Sunday, December 27, 2009


It is sometimes a challenge to figure out the many ways to cook or use leftover turkey.  I made a 12 pound turkey on Christmas day and there were leftovers.  Thank goodness I didn't cook the 17 pound turkey that I have in the freezer.  I made up a care package for one of my guests and still had a bag of sliced meat left.  I did freeze the bones to make turkey broth.  

In case you are wondering why there is tin foil sticking out of the bird, the rationale is that I use that to help pull out the dressing/stuffing from the inside cavity.  I learned this trick several years ago from a wonderful cook.  I take a large piece of tin foil, fold it over so that it is double strength and line the bottom of the inside cavity with the tin foil.  The foil will go up the sides a bit.  I then stuff the dressing inside the bird.  I always make more dressing than what can go inside the turkey and the extra dressing gets wrapped into tin foil pouches and baked for the last hour with the turkey in the oven.   Once the turkey is ready to be carved, I pull on the tin foil that is sticking out and the tin foil and stuffing comes out in one piece.  I no longer have to 'scrape' the inside of the bird to get all of the stuffing out.  I know that some cooks use a metal cage that fits inside the bird and holds the stuffing.  

After eating turkey two days in a row, it was time to do something else.  I made turkey vegetable soup today and besides using the turkey I also used some of the leftover mashed potatoes in the soup.   I still had leftover turkey so I decided to check a number of cookbooks and websites for something that would catch my interest to make for supper tonight.  As a break was needed from eating more potatoes, I thought of making a pasta based dish.    The following recipe was adapted from the pioneer woman website and a number of changes were made.  You can improvise and use a variety of vegetables.  I used spaghetti sauce as the tomato base but you can also use canned or fresh diced tomatoes.  I used whole milk and some whipping cream which is unusual for me to have in the fridge.  I bought whole milk, half and half and a cartoon of whipping cream today as I am making ice cream tonight.  One gift that I received is an electric  ice cream maker and I am curious to test it out.

This pasta dish that I made tonight is quite good.  I likely added too much chopped fresh parsley but I didn't mind the taste.  The recipe makes three servings.

Spaghetti with Turkey, Vegetables and Tomato Sauce


1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
½ medium onion, diced
5 mushrooms, chopped
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 cup tomato or spaghetti sauce
1-2 cups of leftover turkey, chopped
½ cup whole milk and 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream if you have on hand
1/4 cup chicken broth (more if required)
salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh chives (or other herbs) chopped


Cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside.
Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add mushrooms and tomato/spaghetti sauce.  Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Add spinach and turkey.  Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook over low heat until heated through, and then turn off heat.
Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan. Pour sauce over the top. Add chives. Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick.

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