By far, one of my favorite days of the whole year is Thanksgiving morning. I can't explain it. There's just something very special and satisfying for me about waking up early to put the turkey in the oven, whipping up some cornbread dressing, mashed potatos, green beans, giblet gravy, rolls, and on and on...I just love it!
Jeremy and the kids watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and I cook in the kitchen. Following lunch, the rest of our day is usually spent with napping, off-and-on snacking of leftovers, and later, pie for dessert! Forget the calorie counting on this special day...It's your choice of pumpkin pie, lemon meringue pie, or chocolate mousse pie (and we only have a family of five, three of which are kids). I'll have extra whipped cream on mine!
The challenge I always run into is two days after Thanksgiving...The kids are tired of turkey, but it's still coming out of our ears! We usually freeze some and use some in sandwiches, but what do you do with the rest? I always try to make some sort of pasta dish that looks nothing like what we'd eaten the last couple of days. My kids love pasta, and because turkey is so much like chicken, the recipe possibilities are endless! This year, we tried a new recipe called Turkey Divan, or "Hide the Turkey" Pasta.
To begin, boil your pasta until it's completely cooked. Depending on the type you use, it usually takes less than 10 minutes to boil. Because my kids love linguini, that's what I went with.
When the pasta is cooked through, drain the water, and put the cooked pasta in a bowl for later.
Now that the pasta is ready, prepare the broccoli and mushrooms. I bought pre-cut broccoli florets and pre-sliced mushrooms, but I still chopped them a little bit (to make them small enough for the kids).
Next, over med-high heat, melt the butter in a large skillet. After it begins to sizzle slightly, add the broccoli and mushrooms. Saute them for a few minutes until they are nice and tender. It shouldn't take more than about 3 or 4 minutes.
The veggies are ready! The mushrooms are slightly browned, and the broccoli is just slightly tender. Before they overcook, put them in a bowl alongside the pasta for use later.
It's about time to put everything together! We've got the pasta, veggies, shredded cheese, and leftover turkey (which I chopped slightly, but you may not have to depending on the size). It's time for the sauce...
Using a whisk or spoon, combine the flour and milk until it's smooth. To make this part really easy, I used a 2-cup measuring cup. That way you can measure the milk, add the flour directly to it, and mix everything in the same container.
Now, in the same skillet you used earlier, bring the flour-milk mixture to a boil. Be sure to stir constantly so you don't end up with lumps in the sauce.
After the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and add all but one cup of the shredded cheese.
When the cheese is completely melted and incorporated into the milk mixture, it's time to finish putting the dish together.
To the cheese sauce, add the pasta, turkey, and veggies. Depending on the type of pasta you use, you may also need to add a little more milk as well. Because I used linguini, and it soaks up more liquid than spaghetti does, I added another 1/4 cup of milk to the sauce. Stir until everything is covered in sauce and heated through (about 5 minutes).
And just like that, dinner's ready! Hearty Turkey Divan was a no-brainer for us. It took about 20 minutes to make this dish from beginning to end! What's even better was the cost...a package of cheese, the veggies, and a box of pasta was all I had to buy. But where's the turkey? The kids will never know...
How do you use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving? Leave a comment here and let me know. As always, too, rate and review the recipe.
Next: Liz makes a delicious stew with all the flavors of the fall season.