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Turkey Tetrazzini {and a rambling on family}

Turkey Tetrazzini

Shelby and I recently had the pleasure of flying north to visit my brother, sister and their families for a few days.  We, like many families, are separated by distance and life and the stuff that can get in the way.  This trip was a chance for us to put all of that aside and just be together.  It was wonderful.

How does that relate to Turkey Tetrazzini?  I’m about to tell you in a long winded way.  However you won’t hurt my feelings if you’re simply here for a great leftover turkey recipe and know that we loved this growing up.  See below.

Turkey Tetrazzini2

Turkey Tetrazzini

Libby with Lemony Thyme
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4


  • 8 ounces egg noodles
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 Tbl. butter
  • 2 Tbl. flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
  • 2 Tbl. dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cooked turkey cubed
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 2.25- ounce can sliced ripe olives drained
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked pepper

For crumb topping…

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup crushed cracker crumbs


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart casserole dish.
  • Cook egg noodles according to package instructions. Reserve.
  • Sauté mushrooms and diced onion in 1 Tbl. butter until mushrooms have released their liquid. Remove from pan and reserve.
  • Melt 2 Tbl. butter in sauté pan over medium heat. Dust with flour and whisk until bubbly. Stir in milk and broth. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • In a large bowl combine cooked noodles, mushroom/onion mixture, cream sauce, cubed turkey, green peas, and sliced olives. Pour into buttered casserole dish.
  • In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup cracker crumbs, and1 Tbl. melted butter. Sprinkle on top of casserole.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden.

If you’re up for reading some reflections of growing up in my family…I’m up for sharing (don’t worry family, I won’t spill all our secrets).

I am the youngest of three, my brother the oldest and my senior by 9 years.  We moved a lot when we were little and my memories are much different than theirs.  This recent trip north (CT to be precise) was the first time we had all been together since our mom’s passing in 2010.  We did some reminiscing, shed a few tears, laughed a lot, ate a lot, and hugged ‘eachother’ every chance we could.

Swedish Meatballs

I’ve shared before that I did not learn to cook in the kitchen with my mom and grandmothers like many did.  I always recall my mom as a wonderful cook with signature dishes like Boston Baked Beans, Swedish Meatballs, Peanut Butter Stuffed Dates, and so many others.  All of these dishes were mostly served for an event or holiday, which reminds me that Mom was a great entertainer.  Forgive me if I reflect backwards as I type.  Great entertainer who lived for events.  I am very much like her in this regard, yet I’ve learned from her experiences how to take a new approach.  Over the years I witnessed her disappointment when the crowd left (or had gone to bed) and there she sat, often with a sink full of dishes, a signature pie that was never sliced, a brand new recipe that was outshone by the old favorites, and her vision of the perfect evening gone straight down the toilet.  As a child of 10 or 12 or 16, I didn’t understand.  From my eyes we had great fun.  There was no shortage of laughter, excellent food, drunk adults telling stories that we kids would do anything to overhear.  No, we weren’t Little House on the Prairie but it was the life I knew and loved.  As Mom got older, holidays became even more important to her and her level of expectation remained high.  When she was physically no longer able to host ‘events’ she began to live vicariously through us.  Once I was a married adult, my Christmas and Birthday gifts from Mom were the finest of gadgets and entertaining tools.  Yes, I own a complete set of Escargot shells, dishes, and … the things that Julia Roberts made famous in Pretty Woman.  We’ll call them Escargot pliers.

Spending time with my brother and sister as adults gives me a new perspective on our childhood.  I’ve found that as life goes on I am so humbled by what I don’t know or never realized or was so caught up in me to stop and recognize.  That is a major understatement, but I’m trying really hard not over use adjectives and exclamation points.

My brother approaches entertaining with ease.  He makes sure to have the favored cocktail of every guest.  He prepares nibbles that are unassuming and seemingly effortless, yet mouthwateringly delicious.  He totally gets ‘less is more’ and that spending time with guests is what’s most important.  Having said that, he makes sure everyone is satisfied even if that means whipping up pasta primavera at midnight or homemade home fries, eggs & bacon at 8 am.  And my sister-in-law Suzanne opens her home and heart to everyone who steps through their doorway.  Wonderful hosts.

My sister may be the best cook in the family (sorry Scott, you’re excellent but Sarah is a complete visionary who can work with the most basic of ingredients and turn them into amazing).  Sarah brought Phyllo dough into our home in the late 70’s.  She read a recipe in a magazine and *womp* recreated it for us.  FE-FI-LO What? I remember our amazement as we savored this pastry, formerly reserved for upscale bakeries.  I need her to remind me of the details of that dish.  Broccoli?

Now let me tell you about the next generation of cooks in our family.  My brother’s girls have been raised foodies.  Every dinner was encouragement to at least ‘taste’ each dish.  No vacation was complete without experiencing the best of the best in that city.  Whether that was Washington DC or Paris. I love these two girls.  It was a treasure to be able visit with them as adults.  xoxo

I’ve come to learn that Jen (my Boston girl) takes after her Grammy and lives to entertain.  A-typical personalities that like to pre-plan….down to exactly how we want our pigs in blankets rolled ;)  I learned, from awesome pictures, that she throws some bad-ass Halloween parties, complete with themed food & theme rooms (anyone watch Dexter?).  Kate, lives in Manhattan, and has the city as her oyster (also like her Grammy, back in her 20s).  She, like me, loves to sample every dish on the menu.  She drinks Rye and makes homemade Tuna Noodle Casserole without canned goods.  You are invincible while sipping Rye.  She’s a foodie at heart and lights up when we reminisce about family.

My girl Shelby declared her 2012 New Year’s Resolution as this….”learn how to cook and enjoy doing it (and eating it).”  Imagine my joy to read this.  She approaches cooking the way she approaches life.   Shelby, a licensed massage therapist, understands anatomy and how processed foods and ‘chemical’ products negatively affect our being.  I admire her thirst for knowledge.  We don’t need crap food (unless we’re hung over) and recipes are meant to be challenged.  We choose to call this balance.  She’s my inspiration for getting up on Sunday mornings to set out on our adventures.  Food is a common denominator in our family, it’s a woven thread.  I’m glad she caught the foodie bug.

The youngest of cousins is Maya.  As another ‘baby’ in the family, I see where she strives to fit in with her older cousins.  She has matured from an inquisitive adolescent into a pre-teen who fits in completely with her older cousins. Rainbow Looms?!  Yes that was us, all hands on deck, we were students of Maya’s instruction.  Such a sweet and beautiful girl who is quite happy to be a ‘Nerd.’  Smart is IN you know :)  And did I mention her dad is a chef (and Thai)?  She is at complete ease in the kitchen as Dad puts out round after round of scrumptious which she delivers to the table like a pro.  She’s got extreme foodie genes.

The girls

As my sister and brother and I sat around a lunch table we began to talk about our youth.  I asked them…”what did Mom cook during the week?”  I remember the dishes served for holidays and events, but weeknight dinners escaped me completely.  They agreed that ground beef was a key ingredient in most week night dishes.  She was a single mom and full-time (and then some) newspaper editor.  Hamburger Helper couldn’t have arrived on the scene at a better time.  Back in the day ground beef was actually inexpensive.

Money Saving Tip (from my brother) ~ When doing your grocery shopping, compare the cost of ground beef to that of some other less expensive cuts of meat.  If ground beef is $2.99/lb. and London Broil or shoulder roast is $1.99/lb. ask the meat counter to grind it for you.  Brilliant.

So while she took all short cuts available to her during the week, Mom was a wonderful cook.  Being frugal led to creativity in the kitchen.  I can’t recall a Thanksgiving growing up that didn’t end with a giant pot on the stove boiling down the turkey carcass.  We knew Turkey Noodle Soup and/or Turkey Tetrazzini was but a day away.

One final note to my ramblings.  Shelby and I took a little excursion one afternoon.  We had a very special date with a very special lady lined up.  It was last December when I first ‘met’ Nicole, albeit virtually.  She won me over with her big kind heart.  I was a new blogger with 67 Facebook followers.  I was desperately trying to reach 100 by midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Nicole shared my page with her followers and they shared it with theirs.  Before you knew it I had passed my goal (in less than 2 hours) and the foodie love kept coming.  It wasn’t long before Nicole and I began to build our friendship, a sisterhood if you will.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that she lived in the same town as my sister, 1200 miles away.  It was destiny that we meet.

My Love for Nicole

Meet my love, Nicole from My Love for Cooking.  She and her husband Mike welcomed Shelby and I into their home.  We fell in love with them and their children.  By the time we left Blueberry Girl was wrapped around my leg and Little Mister was hugging onto Shelby.  It was like being with family.  This was our first date, but there will be many more in the future I’m certain.  Next time we’re cooking together!

Since I’m on such a rambling roll I must share these pics with you.  After leaving Nicole’s we stumbled upon this gem.  A great way to end a wonderful day.

Self Serve Farm Stand
Fresh Farmstand Produce
Giant Cabbage Patch Kid
And the chickens

Thank you to those that made it all the way to the end.  This was a really nice way for me share my family with you.  xo Libby


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