Looking for a way to use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey? Looking for a way to use the Caramelized Onions you made last week? We have you covered. Look no further than this homemade Baked Macaroni Cheese with Turkey and Caramelized Onions. The perfect fall/winter/holiday/leftover/late night/early morning/any-time-you-need-it comfort food. Read further and scroll to the bottom for the recipe!
Baked Macaroni and Cheese. One of my absolute favorite foods. Carbs and cheese, nothing but goodness if you ask me! Add some savory caramelized onions and some protein and it’s a full meal. Ok, ok, if you really need greens you can add a salad on the side, but trust me, it won’t be the salad you will be dreaming about the next day.
Don’t be daunted by this recipe. It looks complicated, but it’s really not. It is as simple as making a roux, turning it into a cheese sauce and adding seasoning. Then mix the cheese sauce with the macaroni, turkey and caramelized onions. Add some crunch to the top and bake until browned and bubbly. Simple. Homemade baked macaroni and cheese that your whole family can enjoy at home, but you’ll swear tastes like it is from a restaurant.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Turkey and Caramelized Onions
Looking for a use for your leftover Thanksgiving turkey? Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Turkey and Caramelized Onions is the perfect comfort food.
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (divided into 1/4 cup and 2 Tablespoons)
- 11 sage leaves (10 whole leaves and 1 leaf chopped finely)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups skim milk, warmed
- 4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
- 8 ounces gruyere, shredded (approximately 2 cups)
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (approximately 2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
- 2 cups turkey, shredded or cubed
- 1 cup caramelized onion
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni (cooked and drained according to package directions)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Place 10 sage leaves and butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter is melted. Remove sage leaves and place on a paper towel lined plate. Add garlic to melted butter and stir for 30 seconds.
Whisk in flour until it forms a paste. Slowly add warmed milk and whisk until no lumps remain. Add Neufchatel cheese, gruyere and sharp cheddar, stir until melted and smooth. Simmer for 10 minutes until cheese sauce thickens. (if you haven't started cooking your macaroni noodles yet, now is the time)
Add salt, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage, and fresh thyme to cheese sauce.
Melt remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter in a microwave safe bowl. Stir in panko and grated parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Pour cooked macaroni noodles into a 9x13inch casserole dish (approximately 3-4 quarts). Add turkey and caramelized onions and carefully stir to combine.
Pour cheese sauce into casserole dish, covering noodles. Stir once more to combine. Top with panko/parmesan mixture.
Bake macaroni and cheese for 30-35 minutes until edges are bubbly and topping is golden.
Warming the milk before adding it to the butter/flour roux makes it easier to incorporate.
This recipe works with leftover holiday turkey, precooked turkey breast, or you could substitute chicken or bacon. Leave the turkey out if you prefer a vegetarian version.
Don't have Neufchatel cheese? You can substitute regular cream cheese or another 1/2 cup of skim milk.
Don't like gruyere? Gruyere hard to find? You can use all sharp cheddar cheese, or combine mild cheddar and sharp cheddar cheeses.
Avoid preshredded cheese if possible for this macaroni and cheese, the preshredded versions contain an anticaking agent which sometimes hinders their melting smoothly. Buy your cheese in blocks/wedges and shred using your food processor.
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What we used:
Soup pot. I like to use my 4 quart soup pot (not my huge 8 quart pot) to make the cheese sauce, because it is a big enough pot that I can easily stir without worrying about making a mess.
Whisk. You’ll need a whisk for making your roux and whisking into your milk. I love this one.
Casserole Dish. It is totally worthwhile to have a good casserole dish that not only bakes well, but also looks great on your table. I love my LeCreuset heritage casserole dish (9 inch by 13 inch). Confession time: I bought mine on deep discount at HomeGoods.
Wooden Spoons. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Wooden spoons are my go to for everything. Stirring, mixing, combining, scraping. I thrown them away, and I buy cheap ones, so if they don’t do well in the dishwasher on the millionth wash, no problem, I throw them away and buy more.
Dish Towels. I am loving these flour sack dish towels. I use them for cleaning, for drying dishes, for styling photos. Versatile and so inexpensive!