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I spent some of the week doing what a lot of other people do right after Thanksgiving; looking for easy recipes to use up leftover turkey.
For course, a good turkey recipe doesn’t have to be complicated. A good old turkey sandwich with white bread, mayonnaise, and cranberry sauce is always a winner in my book. As a child, I think I enjoyed those sandwiches more than the actual Thanksgiving feast. A delicious turkey soup with lots of veggies and rice is another post-holiday favorite in my house. It’s such a good way to use up every last bit of that delicious bird, just toss the bones in the pot with some onions, carrots, and herbs to make the broth. There’s no broth in the world that’s as good as homemade.
Delicious, but Deadly
But I was thinking about another post-Thanksgiving blast from the past today – turkey tetrazzini. I haven’t had it since my mother used to make it back in the good old days before they invented cholesterol.
Yes, there’s a reason I don’t eat turkey tetrazzini anymore. The classic turkey recipe is loaded with butter, cheese, and sour cream. No doubt, that’s part of what made it taste so good. But, it’s also what made it a semi-lethal weapon for anyone concerned about heart health or their waistlines. Honestly, I almost can’t believe I used to eat that stuff! Especially only a day or two after the most food-centric, calorie-laden holiday of the calendar year.
There were, indeed, many good reasons for me not to eat turkey tetrazzini at this stage of my life. But I still wanted some. I know I’m always talking about “Food for Grownups” here on the blog. However, sometimes what a grownup wants is a bit of nostalgia in the form of a comfort food from her childhood.
That’s why I decided to see if there was a way to lighten up this classic dish. And, if I do say so myself, this experiment was definitely a success. What I came up with is pretty darned close to the original. It has all the rich, creamy, comforting goodness of the original but it’s much, much healthier.
So? How did I do it?
Choosing Smart Ingredients
You may or may not be aware, but Weight Watchers recently changed their program. Now people can choose one of three different point tracking systems – green, blue, or purple. I’m not going to go into all the details, that would be a whole different post, but whole wheat pasta is a zero point food within the purple program. That’s a game-changer in my book and well worth a small reduction in my overall smart point allowance.
Before the new purple program, I’m not sure I’d have tried to make this dish. But now, zero-point pasta really opens up some great new options for me to create Weight Watcher friendly recipes and still stay within my daily points allowance. It’s all about taking advantage of those zero point foods! Besides the pasta, all the vegetables, including the peas, clock in at zero points.
Another reason this dish works is the inclusion of another zero-point favorite of mine, nonfat Greek yogurt. I like to put it into a yogurt strainer and leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. The result is rich, creamy, and decadent – a fantastic substitute for sour cream.
A Hearty Pasta and Turkey Recipe with None of the Guilt
By taking advantage of zero point foods and then being judicious with point-heavy ingredients like cheese, butter, and bread crumbs, I was able to bring the dish in at just 6 Weight Watcher Points! (Take Note: That’s 6 points if you’re on the PURPLE program! The points will vary for the green or blue programs.)
Six points for a filling, delicious taste of childhood is completely worth it. Even if you’re not watching your weight, my Lightened Up Turkey Tetrazzini is a healthy and tasty family meal – and a great way to use up leftover turkey. (Speaking of family, my husband raved about this dish.) Of course, if you’re looking for a few healthy and quick sides to pair it with, make sure to check out my fast and fun appetizers.
Give this turkey recipe a try. I think your family will love it as much as mine did.Print
12 oz whole wheat spaghetti (0 WW purple points)
12 oz skinless turkey breast meat (0 WW purple points
8 oz sliced mushrooms (0 WW purple points)
½ cup diced white onion (0 WW purple points)
2 T butter, divided (10 purple points)
1 t. dried sage (0 WW purple points)
1/2 cup nonfat chicken broth (0 WW purple points)
1 10.5 oz can Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup (8 WW purple points)
1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (preferably strained for 2 hours)
2 T dry sherry (1 WW purple points)
¾ cup frozen peas (0 WW purple points)
Salt and pepper to taste (0 WW purple points)
3/8 cup of Italian breadcrumbs (6 WW purple points)
3 oz grated Parmesan cheese (12 WW purple points)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil water for spaghetti and cook according to package directions.
- In large saucepan, melt 1 T butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 3 minutes, then add mushrooms and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1 T chicken broth to pan. Continue cooking until mushrooms are soft and beginning to release liquid.
- Add turkey meat and dried sage to pan, stir to combine, and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add cream of mushroom soup, yogurt, sherry, and ¼ cup chicken broth to pan.
- Stir cooked spaghetti into pan. Turn heat to low. Allow dish to simmer for about five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can add more chicken broth or an additional T of sherry if the mixture seems too dry.
- Stir in frozen peas and cook for about a minute. Pour turkey/vegetable mixture into an ovenproof, 9 x 13 casserole dish. Set aside.
- Melt 1 T butter in small saucepan, stir in breadcrumbs until evenly coated with butter. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and cheese evenly over top of the casserole.
- Place casserole in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.