When the weather is cold and damp perhaps a little comfort food is in order. I’m retooling a recipe from my husband’s childhood that his mother made all the time. The original is full of heavy cream, butter, cream cheese and pasta, which sounds pretty dreamy, and it is (I’ve tasted it many times) but doesn’t necessarily fit into my “girly” figure meal plan. So I’ve come up with an equally fantastic flavored dish with half the calories thanks to a few reductions/changes. Shhhh, don’t tell my husband.
Some recipes never go out of style. Turkey Tetrazzini is a classic. It’s old farmhouse style meets modern world of healthy protein and whole grains. I love the rich cream sauce which I lightened up by using low-fat milk, reduced-fat cream cheese, Parmesan and fontina cheeses with a little bacon and green peas thrown in for flavor and color. Leftover cooked turkey makes for a quick fix on this, but if you don’t have any handy, then turkey tenderloins or cutlets brown up very quickly.
I used white wine for that unmistakable flavor, but chicken broth will work as well. I like using whole grain thin spaghetti as it isn’t too heavy and adds a bonus fiber source. It’s baked for about 20 minutes to heat through and then I serve with a big tossed green salad. My husband feels right at home with this dish even with the healthier modifications. Truth be known, I haven’t told him the differences, so let’s just keep that secret little tidbit of information between you and me, OK?
One Year Ago: Minestrone Soup
- Turkey Tetrazzini Done Light
- Cooking Spray
- 3/4 pound thin spaghetti, broken in half
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup white wine (or can sub chicken broth)
- 2 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups cooked turkey, diced
- 3/4 cup frozen petite green peas
- 4 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1/2 cup grated Fontina or Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta until not quite done, according to package directions (it will finish cooking in the oven.) Drain, rinse, and set aside.
- Heat butter in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for about 2 minutes until soft. Add mushrooms and salt; cook for about 2 minutes more. Pour in wine (or broth) and allow it to cook with the mushrooms for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Sprinkle in flour and stir the mushrooms around for another minute. Pour in the broth and stir, cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes until the roux thickens.
- Reduce heat to medium low. Cut cream cheese into pieces and add it to the skillet. Stir until almost melted. (It's ok if it's not completely melted.) Add the cooked turkey, peas, bacon, and cheeses. Stir to combine, adding salt and pepper as needed.
- Add the cooked spaghetti and stir to combine. Add more broth as needed; you want the mixture to have a little extra moisture since it will cook off in the oven. If it's a little soupy, that's fine.
- Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over top, if desired.
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