Friday, April 29, 2011

Glorified Leftovers--or Turkey Tetrazzini

I called this dish Turkey Tetrazzini because if I call it Mac & Cheese, my husband won't eat it.

He likes to eat healthy.

But--I must confess.

This dish is born from my desire to use up a bunch of odds and ends I had in the refrigerator.

I didn't take photos at first because I didn't think it would interest anyone, but then decided it might be a good example of how to use those odds and ends to make something and not have them go to waste.

They will surely go to my waist--I love mac & cheese!

Here are the things I had on hand:

a half-bag of elbow macaroni
1/2 an onion
1 bulb of fennel
heavy cream
turkey breast

parmesan, romano, and an assortment of other leftover cheeses in small blocks

I haven't cooked much with fennel.

But I will be.

It smells so good!

I sliced the fennel really thin because I read in a recipe once that fennel used in salad is shaved.

So I added the fennel to the garlic, onions & mushrooms I sauteed in a little bit of olive oil.

When the fennel was tender, after about 15 minutes or so, I added spinach.

I bought a big bag of spinach at Costco, so we're having it a lot.

Spinach doesn't last too long, so I put two big handfuls in the pan.

I need to use it up.

Besides, it's really good in here.

Stir until the spinach is just wilted, then remove from stove and set aside.

Start cooking the noodles.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pot and add 2 tablespoons of flour.

Stir constantly over medium heat forming a roux.

Don't let the roux brown.

Add about a half-cup of cream and about 3 cups water.

Any combination of milk/cream/chicken broth does fine.

The sauce doesn't have to be thick, it will thicken further after the noodles are added.

I added about a 1/4 cup of romano cheese I had in a container, and about a half-cup of the shredded parmesan.

It will take a few minutes to melt into the sauce, keep stirring, it will incorporate.

I also had some jack cheese, a little bit of smoked mozzarella and some quesadilla cheese, and added those.

Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Mix the noodles and vegetables together with the cheese sauce.

If you have vegetarians, take some out before adding the chopped turkey.

I put it into a casserole dish with a little cheese on top, but I actually think it would be better to just serve it out of the pot.

Baking it makes the spinach lose it's bright green color, and it's much more appetizing without the baking.

Add some fresh basil to make it especially delicious!



I had another The Song Remembers When moment the other day.

If you've been following along, you'll know how the Trisha Yearwood song--The Song Remembers When--is about how a song can transport you to a particular place and time the instant you hear it.

The moment was at Katie Hertel and David Yarian's wedding a couple of years ago.

The Hertels are long time friends, and we were thrilled to go to the Denver, CO area for their daughter's wedding.

Luckily, I took some video and can share it with you.

I love how you can see the emotions on the father and daughter's faces throughout the dance. The emotions reach a crescendo almost in sync with the song, it never fails to bring a tear to my eye whenever I watch it.

Hopefully, the record company will allow the usage. Now you can be included in this touching moment too!

The video will play in a larger format here.

Now...If only I can get a video of Randy Hertel singing....

That would be a treat, too!

No printable recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini yet.


  1. You make leftovers look so gourmet! I tried making a salad with fennel and I must have missed the part about slicing it thin. It was soooo hard to chew. But it does smell wonderful. My husband swears it smells just like cinnamon rolls when you cook it in butter.

  2. I just tried this and, wow, what a fantastic use for my turkey leftovers! I had been searching for something to do with extra turkey from Easter and this fit the bill. Thanks!