I made a yummy healthy casserole the other night – turkey, vegetables, noodles & a light cream sauce. Wait, how did I make a cream sauce light and healthy? First, I did NOT use any condensed cream of XYZ soup (that’s what I call cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery, etc). Second, I did NOT use fat-free half-and-half nor fat-free sour cream nor fat-free cream cheese. I generally don’t like using any of those products because there are too many items on the ingredient list that I can’t pronounce. What I did use was evaporated fat-free milk. It’s my secret ingredient when I want the creamy taste but not the calories of cream. Because evaporated milk is just regular milk that has had half of the water removed, it’s thick & creamy. I guess my secret ingredient is not so secret any more.
I started out looking for a non-sandwich recipe to use up a bunch of deli sliced turkey that I had. The first idea that came to mind was a tetrazzini casserole. And, it just evolved from there. I used the extra-wide curly noodles that my youngest likes but found a whole grain version. I threw in lots of vegetables to up the nutrition factor. The veggies that I used were mushrooms, red bell pepper & broccoli but you could use whatever you have in your fridge. Also, the casserole would be just as good with leftover Thanksgiving turkey or cooked diced chicken or even cubes of ham.
- 12 oz. whole grain extra wide curly noodles
- Spray oil
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 12-oz. can fat-free evaporated milk
- 2 c. broccoli florets
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 3 cups sliced deli turkey, cut into 1/2″ squares
- 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
- 3 Tbsp. panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1/4 tsp. paprika (I use the sweet paprika)
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Par-cook broccoli in microwave until just barely al dente and bright green (it takes about 3 minutes in my microwave). Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°.
Coat a large non-stick sauté pan with spray oil and heat over high heat. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms to pan and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid, stirring constantly.
Mix chicken broth, Italian seasoning & cornstarch. Add to pan and heat until it just barely starts simmering & thickening. Reduce heat to medium. Add evaporated milk and mix well. Add broccoli, red pepper, turkey & noodles and mix thoroughly. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Transfer turkey-noodle-vegetable mixture to a 9″x13″ baking pan coated with spray oil. Coat a piece of foil with spray oil & cover the pan with spray side down. Place in oven & bake for 20 minutes.
Mix Parmesan, panko & paprika. Remove foil from casserole & sprinkle Parmesan-panko mixture on top. Bake for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!