I actually get excited thinking about these dishes that only make an annual appearance -- sort of like Santa.
When I start cooking the bird on Thanksgiving day, I want to shout out the names of all the recipes it will become, like the scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie bemoans all the leftovers that will never be, thanks to the Bumpus hounds.
Turkey stock! Turkey tetrazzini! Turkey magiritsa! Turkey enchiladas!
My all-time favorite is probably turkey tetrazzini -- pretty pedestrian, I know, what with the cream-of-chicken soup and all, but it's just so damned good. And if it's good enough for an Italian opera star, it's good enough for me.
Last weekend, I realized that I've been making this same recipe every Thanksgiving since 2003. I think that officially qualifies as a tradition. Cool.
Turkey Tetrazzini (adapted from Cooking Light)
10 oz. spaghetti
1 pound leftover turkey, white and dark meat, chopped (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup chopped onion
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons sherry
16 oz. sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup fat-free milk
2/3 cup low-fat sour cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup (such as Healthy Choice)
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Heat some olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan and cook until it becomes slight soft (about 3 minutes). Add sherry and mushrooms to pan, cover and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
Combine peas, milk, sour cream, cheese, and soup in a large bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, pasta, turkey, and mushroom mixture to soup mixture, tossing gently to combine. Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Combine breadcrumbs and butter in a small dish, tossing to combine. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over pasta mixture. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until bubbly.