If you are anything like I am, and probably like half of America is, you still have leftover turkey from your Thanksgiving feast. Lots and lots of turkey. Don’t feed that meat to the dog. Use it in meals and stretch your food budget. Try this quick and delicious turkey and pasta dish. It is pleasing to the palate and the budget, and you can probably make it with pantry items and other things that you already have at home.
Start by hand shredding enough turkey to feed two people. I use about a cup and a half for my husband and myself. Place the shredded turkey into a large non-stick pot and add one jar of pasta sauce. This dish works very nicely with tomato based pasta sauces, like traditional spaghetti sauce, as well as with cheese based sauces like Alfredo sauce. I add two tablespoons of sugar when I use a tomato-based sauce. This cuts the acidity down a little and gives the sauce a sweet flavor. If I make an Alfredo sauce, I add garlic and herb seasoning to it to enhance the flavor.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and heat to boiling, and then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer the turkey and pasta sauce for at least 20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. When I stir the sauce, I try to break up the shredded turkey even more. The more finely shredded the turkey becomes; the more the dish will look like it cooked all day.
While the turkey and pasta sauce is simmering, cook eight ounces of pasta until it is fully cooked, yet still firm. I usually use rotini or penne pasta, and sometimes I even use garden rotini pasta. You can use any type of pasta, depending on your preferences. I cook the pasta in water in the microwave on high for about 15 minutes in a specially designed microwave pasta cooker. You may choose to cook the pasta on the stovetop or in the microwave. How you cook the pasta is not important. What is important is that you thoroughly rinse the pasta after it is cooked. Pasta should always be rinsed after cooking to remove cooking residue and give it a fresh and appetizing look in the dish you are preparing.
Once the pasta is cooked, rinsed and drained, add it to the pasta sauce and mix everything together well. Keep the burner on low, cover the pot and allow the dish to cook for an additional two to three minutes, so that the temperature is even throughout the dish when you serve it.
Serve this delicious and easy dish topped with shredded cheese, and accompanied by a tossed salad made of fresh greens and crisp crunchy vegetables. It’s super easy to make, and with one-pot preparation, clean up is easy too. It’s cheap – you probably already have all of the ingredients in your pantry. You can enjoy a delicious meal while stretching your food budget dollar to the limit.