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  by Barb Shelton

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Make a Thanksgiving Memories Casserole!

March 2, 2017

A family we knew through Dave's job had recently had a new baby, and I had taken them a Thanksgiving Memories Casserole a couple days before. I had just now stopped by to pick up the baking dish I'd brought it in, (I'd broken my own rule of taking meals to people in disposable containers), and as I grabbed my baking dish, they thanked me again, saw me out, and closed the door behind me.

 

"Another mission happily accomplished" I thought on my way out to my car, when the husband called out to me from their front door: "Hey, Barb! I just have to tell you ~ your Thanksgiving Casserole ~ it just ~ makes sense!" 

 

 

And that's a perfect way to put it, because, really, it does just make sense!!!! It combines the best flavors of Thanksgiving into one yummy tummy-and-heart-warming dish!!!

 

This family-favorite casserole originated with my dear friend, Jean Merritt, who made what she called "Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole" using actual leftovers from Thanksgiving! 

 

I made this for my family, and we all loved it. So do the people I take it to as one of my two go-to dishes for taking meals to people as part of our meal-taking ministry. 

 

However, because we had this during the rest of the year ~ many months after Thanksgiving ~ I felt that the word "Leftovers" in the title needed to be changed. The idea of having "leftovers" from a Thanksgiving that was ten months ago was just ~ well, not exactly appetizing!!! 

 

So that's why I changed it from "Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole" to "Thanksgiving Memories Casserole"!

 

First, here are the basic four components you'll need, and not really in any particular order:

 

grated cheese 

mashed potatoes   

stuffing (dressing)

chicken or turkey

   

 

You can use ANY form of these four ingredients.  Make them up from prepared mixes, which is what I usually do...

  

  

...OR use actual, real-life leftovers from an actual Thanksgivingesque dinner ~ like we did for Easter last year! (Yes, these are the actual leftovers from our actual Easter Dinner last year!) 

  

  

I also want to mention that, in the original recipe, Jean uses leftover gravy somewhere in there, too, probably on top of the turkey and potatoes. 

 

And she did not use grated cheese on the top. That was the idea of my husband Dave ~ who tops pretty much everything with cheese. Unless your gravy is nice 'n' thick, it could make it a little soggy. So use or don't use gravy, as you so desire.

   

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So here's what you do:

 

THE RECIPE

 

1)  Cook the mashed potatoes according to the package instructions. Or open up your tub of leftover mashed potatoes.

 

2)  Cook the stuffing according to the package instructions. (When making these from packages, I start both the stuffing and the potatoes at the same time.) Or open up your tub of leftover stuffing.

 

 

3)  Open and drain the can of chicken and run a knife through it several times to break it down into smaller chucks. (I have done so above.) Or open up your bag of leftover turkey or chicken. (Pretty complicated thus far, eh? Stick with me!!!)

 

4)  Optional: Spray a layer of Pam or spread a layer of butter in the baking dish, but you probably don't really have to unless you have a dish that things tend to stick to. 

 

5)  Spread the potatoes fairly evenly over the bottom of the baking dish:

   

 

6)  Sprinkle and spread the chicken or turkey over the potatoes:

   

 

 

[6-b)   If you're going to use gravy, now is a good time to add that.]

 

7)  Scoop chunks of the stuffing over the chicken or turkey, and then press them down somewhat evenly.  (I like to use my small Pampered Chef scoop to do this!)

   

 

8)  Sprinkle on how ever much grated cheese you want for the final layer. 1 cup is good, but I just grab it out of the bag and sprinkle away! (When grandpunkins are here, I also end up dropping a few bites of cheese into their open-like-baby-birdies' mouths!)

     

 

9)  If you just made it and everything is still warm, you only need to bake it long enough to heat through the meat and get the whole thing from "warm" to "hot" ~ which is about 15 to 20 minutes at 350.  If you have refrigerated or frozen it, completely thaw before baking for about 30 to 40 minutes.

 

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SHARING THE YUMMINESS!

 

 

Do you know anyone who's sick"  ...  An elderly person who's having a hard time cooking for themselves?  ...  A single mom who could use a little help?  ...  A family with a new baby?

   

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As you can see, there are four casseroles in the next photo. For three of those above-mentioned situations, I made up a double batch and it fit nicely into two 8" X 8" square foil (disposable) baking pans plus a foil loaf pan. The fourth one ~ in the small glass baking dish ~ was for Dave and me, since it's just the two of us at home now and we don't need large batches of food like we used to.

 

 

Let me know if you do this, and any variations you try! I'm sure you'll find that it's...

 

 

a quick 'n' easy

way to warm tummies

and hearts at the

same time!

 

 

 

 

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