Seasonal Chef: Thanksgiving Leftover Idea


Thanksgiving is upon us. If you haven’t started cooking you will be very soon. Generally people don’t think about leftovers until they become just that: left over. If you are anything like me, you always have something left from a big dinner. Platters come back to the kitchen sometimes with a lot left or a little. They get packed into containers, zip lock bags and head to the freezer to be forgotten until the next holiday when you are trying to make room. Here is a Thanksgiving leftover idea for you:

Why not take all of that deliciousness and repurpose it into something you can have next week or the week after? Pot pies are just about the easiest thing you can make, and probably one of the most versatile ways to use everything you have. You only need a vehicle to hold your creation and something to bring it all together.

Thanksgiving Leftovers, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

First, lets talk about the ingredients: the main part of the dish is going to be turkey and vegetables. This can be just about any combination you have. If you are vegetarian all vegetable works nicely too. For this recipe  1 1/2 cups will make 4 servings. I used turkey, peas, corn and carrots. That will be your first layer.

Thanksgiving Leftovers, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

To hold it all together you will need some kind of sauce. I opted for a veloute’ sauce, or chicken stock sauce. This step is easily converted to for a vegetarian by using vegetable stock.

Thanksgiving Leftovers, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

After making a butter and flour roux you add the stock and parsley. Once you achieve your desired thickness you add your 1 1 /2 cups of leftovers and combine.

Thanksgiving Leftovers, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

Your next layer is going to be a little cranberry sauce. I really like Alex Guarnaschelli’s Cranberry Recipe, if you are looking for one. The only thing you need to do is adjust the ratios. Bags of cranberries in the store are typically 12 oz. So just reduce the sugar to 1 1/2 cups, 3 tablespoons of water, 1/4 teaspoon of allspice and a pinch of nutmeg. I promise making it fresh is so simple, and so much better than the can. It’s the perfect dish you can make well in advance of your dinner.

Thanksgiving Leftovers, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

The top layer is mashed potato and stuffing. If you have leftover sweet potatoes all you need to do is whip them with a mixer.  Either will work. Divide your mix into four 2 cup containers. Top with a couple of tablespoons of cranberry sauce and then a nice layer of potato. I like to top the whole thing off with a little leftover  stuffing. While the pot pie cooks the stuffing gets nice and crunchy and give the whole dish a great texture.

At this point you can freeze them or just keep in the ‘fridge for the coming week. Click here to see my recipe for : Easy Leftover Pot Pie.

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving and Buon Appetito!



About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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