Tuesday, November 22, 2011

6 Turkey Casseroles from the Great Divan Divide Freezer Meal Tutorial (and Printable)

Friday I will be on NBC 12 Morning show at 5:45 AM talking about some great ways to use those turkey left-overs! So, I decided that I'd share the recipes here on the blog that I'll be using for the show! It's a cross between Tutorial Tuesday and Freezer Friday...but I don't think you'll mind. Plus, I'll be busy with Turkey Day and family stuff the next few days. 

Six Casseroles with One basic recipe –
a Chef Tess Bakeresse™ Tutorial
by Chef Stephanie Petersen

The Great Divan Divide...6 amazing casseroles out of one recipe ! Welcome to yet another Freezer Meal Friday. I'm Chef Stephanie Petersen for those just joining us. Every Friday I host a freezer meal idea. This week, we have six. Yes. Six. I couldn't figure out how to break it up without losing the amazing effect of what you can accomplish in a short time. A house divided against itself cannot stand. That cannot be said about casserole. If you served the same flavorless casserole every week to your family, week in and week out, would they eventually get so bored they would start punting hot chunks of molten sauce drenched casserole across the dining room table in protest? Not today. I joined my darling friend Lisa for an Evil Think Tank freezer meal session to see if a Divan recipe could be made into several different varieties of casserole. The recipe we divided was actually so bland that it may be one of the best classic examples of plain American food I've ever seen. Right up there with milk toast. Granny eats milk toast. Yeah, that's all I have to say about that. Lisa opened up her kitchen. She had the main ingredients for the original recipe and we raided the fridge and pantry to create the rest. That is what we do at an Evil Think Tank...we use what we have and we create. Needless to say, this ensuing brilliance was a welcome change. Six casseroles...all very different and all very flavorful. Not bad for a couple hours in the kitchen. Am I right? 
I originally did this tutorial with a lot of pictures and chicken here. 
Southwestern Chipotle Turkey and black bean
Turkey Primavera and pesto
French Style Turkey with bacon, mushroom and Swiss
Spicy Oriental Turkey with black-bean and Peanut Sauce
Polynesian Curry Turkey
Buffalo Turkey with Bacon and Cheese
We used microwave safe containers since Lisa wanted to just be able to pop them in her micro to cook them. It is fine to use freezer safe casserole pans if you want to bake the casseroles in the oven as well. Might I also suggest if you are making the smaller size casseroles for a family of 2 adults with one or two small children to use loaf pans. Those work perfectly. So...let the wild rumpus start.
Basic Turkey Divan Grande
Recipe yields 6 casseroles for a family of 4 (or 12 casseroles for a family of 2)
You will need:
10 lb skinless boneless turkey breast and thigh meat cooked and chopped,
Salt, pepper, granulated onion and granulated garlic
4 10 -oz packages frozen broccoli
8 oz mixed frozen Italian veggies
8 oz bell pepper, frozen
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c butter or oil
4 c chicken stock
4 c milk
4 c shredded Swiss(divided into 2 c portions)
1 lb of cooked bacon (divided into 1/2 lb portions)
6 oz cooked sausage (southwest seasoned)
2 oz basil pesto
8 oz sliced mushrooms, sauteed and seasoned with salt and pepper (divided in 2 portions)
Pantry items on hand:
2 T peanut butter
2 T soy sauce
1/2 jar Frank's hot sauce
15 ounces diced tomatoes
drained (we used Fresh & Easy marinated tomatoes)
15 oz can of black beans
1/4 c raisins
1 small can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 small can roasted chipotle chiles (green chiles will work)
Pantry Seasonings:
curry powder, ground ginger, ground mustard, ground white pepper, Chef Tess fajita seasoning,
Chef Tess Italian seasoning, Chef Tess All Purpose Seasoning, celery seed, dry lemon zest, black pepper, 2 bay leaves ground rosemary,
Fresh herbs...
Thyme, basil, oregano, dill, parsley and tarragon.
If your family won't eat fresh green stuff like this, by all means use dry...but use something.
Chop the herbs separately. I placed them in separate containers to keep a little order.
Chop the Turkey into chunks and season well with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and onion or
Chef Tess All Purpose Seasoning.
Line up your casserole dishes. Six or twelve depending on the size of your family. We needed to label each casseroles so we didn't get confused about what went where.
  • Southwestern Chipotle Turkey and Black Bean
  • Turkey Primavera and Pesto
  • French Turkey bacon mushroom and Swiss
  • Spicy Oriental Turkey with black-bean and peanut sauce
  • Polynesian curried Turkey
  • Buffalo Turkey, bacon, and Cheese
Divide the frozen broccoli between the casserole dishes. In one of the dishes add the mixed
Italian veggies and bell peppers (see top middle?).
Divide the sauteed mushroom in half and add them to two of the plain broccoli pans as well.
Take seasoned turkey chunks...Divide the turkey between the six casseroles.
The frozen veggies help keep that turkey cool while you make the sauce and add your flavor ingredients. You want them cold. I promise.

We made two different base sauces. One based on turkey stock and one based on milk. I prefer to make my own so I can control the ingredients, but also so I can control the cost. It's much cheaper than buying prepared gravy jars. However, if you do buy the jars, make sure it is low sodium.
Let's make the sauce.
You will need two half gallon sauce pans. In the bottom of each pan
melt 1/4 c butter over medium heat. When melted add 1/4 c flour to each pan and whisk well. It will be the consistency of loose wet sand. Cook this butter and flour mixture, called a roux, for 3-5 minutes stirring constantly. This cooks some of the start out of the flour and make you sauce have a smooth velvet texture. Pour 4 cups milk into one pan and 4 cups stock into the other. Stir constantly to avoid lump. Each sauce pot gets 1 bay leaf , 1 tsp granulated garlic,1 tsp onion powder, and 1/2 tsp pepper. I also add a hint...just a breath...of ground clove to the sauces. Not too much or it will taste likeChristmas pudding sauce instead of a nice subtle hint of happiness.
Simmer on low heat stirring every few minutes so the sauce doesn't burn. It needs to cook 15-20
minutes. This gives you time to add all the flavor agents to the casserole pans.
When sauce is cooked, divide each sauce into 3 containers. This will
give you 3 milk sauces and 3 turkey sauces 1 1/3 c each.

Fourth: Make the 6 casseroles

1.Curry Polynesian Turkey and Pineapple
Add 1 tsp curry powder and 1/2 tsp black pepper to one of the turkey sauces. Stir well. Oh...and if you find that dang bay leaf, take it out. If you don't the sauce will be overpowered by bay. To one of the plain broccoli turkey casseroles, add raisins and pineapple. Top with curry sauce and ease the sauce into the casserole.

2.Spicy Oriental Turkey with black beans and peanut sauce
To one of the broccoli, turkey and mushroom casseroles, add half the can of black beans.
To one of the chicken sauces add 2 T peanut butter 2 T soy sauce 1 tsp granulated garlic 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 2-3 tsp hot sauce. Mix well. Add to the turkey and black bean casserole.

3.Southwestern Chipotle Turkey, sausage and black bean:
To one of the plain chicken and broccoli casseroles, add cooked sausage and the other half of the black beans. Top with half the can of diced tomatoes (we used marinated tomatoes). Add a tablespoon of fresh oregano, sprinkled over the casserole.
To the last turkey sauce, add 2-3 Tablespoons chopped chipotles or green chiles and 1 tsp fajita or taco seasoning. Pour over the casserole.

4.Savory Buffalo Turkey and Bacon with Cheese Casserole
Add 1/2 lb of cooked bacon to one of the plain chicken and broccoli casseroles. Sprinkle with T fresh chopped parsley if desired.For the sauce, use one of the milk sauces.
Because we used 3 T of hot sauce that contains vinegar in it, we had to do something to keep the vinegar from curdling the milk sauce. 1/8 tsp baking soda will neutralize the acid without changing the flavor of the sauce. We also wanted the sauce to taste like buffalo with ranch dressing and celery so we added 1/4 tsp celery seed 1 tsp onion granules 1 tsp garlic granules and 1 T chopped parsley. The acid will react to the soda a bit by bubbling. Don't worry, it won't overflow like that science project volcano you made in third grade. Pour the sauce over the bacon and turkey casserole. Top with half the grated Swiss cheese.

5. Turkey Primavera with Pesto
To the chicken casserole with the broccoli and Italian veggies add the remaining half of the
diced tomatoes. Sprinkle with the following fresh herbs (if you use dry herbs cut measures in half) 1 T basil 1 T oregano 1 T parsley Add 2-3 T fresh basil pesto 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper 1 tsp chef tess Romantic Italian seasoning to a milk sauce. Combine well. Pour over the casserole and work it into the ingredients a bit. You can top with Parmesan cheese if desired (not listed in grocery list).

6. French Chicken Bacon Mushroom and Swiss
To the last casserole with mushrooms, broccoli and chicken add the second half of the cooked bacon. Sprinkle with 1 T each fresh chopped French herbs: Tarragon, parsley, basil, thyme and dill (if you use the dry herbs use 1/2 tsp each).
For the sauce take the last portion of milk sauce and add 2 tsp dry mustard and ½ tsp white pepper. Combine well. Pour over casserole and work into the ingredients a bit. Once combined, top with the last half of the swiss cheese.

You now have six casseroles.
All six are now ready freeze immediately!
To serve the casseroles:
Remove from the freezer and defrost in the fridge overnight (or defrost using the defrost
setting of the microwave). Microwave uncovered on high 13-15 minutes until hot.
Oven: Heat defrosted casserole in oven safe containers, covered, 375 degrees 35-40 minutes and uncover last 5minutes.

There you go. Six to twelve freezer meals are now yours. 
Get the printable  version  Here.
Enjoy my friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Always My Very Best, 
Your Friend Chef Tess


mlebagley said...

There wasn't a check box for AMAZING so I had to leave a comment! This is so DO able - thanks for breaking it down so well! Is there a way to make this gluten free? If not, the boys are going to get some great food without me!

Chef Tess said...

Em if you make the sauce without flour...it's all gluten free! Use Corn flour or rice flour and it will be awesome! Good thing about doing it from scratch is you can control that gluten eh?! Xoxo! Love you!!

mlebagley said...

Brilliant! I didn't know you could use rice flour as a thickner... that rocks!

2Sammi said...

These look wonderful....and so handy. What size containers did you use for the 6 casseroles. Hope you have a Blessed Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.


Chef Tess said...

For a family of four use an 8 in or 9 inch pan. For a family of 2 or one with very small children use a loaf pan (and it will make 12 dinners). Great question Renee!