanksgiving dinners and we serve up this hearty and healthy recipe for Turkey Wild Rice Casserole. It’s the perfect dish when you have leftover turkey.
My sister, Marian, makes a mean turkey. I always make the sweet potato casserole and the Brussels sprouts casserole, and the last photo in this set shows how much food my 17-year old son, Josh, took before going up for seconds!
My other job at Thanksgiving is to make the gravy. I use a gravy separator to remove the fat, and then I thicken the gravy with flour. I consider my gravy separator an indispensable kitchen gadget, which is why we are giving one away (read on for details)!
I traveled back from Connecticut with some turkey leftovers, so I decided to use them in a wild rice casserole. For the recipe, I drew inspiration from two fellow food bloggers: Kalyn from Kalyn’s Kitchen and Jenny from Picky Palate. What I came up with was a cheesy mixture of wild and brown rice, sauteed carrots, onion, garlic, and mushrooms, chicken broth, and reduced-fat Cheddar cheese.
The mixture of wild and brown rice in this dish proves how easy it can be to get more whole grains onto the family table. If you’d like to learn more about whole grains, check out my video series, now showing on the LetsMove / MyPlate website.
Turkey Wild Rice Casserole
Makes 8 Servings
Since half of your grains should be whole grains, I chose a mix of wild rice and brown rice … instead of going for white. The wild/brown rice combo added a nice nutty flavor and chewy texture to the casserole. I chose carrots, onions, and mushrooms for my veggies; celery would be nice too. To keep the saturated fat in check, I opted for reduced-fat Cheddar cheese.
- 2 cups wild rice mix (I used a mix of wild rice and brown rice that I found at Whole Foods)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- Pinch celery seed
- 2 cups all-natural chicken broth
- 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
- 1½ cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 cups chopped cooked turkey
- Kosher salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook the rice according to package directions and set aside. You will have about 6 cooked cups.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots and onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 additional minute.
3. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, flour, thyme, and celery seed and cook for 1 minute. Whisk the broth and milk slowly into the flour mixture. Raise the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer and stir gently until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese until melted. Stir in the turkey and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Stir in the rice until well combined. Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish. Top evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until the cheese melts and the casserole is a bit bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 320 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated), 330mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 24g protein, 80% vitamin A, 20% calcium, 10% iron
GIVEAWAY NEWS: We’d never survive Thanksgiving without a gravy separator, so we’re sharing the love and offering one lucky winner a gravy separator they can call their own. Our winner will become the proud owner of the Oxo Good Grips 4-Cup Fat Separator. And to make the giveaway even more special, we’re tossing in a signed copy of our cookbook, No Whine with Dinner! (U.S. only please.)
TO ENTER: Leave a comment here or on Facebook and tell us about the best thing you ate at your Thanksgiving dinner this year … or tell us about the on-location Thanksgiving job you always get assigned.
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Please be sure to leave us a new comment every time you do something extra, and GOOD LUCK. The giveaway ends on December 7 at noon, and as always we’ll use Random.org to pick our winner.
For more photos from my Turkey Day dinner, visit our Flickr page.