Good morning dear readers! It’s been a long week since I last posted. Between Thanksgiving and many a Black Friday sale, I’ve been a very busy girl. Cooking for four days and then shopping for four days is a schedule I could get used to. Alas, it’s back to the daily grind now that I’ve returned to Chicago, and I have to hit the ground running.
I, like you, am still eating turkey and I’m starting to get sick of it. I decided last night that I wanted to make something very homey with my leftover turkey in the spirit of the holidays, something comforting but not at all related to Thanksgiving. In moments like these, there’s only one place to turn: mom.
My mom was (still is) the queen of comfort food. Since there were so many mouths to feed in my family (triplets + me and my dad), casseroles were a staple in my mom’s culinary repertoire, and it’s no wonder why: they’re easy to prepare, warm, comforting and you can hide vegetables in between the layers.
One casserole we kids really loved was my mom’s chicken tetrazzini. Made with spaghetti, creamy canned soup, chicken and peas, we thought it was the best thing to happen to us since sliced bread. It’s probably been almost 10 years since I’ve had it, so I decided to make a version of it last night.
I was feeling lazy after all the Thanksgiving hullabaloo and Christmas decorating (I know y’all are feeling me here), so I decided to forgo making my own cream sauce in favor of those great pantry staples, cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup. Yes, I know, it’s very Sandra Lee semi-homemade of me, but I just wanted deliciousness without all the fuss.
I know many moms out there are going to love this recipe, because almost all the ingredients are probably already in your pantry or fridge. That’s the beauty of casserole recipes—you can change them up based upon whatever is in your fridge.
This creamy, mushroom- and pea-based casserole is a great way to use up that leftover turkey without feeling like you’re actually eating more turkey. (Please, no more turkey! No more cranberries! No more Thanksgiving until next year!) Turkey Tetrazzini is a home-style American dish that’s sure to win over your family, your wallet, and your leftover turkey.
Substitute a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store if you’re out of leftover turkey. Serves 6 to 8, or you can freeze half of it before baking for a later meal. Just cool dish to room temp, wrap with foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. See freezing directions at the bottom of this recipe, courtesy of MarthaStewart.com. Click here to download a copy of this recipe.
1 lb. dried pasta
2 Tbs. kosher salt
4 Tbs. butter
2 onions, chopped
1 (8 oz.) carton of mushrooms, chopped
1 Tbs. dried thyme
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2.5 c. shredded turkey or chicken
1 (10 oz.) bag of frozen peas, partially thawed
2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 c. Italian breadcrumbs
Cook pasta. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to boil. Season water with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Break pasta in half and add to the water, and cook until almost al dente, about 5 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Return pasta to pot.
Make sauce. While the pasta water comes to a boil, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, thyme, and garlic, and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the soups to the veggies, stirring to combine. Add one cup of the reserved pasta water to the sauce to thin it out. Add more pasta water if necessary. The sauce should be smooth, not gloppy. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Combine and bake. Add the finished sauce, turkey, and peas to the pasta in the pan. Stir to combine. Add half the Parmesan cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the pasta mixture into a large baking dish, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs. Drizzle the top with olive oil. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until the casserole is golden brown and bubbling.
To bake from thawed: Thaw in fridge overnight, then bake, covered with foil, at 400˚F until the casserole’s center is warm, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes until top is golden brown.
To bake from frozen: Bake frozen casserole, covered with tin foil, at 400˚ until the center is warm, about 2 hours, then remove foil and bake until top is golden brown, about 20 minutes.