Turkey Enchilada Casserole, Awsome Leftover Makeovers

Do you have turkey left over after the Thanksgiving or holiday meal is finished?  It seems like a holiday turkey goes a long way. Let’s find ways to use the turkey because it is a very low-fat high protein meat. One idea is Turkey Enchilada Casserole; I adapted a recipe from our local newspaper and the casserole received a thumbs up from my family. It didn’t last long. Turkey is rather bland, so I added seasonings, a low-fat cream sauce and wrapped the turkey filling in white corn tortillas topped with cheese, jalapenos and sour cream. Yum!turkey-enchiladas-casserole-img_2536_1

Turkey is s a healthy, low-fat meat so it is worth finding ways to use left-over turkey from a holiday meal. My family likes a flour burrito casserole with chicken and green tomatillo salsa verde. The recipe in the newspaper used corn tortillas and a cream sauce in the filling. Thought I’d try this different variation. I added seasonings and jalapeno peppers which gave zip and complemented the corn tortillas. My family really liked the casserole. It’s a keeper.seasonings-img_2455

The casserole filling includes lots of onions and bell peppers, fresh cilantro along with the spices of chili powder and cumin which give a Mexican flavor. To reduce calories, I made the sauce is with skim milk and chicken bouillon for flavor (or you could use fresh turkey broth). I added sour cream, cheese and jalapenos as a topping for the casserole and served the tortillas with lettuce, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo.casserole-and-toppings-img_2482Making the Recipe

The recipe is a large one; it made 18 filled corn tortillas (5″ diameter) with about 1/3 cup filling each. I used 3 cups of chopped cooked turkey breast.chopping-turkey-img_2459

I would be easy to reduce the quantities by a half or two-thirds.

To make the recipe:

  • First saute the onions and bell peppers in oil until wilted. Add the turkey, cilantro, spices. Set aside.
  • turkey-sauted-with-seasonings-img_2461Make a white sauce of margarine, flour, skim milk and either fresh turkey broth or a chicken bouillon cube dissolved in water. Add part of the cheese. (I showed how I make a white sauce without lumps in last week’s post on “Cauliflower au Gratin.”)
  • turkey-and-seasonings-with-cream-sauce-img_2462Fry each corn tortilla in a little hot oil on both sides. Make sure the oil is hot–smoking; then reduce the heat of the skillet. The tortillas do need to be fried just a little or they have a “raw” flavor. Frying also softens the tortillas so they don’t tear.
  • Add about 1/3 cup of turkey/vegetable/sauce and roll up. Place in oiled casserole dish.filling-and-rolling-up-corn-tortillas
  • Additional cheese, sour cream and well drained jalapeno peppers as toppings. Either cover the entire casserole with the topping or place in a row down the center of each tortilla. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and bake until hot and bubbly; about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.casserole-ready-for-baking-img_2472

Delicious. I say a serving is three tortillas making 6 servings for the casserole. However my family was hungry; they ate more than three!turkey-enchilada-casserole-3

Turkey Enchilada Casserole by MayleesKitchen

  • Servings: 18 tortillas or 6 servings
  • Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups fine chopped or shredded left-over cooked turkey breast (14 oz turkey)
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3 Tbsp margarine
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup skim-milk
  • 1 cup turkey broth or 1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup water
  • salt (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • peanut oil
  • 18 (5″ diameter) white corn tortillas
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup pickled, sliced jalapeno peppers, drained
  • lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo (optional)

Method and Steps

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9″x 13″ casserole dish.
  2. Finely chop or shred cooked turkey breast and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and bell pepper and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, if needed, to avoid burning the onion and bell pepper.
  4. Add the chopped turkey, minced cilantro, chili powder and cumin. Cook and stir until combined and heated through.
  5. Make the white sauce. Melt margarine in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the flour. Cook and stir one minute. Remove from heat. Gradually add the skim-milk, about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring or whisking constantly to blend in the flour. Break up any flour clumps by pressing them against the edge of the pot with wooden spoon. Then add the rest of the milk and turkey broth or chicken bouillon dissolved in water. Return to stove, cook and stir for 3 – 5 minutes until the sauce thickens and bubbles. Add salt (omit if using the chicken bouillon cube or salted turkey broth) and 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese.
  6. Stir in the turkey with vegetables and seasonings. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. In a small non-stick skillet, add about 1 tsp – 3 tsp peanut oil and heat until smoking, then turn heat down to medium.. Add 1 flour tortilla and fry until the tortilla bubbles. Flip over and fry about 30 seconds longer.
  8. Remove the tortilla (with tongs) and place on flat surface (cutting board or plate). Quickly add 1/3 cup turkey filling to center of tortilla. Roll up and place in casserole dish, rolled edges down.
  9. Repeat #7 and #8 until all the tortillas are filled. Add additional oil to the frying pan as needed.
  10. Top the casserole with sour cream, 2 cups sharp shredded cheese and well-drained jalapenos.
  11. Cover tightly with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.
  12. Serve casserole with shredded lettuce, guacamole and pico de gallo (optional).

 

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