Make Holiday Leftovers Disappear With The Girl Ninja’s Casserole
On Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter when we make a huge homemade meal we always have too many leftovers to eat. We try to send guests home with as many leftovers as possible, but we still find ourselves with more leftovers than desired. It’s also a chore heating up all the side dishes and meats individually every time we have holiday leftovers. In addition usually after a day or so my kid is asking do we have to have that again. Also, I could also use a change after a day or two of turkey and mashed potatoes.
The question is what do we do with all these leftovers that the family won’t complain about? How do we transform holiday leftovers into something completely unique?
Some people make soup which is an option, but I make a casserole. The casserole combines so many of our leftovers together, usually I have three or four less containers in my fridge after making my leftover casserole. The removal of multiple leftover containers from the fridge after a holiday always feels like an accomplishment. YES! We Won, We Beat the Leftovers!
Also, when the casserole is served for a meal no one in the family recognizes it as just eating leftovers again. The casserole successfully transforms the leftovers into a meal that the family considers NEW!
Apparently casseroles are magical. So, if you are looking for a quick meal for the family, know that this casserole only takes 25 minutes to combine some leftovers and chop up some celery and meat before it is ready for the oven.
For this casserole you need very few tools and kitchen gadgets to prepare and serve the meal. You can expect to need a casserole dish, a mixing spoon, a cutting board or plate, a fork, a knife for chopping vegetables and/or meat, and it’s optional but I like to use a chopper. I like the chopper because it is faster than a knife (below you can find a link to the chopper I use).
To serve the casserole I recommend using a large serving spoon or spatula. The casserole dish I use in the recipe is 8 x 11.5 inches. If you have more leftovers than what I describe in the ingredients you can increase the amounts and just use a larger casserole dish, just be aware that you will also need to lengthen the cooking time in the oven. I recommend adding about 10 minutes to the time for a casserole dish that is 9 x 13 inches. Also, if you have it I recommend you use a glass casserole dish, the food slides right off when cleaning it after you are all done.
Another option to speed up the prep work is to use bags of frozen vegetables in the recipe, in particular one bag of frozen mixed vegetables could just be dumped in the casserole dish. The frozen bags of vegetables will remove the need for dicing carrots and celery, saving you some time in the kitchen. This is also true for canned veggies, so if you are running low on fresh veggies or veggie leftovers grab a can to toss into your casserole.
If you have space in your kitchen and tools are ready to go below you can find the ingredients list just above the step by step instructions to make a Holiday Leftover Casserole.
1 box of stuffing or equivalent quantity of homemade stuffing (approximately 4 cups)
1 bowl or 1 can of cream of corn or regular corn if you prefer
12 baby carrots (diced)
2 stalks of celery (diced)
1 ½ – 2 cups of diced meat (I prefer ham, but turkey or chicken works just fine too)
Step by Step Instructions
- Pre-heat oven to 400℉
- Mix 1 ½ cups of hot water with box of stuffing and set aside for stuffing to absorb water
- Dice carrots and put in 9×13 casserole dish
- Dice celery and put in casserole dish
- Dump corn in casserole dish
- Dice meat and put in casserole dish
- Mix ingredients in casserole dish
- Lay stuffing evenly over the top of mixed ingredients in casserole dish
- Put casserole dish in oven for 35-40 minutes uncovered
- You will want to keep an eye on it after about 30 minutes, you are looking for the top to become golden and slightly crispy.
- Once the top of the casserole is colored to your liking, remove the casserole from your oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then it is ready to serve.
If you have other vegetables leftover from your holiday meals that are yummy with stuffing try tossing them in and leave in the comments for others to try. I’ve always wanted to try peas in the casserole, I think they would go nicely, but haven’t had any laying around when making the dish in the past. The carrots and celery that we add to the casserole are fresh vegetables, you could use leftovers for these, I just like a little crunch in my casserole.
Some side dishes that go great with this casserole include mashed potatoes and gravy. So, if you have any of those still leftover they can be heated up while your casserole is in the oven. Spinach, biscuits, cranberry sauce, applesauce, and salad are also great side dishes to serve with your Holiday Leftover Casserole. A nice way to top your casserole off as you serve it is with a spoonful or two of gravy. So, if you have leftover gravy this is a great way to add it in.
The family loves the casserole, it’s usually gobbled up within a day or two, and it uses up the majority of our leftovers.
If tummies still have room after your leftover casserole be sure to serve up some leftover pie to top off the night.