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No Tuna casserole turkey again

Turkey not tuna no bake casserole

No bake tuna casserole – no wait, a no bake turkey casserole.  I don’t know what came over me.  Guess I was tired and Mr. Mike was at his evening class, so it was time to cook wierd and easy.  As you’ll see, substitutions were made, but cookbook recipes are meant to be guides only not set in stone.  This one came from Believe It! Quick and Easy Meal Solutions (2008).

8 oz penne, elbow, or bowtie pasta

1 1/2 cups frozen vegetables (I used cut green beans & mixed vegetables)

1/4 to 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)

6 oz cream cheese (can use 1/3 reduced fat or regular)

1 12 oz can tuna, drained & broken into chunks (I used cooked diced turkey from the freezer in place of tuna)

Salt & black pepper to taste

1 tsp Fines Herbs (my addition, choose your own herb mixture)

Cook pasta according to package directions.  If desired, add frozen vegetables during the last 4 minutes of cooking.  Drain and return to pan.  I microwaved the vegetables in a separate container because cooking pasta and veggies together is too much even for me.  Also don’t like tossing nutrients with the pasta water.  I kept about 2 Tbsp pasta water in the pan to help melt the cheese.  Add the milk and stir over medium heat until cheese is melted and the pasta and vegetables are coated.  Add seasonings.  Fold in turkey (or tuna) and heat through.  Makes four servings.  Cooking & prep time: 20 minutes.

More recipes to share in the next several days.  I’ve been writing Christmas cards and getting some legal materials together.  I liked this casserole because there is little cleanup and it’s one of the few tuna casserole recipes that isn’t baked.

This is what the scrounge cats did while I was cooking.

Turkey is boring. Wake us when it's tuna

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Pickin’ Turkey

Miss Ann would tell you there is still meat on the bird.  Keep going!  For mass quantity foodservice people, it was Thanksgiving about once every month.  What is the recipe for turkey carcasses that look similar to the photo?  First, you need administrators who think EVERYTHING should be made from scratch.

1. Order 1,000 lbs frozen turkey, give or take a few pounds.

2. Have your central food storage/distribution department cut the frozen turkeys into quarters with a band saw.

3. At 8AM load every possible cooking orifice with frozen turkey quarters: ovens, steamers, steam jacketed kettles and crank them up.

4. At 1PM round EVERYONE (dishroom, pot & pan staff, storeroom) up and send them to the cooks’ area.  Miss Ann has her apron tied in a perky bow.  She bangs a metal spoon inside a stainless steel bowl and shouts “Turkey! Turkey! Turkey! Turkey quarters ready to pick!”  This is the highlight of her month.

5. Using your hands only, rip/pick the meat from the carcass.  This includes the turkey necks.  Don’t leave anything on the bones (or at least tuck the nasty stuff under the carcass skin so Miss Ann can’t see it as she makes the rounds).

6. Picked meat is transferred to cutting boards to be diced into “bite size” pieces.  Diced meat is put in plastic bags, about 5 lbs per bag.  Now you can’t use any twist ties in the kitchen because they might get in the food, so you twist the bag top and make a knot.

7. Date the turkey bags and store in the freezer.  Pour the collected turkey “broth” into five gallon buckets and chill in the walk-in overnight.  The next day pull the fat crust from all the buckets, seal & date them and move to the freezer.

8.  Use the meat and broth for specified casseroles, soups, and gravy.  Now how much does this recipe yield?  Well, the sad fact is poultry, if you are a diligent picker, yields 30%.  Do the math: 1,000 lbs frozen yields 300 lbs meat.  The rest is trash – imagine carrying 700 lbs turkey bones and other unidentifiable body parts to the dumpster.

9.  How long does this stuff last?  If you are feeding 1,500 residents 3 square, it lasts about a month.  Then it’s deja vu all over again.  Wish I had photos of the real pickin’ parties.

10. That’s why I can pick up searing hot items – you got used to handling hot meat!

I did pick my turkey one and a half carcasses clean but I did NOT pick the neck.  I did make stock from the bones but will not be storing it in a used five gallon pickle bucket.

**Have to credit the image from orangesanctuary.blogspot.com  Just to let you know that I won’t use material without citing it and any recommendations I make are personal.  There is no affiliate marketing on this site.  I make no money from any products mentioned.  I ain’t that scroungy.

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