Christmas Leftovers

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I’m guessing you’ve already used your leftover Christmas turkey.

In a perfect world, I would have posted this recipe while you still had turkey in your fridge, and were looking for ways to use it. In a less perfect world, I’d shrug my shoulders and keep the recipe until next December.

But I have a great turkey recipe, and a great story to go with it, and neither can wait another eleven months.

Here’s the story:

For Christmas this year we had a small family gathering, so I requested a 12 to 14 pound turkey. When I went to pick it up, the assistant butcher searched high and low behind the counter. He conferred with the main butcher, who joined him in the hunt as I watched and waited.

They finally joined me at the counter and told me the expected smaller turkeys hadn’t come in yet that day. Hence, they had nothing smaller than a 20 pound bird. However, they’d give it to me for the price of 14 pounds. Which meant I had two things: a well-priced turkey that barely squeezed into my roasting pan; and a lot of leftover meat.

The next day, I pulled out my turkey tetrazzini recipe, the one I make every December. We love this casserole, but it’s equally terrific when made with leftover chicken – or with chicken cooked especially for the purpose of tetrazzini. Which means you (and I) don’t have to wait until next Christmas to enjoy it!

Turkey (or Chicken) Tetrazzini
(adapted from Martha Stewart

Note: If you have loads of leftover turkey, double the recipe for two casseroles. The second one freezes really well, and makes an easy meal later.


1/3 pound (about 140 grams) linguine, broken in half
1 Tbsp butter (first amount)
3/4 pound mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4” thick
salt and pepper
2 - 3 Tbsp butter (second amount; use just enough to make a nice paste with the flour)
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine
1 1/4 cups grated white cheddar or parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, cubed
1/2 cup frozen peas


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta until just al dente; drain and rinse in cold water (to prevent sticking) before draining again.

In the meantime, melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until tender and browned, about 6 – 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

To make sauce, melt remaining butter in the same saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Continuing to stir, gradually add milk, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and add 1 cup of the cheese and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

In the pasta pot, add sauce, chicken, peas and mushrooms. Toss well to combine. Pour into a shallow 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

If baking now, bake about 30 minutes.

If freezing, let casserole cool to room temperature before covering with foil and putting in the freezer. To cook at a later date, place frozen casserole in a preheated 400 degree oven for 1 hour (longer if you aren’t using a shallow dish).


Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Hi Beth, we are having guests for 6 nights, this would be a wonderful dinner to fix everyone, thanks for the inspiration! Pinned and making.

grace said...

i often feel like leftovers are even better than the original dish, and that looks to be the case here! yummy creation, beth!

Stephen Tremp said...

Happy New Year Beth ... I do like a good casserole. As long as there is no sour cream. I'm going to try this making two and freezing one. Thanks!

Valerie Gamine said...

This looks delicious, Beth! Love the addition of mushrooms & cheese. I'd happily be haunted by this leftover. :D

We Are Not Martha said...

I might have to make another turkey JUST to make this with the leftovers... It looks lovely :)


scrambledhenfruit said...

This looks really good! I don't have leftover turkey, but I have one in the freezer that's taking up too much room and I'm about to pull it out. I'll be sure to have leftovers for this then! (I also have a Christmas jam recipe that would go fabulously with this, but I never got around to posting it in December. Maybe I'll take your lead and not wait eleven months to do it!)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Happy New Year, Beth! Glad the turkey fit in the oven. And the recipe looks great.

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

I just love turkey (or chicken!) tettrazini. I was so disheartened that my (everyone's!) favorite food writer, Laurie Cohen, despised it. Oh, well. In my perfect world, I would have posted my Christmas recipes earlier, too. Can you see my shoulders shrug? Happy New Year, Beth!

Marcela said...

I love it! This is such a great idea for a dish, Beth!

Pam said...

I love making tetrazzini with holiday leftovers. This one looks hearty & comforting.

Gloria Baker said...

Look delicious! I love leftovers!!
Happy new year Beth!

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

How fun! I usually make my turkey the week after Christmas when there are lots of people around and I am tired of cooking!

Lavender and Lime ( said...

Well, that was a bargain! I managed to have no left overs after our dinner which was perfect :)

Barbara said...

That brought back memories, Beth. We always had a New Year's Eve party and I served turkey tetrazzini every time!

Joanne said...

Haha that is a GREAT story! What an awesome Christmas gift!

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

I'm glad you didn't wait 11 months to post this! We used to eat turkey tetrazzini growing up + I had totally forgotten about it! I'd love to do a new twist on it with chicken (since I've grown to like chicken much more than turkey for some reason). Thanks for the awesome inspiration!! =)

Catherine said...

Dear Beth, How could you say "no" to such a good deal. I actually like left over turkey better than the first day.
I hope you holidays were joyful and beautiful.
Wishing you a Happy and very Blessed New Year. xo Catherine

Juliana said...

Happy New Year Beth!
I would love to have leftover turkey or chicken just to make this sure sounds and looks delicious.
Have a great week :)

Kitchen Riffs said...

What a deal! Lucky you. Although sometimes it isn't a deal when you can't really use the extras. Fortunately, there are so many great recipes for leftover turkey. Like this one! Really excellent. Thanks. And Happy New Year!

Angie's Recipes said...

This is definitely a crowd pleaser and a great use of leftover too, Beth.

Anonymous said...

Funny story about your turkey, and good idea for the leftovers. I probably won't be making a turkey for awhile, but I may try the recipe with one of those Rotisserie Chickens. Happy New Year!

Claudia said...

Love the tale of your "Christmas gift." Well done to the butcher/grocer! And love the recipe. I do have leftover ham .... and a turkey in the freezer - so likely will have leftovers. Now I know where to go! Happy New Year, Beth! May it bring all good things.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Your recipes look so good! We have indeed eaten all of our Christmas turkey, but we do have some throughout the year, so I'll bookmark this in my Recipes folder in Pocket so I have it for when we do have turkey. Thanks!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

Happy New Year my friend! These leftovers were definitely well used, what a delicious dish :D

Choc Chip Uru

lisa is cooking said...

How great to end up with lots of extra turkey! I'm now realizing that I've never made turkey tetrazzini and have no idea how that's never happened. I need some leftover turkey or chicken!

Monica said...

That's seriously some delicious "leftovers". I feel like cooking some turkey just to make this because I don't think I've ever had tetrazzini despite hearing/seeing it many times. I think I'm missing out. I love the freeze-ability, too! And good story about the turkey deal!

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