At our house, we make the obligatory turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s rarely the star of the show. Our family gets more excited about the stuffing, sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, even the fresh cranberry sauce, which masks the rather mundane flavor of the turkey itself. Since the turkey is usually not the most exciting part of the meal, the turkey leftovers tend to linger the longest in the refrigerator.

I don’t like any food to go to waste, so sometimes I turn leftover turkey into more interesting dinners post-Thanksgiving, including Turkey Pot Pie and Turkey and Wild Rice Salad. This year, I’ll go with a Southwestern theme for our turkey leftovers, with this Wild Rice and Chili-Corn Casserole. I think it will be a great way to feed lingering relatives something completely different the day after Thanksgiving, while helping me clear the leftovers out of the fridge.

My college roommate Vicki Botnick long ago shared the recipe for this comforting casserole. I like the fact that it only takes 10 or 15 minutes to put together and it brings a whole new set of flavors to our Thanksgiving leftovers.

By the way, if you are making rice and you have extra room in your freezer, you may as well make double what you need. You can refrigerate or freeze leftover cooked rice in a well-sealed container or resealable bag. Reheat cold rice with a sprinkling of water in a microwave oven or in a covered pot over low heat.  Leftover rice is great to have on hand for stirring into soups and casseroles and for making fried rice.

Recipe: Wild Rice and Chili-Corn Casserole

  • Prep Time: 90 min(s)

Give leftover turkey a new lease on life with this recipe for Wild Rice and Chili-Corn Casserole.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice (3 cups cooked wild rice)
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels (or 15 oz. canned corn kernels, drained)
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced (use a smallish onion)
  • 4 oz. canned chopped green chilies, with their liquid
  • 1 – 2 cups fire-roasted salsa
  • 2 cups reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cooked turkey (or use pre-cooked turkey or chicken sausage), chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup nonfat or low fat milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes. (Do this earlier in the day or the day before to make dinner prep faster.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, using 1 cup of the salsa and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese.
  4. Smooth the mixture into the casserole dish and top it with the remaining cheese. Bake it for 45 minutes, or until it is heated through. (Meanwhile, make the parfaits.) Let it cool for about 10 minutes, and serve it topped with salsa, if desired.

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