– Oodles of turkey leftovers? These portable mac & cheese lets are a delicious kid-friendly solution. –
Ok. The tryptophan haze has set in, as have the food coma, carb dive, and sugar crash. The dishes are done, the excess pie and casserole pawned off to friends and family in the last of your Tupperware. But if yours is anything like this household, you’ve likely got a metric ton of turkey leftovers sitting in a huge zip-top back in your fridge. What do with with it all? Well, besides turkey minestrone soup, healthy turkey-stuffed cabbage rolls, or an amazingly hearty turkey chili, why not try a unique macaroni and cheese dish from Melt?
Cooked in a muffin tin, these adorable individual mac-and-cheeselets are a good way to use up all that leftover turkey while exercising portion control… assuming you eat just one or two and not, like, seven. They are a perfect portable snack when Christmas shopping, hiking in the woods, or sitting through the long drive or flight home from wherever you celebrated your holiday. Just toss a few in a baggie and head out. They taste great at room temp!
And, kids love these little hand-held treats, chowing them with great delight. If you like, you can add a 1 cup of finely chopped broccoli to sneak some veg into their diets. We top them with a little cranberry sauce for added brightness (and because we’ve got leftover cranberry sauce sitting right next to the turkey in the refrigerator).
Robusto is a Gouda-style cheese made with the same cultures used for Parmesan, so it has a Gouda-like personality while maintaining the sharp nuttiness that makes Parmesan so delightful. But don’t let cheese selection stop you. You can also use regular Gouda, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, or your favorite Swiss cheese for this recipe.
Here’s me making the turkey and gouda mac and cheeselets on KATU’s AM NorthWest morning show.
This recipe came from my new cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese. I hope you enjoy it.
Indulge in some Thanksgiving turkey leftovers bliss! Makes 12 to 16 mac -and -cheeselets
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 6 ounces cooked turkey, shredded (about 1¼ cups)
- 12 ounces Gouda, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, or Swiss cheese, shredded, divided
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup cranberry sauce or cranberry jam
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Drain again and set aside.
- Once the macaroni has cooled, toss it with the turkey, 5 ounces of cheese, and sage in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. To prepare the mornay sauce, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the milk starts to steam and tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat. Place the olive oil in a medium saucepan and heat over medium flame. Add the flour and stir with a flat-edge wooden paddle just until the roux begins to take on a light brown color, scraping the bottom to prevent burning, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk and stir constantly until the sauce thickens enough to evenly coat the back of a spoon—a finger drawn along the back of the spoon should leave a clear swath. Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper. Add 5 ounces of the remaining cheese to sauce, reserving 2 ounces, and stir until completely melted.
- Temper the eggs by slowly pouring ¼ cup of the mornay sauce into the bowl with the eggs while whisking continually. Once combined, add the eggs to the rest of the mornay and whisk together. Carefully fold the pasta into the mornay sauce.
- Spoon macaroni and cheese into the cups of a well-greased muffin tin. Two or three good spoonfuls per cheeselet should be fine, and they shouldn’t be too heaping big. Level with the pan is just enough. Top each with some of the remaining Robusto and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown. Cool for 3 minutes and serve with a few spoonfuls of cranberry jam.