This post sponsored by Purina Fancy Feast
Each Thanksgiving brings me something new to be thankful for. Usually it’s some type of big personal achievement; graduating college, moving to a new city, starting a new job, getting engaged. And while this year has put us through the paces, I’ve found that I’m still overwhelmingly thankful to have my family, even though we are apart this year. We’re celebrating the holiday in new ways. For me being a foodie, that means making a recipe outside of the box, this Turkey Pot Pie Mac and Cheese and for my little family that means sharing the Feastivities with our cat Arya.
Last year I had the opportunity to go to St Louis and tour the Fancy Feast headquarters and even got to meet the Fancy Feast cat! This year I’m partnering with Fancy Feast again to celebrate the holidays with the first of its kind Fancy Feast Advent Calendar with 24 delicious treats and the 2020 Feastivities ornament. This year proceeds from the ornament are going to Redrover through Purina’s Purple Leash which has a goal to create pet friendly domestic abuse shelters so that survivors and pets can begin the healing process together. To find out more information, head to the Purina Fancy Feast website here.
This year to celebrate Thanksgiving with Arya, I made her a cat food feast using two of her favorite foods. I used a Fancy Feast Wild Salmon Broth and a Fancy Feast Shredded Turkey Fare Medley. Arya loves all the foods with a lot of broth, so of course she was beyond happy. Make sure to celebrate the holidays with your kitty, they are a big part of the family too!
Now for your Thanksgiving meal:
What Kind of Cheese to Use?
I like to use a blend of cheeses, but I primarily use cheddar cheese as it has a good melting point and becomes very smooth. Sharp cheddar is preferred, but a cheddar blend also works really well. I also add in a bit of parmesan to balance out the flavor. Stay away from very hard cheeses or crumbly cheeses as they will melt differently and alter the texture of the sauce.
How to make a roux based sauce
Making a sauce from a roux base is a classic and easy way to make a sauce. First start by bringing your pan to a medium-high heat. Add in equal parts by weight butter and flour. Cook the roux mixture until it begins to turn tan and develops a nutty smell. You’ll want to stir this fairly continuously as both the butter and the flour will burn easily.
For light colored sauces, stop the roux once it begins to have a nutty aroma. For darker sauces and more flavor, continue cooking the roux until it is a dark tan (this is used a lot in cajun cooking as it has more flavor).
How to avoid grainy Turkey Pot Pie Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese can go from great to gross in a matter of seconds if the sauce becomes grainy. There are a few reasons as to why this happens.
· you're sauce was heated too high and the milk curdled
· you didn't cook your roux thoroughly and the flour is raw
· You used the wrong type of cheese. Stick to cheeses that melt well like cheddar and avoid crumbly hard cheeses
· You used store bought cheese that was dry. Buy a block of cheddar and grate yourself for the best results
· You added your cheese to the liquid when it was too hot. Don't go above a simmer to avoid curdling.
Turkey Pot Pie Mac and Cheese
- 1 Pound Dried Pasta Elbows or Cavatappi preferred
- ½ Cup Butter
- ½ Cup Flour
- 1 ½ Cups Milk
- 2 Cups Half and Half
- 1 Tsp Ground Sage
- 1 Tsp Ground Mustard
- 2 Cups Sharp Cheddar
- 1 Cup Cheddar Jack
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Celery Sliced
- 1 Onion Diced
- 1 Cup Carrots sliced
- ½ Cup Peas
- 2 Cups Shredded Turkey or Chicken
- In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir together until fully incorporated. Cook roux until flour is cooked through and it has a slight nutty aroma.
- Slowly add milk to roux mixture, whisking together so that it is smooth and fully blended together. Add is half and half.
- Add in seasonings and salt and pepper to taste.
- Whisk in cheese and stir until fully incorporated. Let simmer for several minutes until sauce thickens.
- Cook pasta per package instructions until al dente.
- In a separate skillet add celery, onion and carrots with olive oil and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in peas and turkey and cook until warmed.
- Add pasta and veggie mixture to the sauce mixture and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve and enjoy!