Friday, January 14, 2011

Turkey Tetrazzini

The five of us stay home on Christmas Day and enjoy time to together, quiet time, play time and, of course, eating time!  Basically, we just enjoy having TIME!  With all of the running around, and preparations and family gatherings and commitments here and there, it's nice to have that one day to stay home and really focus on the day and what it means.  

I've gotten into the habit of roasting a turkey on Christmas Day and it provides, not only a wonderful meal for us to enjoy, but also, a great deal of meal opportunities in the coming weeks.  The only bad part is having to "pick the bird" on Christmas Day.  I hate that job, but it must be done.  There's too much goodness still hanging on.  

I freeze the turkey in quart-size Ziploc bags and grab a package anytime I need it to make a number of comfort foods that we love so much during this time of year.  This week, I made Turkey Tetrazzini.  It makes a nice big 9x13 pan.  Then I end up with, essentially, leftovers of leftovers!  But it's all good.  Some went in Jenna's thermos for lunch at school the next day and some went with Kevin to work and then I had some for lunch later in the week.  And now it's all gone. 

I tried a new recipe this time around.  In the past, when I have made this dish, I've used the typical "cream of whatever" soup to thicken and bind it together.  Maybe even a little sour cream to add moisture as well.  Don't get me wrong, the recipe I ended up using is anything but low fat or healthy.  But I felt better knowing that I brought it all together without any shortcuts.  No one had basketball or choir practice on this particular night, so I had time on my side.  The result was so yummy.  You can make this with chicken too.  Oftentimes, when I roast a chicken for dinner, we'll eat that and then I'll "pick the bird" and make a casserole with the leftover chicken.  I got a basic recipe from and then I tweaked it here and there to fit our preferences. 

Turkey Tetrazzini
Here's What You Need:
1 box (13.25 oz) angel hair pasta, I use whole wheat
1/4 cup butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt, or less
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (you can use jarred if you don't have fresh mushrooms)
2 cups roughed diced roasted turkey (or chicken)

Here's What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add the pasta and cook for about 4 minutes, until almost tender.  Drain and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion.  Cook the onion until it begins to soften.  Toss in the mushrooms.  (If you are using jarred mushrooms, wait to add them later.)  Now add the flour and slowly blend in the milk.  Stir to prevent lumps.  Add the seasonings:  salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and ground mustard.  Cook this mixture over medium heat and stir constantly so the milk doesn't scorch.  Once this mixture thickens, remove it from the heat and add about 2/3 cup of shredded cheese.  (If you are using jarred mushrooms, add them now.)  Stir until the cheese has completely melted.  Now, combine the cheese sauce with the noodles.  Pour into a 9x13 baking dish and finish off with more shredded cheddar cheese.  I realize that at this point, I should only be sprinkling 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar, but I've never been one to make good judgement calls with cheese.  If a little is good, then a lot is much better!

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese on top is toasted.  All you need is a salad or some other vegetable, or both, to complete this meal. 

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