A delicious leftover turkey casserole with noodles and white sauce, this noodle casserole will become a family favorite.
Christmas is over again… Too bad, I love Christmas time and I am always sorry when it comes to an end. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, a warm house, good food and lots of people around.
We have been having the same Christmas for 10 years now, ever since our first child was born. Meaning: we spend the evening of the 24th in our house with parents-in-law and brother-in-law. I cook (too much again), then we move to the living room and exchange presents.
Best time of the evening for the kids. 🙂
After all presents are unpacked, we have dessert. No point of having dessert directly after dinner, we are pretty full and the children just cannot stand it anymore, they are so impatient about the presents, there’s no way they can stay put any minute longer.
The next day, Christmas day, we have lunch at my mother-in-law’s house, always the same food, but always delicious: roast goose with German bread dumplings, red cabbage and sprouts in white sauce. Typisch deutsch! Typical German! 🙂 And dessert.
We spend the rest of the afternoon chatting, drinking coffee, playing games with the children, maybe going for a walk. Everything calm and easy and so Christmassy.
Leftover turkey pasta recipe
This is a noodle casserole recipe I make very often. Not only with leftover turkey, but with leftover chicken as well. Or I cook some chicken breast just for this purpose.
It is a recipe my son once found in a magazine, he couldn’t even read at the time, but he was hungry and the picture of the noodle casserole made him even hungrier.
So, I cooked that for him and I have been cooking it regularly ever since. I have changed the recipe quite a lot during this time, the recipe was too complicated for every day cooking, too many steps and too many pots to wash when finished.
But now, the leftover turkey recipe with noodles got as easy as it can get and it taste just as good as it did in the first place.
Ingredients for the turkey noodle casserole
I do have quite a few recipes using leftover turkey, we eat quite a lot of turkey and not only during the winter holiday season. If you would like more ideas, have a look at our favorite leftover turkey fricassee, leftover turkey soup or this leftover turkey lasagna.
The recipe for leftover turkey noodle casserole is very versatile. And a leftover recipe through and through. You can make it using not only leftover meat pieces, but also using leftover cooked noodles and any kind of leftover cheese (or a mixture of several leftover cheese sorts) you happen to have in the fridge.
As mentioned above you can make the noodle casserole using leftover turkey, leftover chicken or you can cook a small chicken breast and use that. And I can totally imagine making this noodle casserole with cooked ham or even pork roast leftovers.
The quantity of meat you need is also not a settled matter. I use more or less 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ 1 ¼ cups chopped meat, but if you have a bit more or less is fine.
I use any kind of noodles I happen to have, if there is an open noodle bag in my pantry, then I will be sure to use that. Leftover cooked noodles can also be used.
When it comes to cheese for the turkey noodle casserole, I use mostly Gouda because that is the most common and cheapest type of cheese eaten in Germany.
But otherwise, you can use pretty much any kind of cheese you like. I would not go for only mozzarella, for instance, because mozzarella is pretty mild in taste and you might miss the cheesy taste then.
But you can definitely use a mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan (or another stronger tasting kind of cheese), you can use Swiss cheese, different types of hard cheese or any kind of cheese leftovers you have in your fridge.
I mixed most of the grated cheese in the white sauce, which makes the sauce even creamier and tastier. I only leave a small amount of cheese to top the turkey noodle casserole, to make it golden and nice.
Sides for the leftover turkey casserole
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz pasta (Note 1)
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 medium onion (about 100 g/ 3.5 oz)
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 250 ml/ 8.4 fl.oz/ 1 cup milk
- 150 g/ 3.5 oz/ 1 ½ cup grated Gouda (Note 2)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- a few gratings of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (more or less to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 150 g/ 3.5 oz/ 1 ¼ cup chopped leftover turkey (See note 3)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a casserole dish.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Let drain well.
In the meantime, halve and slice the onion. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a non-stick saucepan. Cook the onion slices for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Add the finely chopped garlic and stir for another minute. Remove to a bowl or small plate.
Melt the remaining tablespoon butter in the same saucepan. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir it for one minute. Slowly start adding the milk while whisking all the time to avoid the formation of clumps. If you do happen to have too many clumps anyway, you can save the sauce by blending it shortly with a hand held blender.
Let the sauce bubble gently for about 2 minutes while stirring very often. Take it off the heat and stir in ¾ of the grated cheese, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Give the cooked pasta and the chopped turkey meat to the casserole dish and mix them well.
Separate the eggs. Give the egg yolks to the sauce and stir very well to incorporate.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the sauce.
Give the sauce to the casserole dish and mix everything together. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake the noodle turkey casserole for about 20 minutes until heated through and golden.
Let rest for about 5 minutes and serve as suggested above.
Note 1: You can use any kind of pasta you happen to have. If using spaghetti, you might want to break them once to make them shorter.
Note 2: Or any kind of strong tasting cheese you happen to have. Cheddar, for instance, would be perfect as well.
Note 3: A little more or less meat would be fine. Cooked chicken or cooked ham could be used instead.