Seasonal Chef: Save the Thanksgiving Leftovers!


Thanksgiving is upon us. The one holiday were everyone, no matter what religion or culture, in America, celebrates. And we pretty much go BIG for this one. Prepping begins today, and in some cases yesterday, and real cooking in earnest tomorrow morning. Without a doubt you will have leftovers, and unless you pack it up and distribute to your guests, you are faced with a ‘fridge full of deliciousness on Friday. This week I really don’t have a straight recipe per se, only a couple of  solid ideas for you to use for your Thanksgiving leftovers.

make stock

Let’s talk stock first: After your turkey has been carved resist the urge to toss the bones. Place them in a large plastic bag and save them! There is still a lot to be had, believe it or not. Break them up a little and place in a big pot of water. Don’t go too crazy, just cover with enough water to have them float slightly. Add an onion, a couple of carrots, celery stalks, garlic and a big piece of fresh thyme. Bring the pot to a boil and let it simmer for an hour or so.


Then cool it down a little and strain.

Leftover Thanksgiving ingredients

For the ingredients you can use whatever you have: root vegetables are perfect in this application. I tend to use the dark meat, generally because it will hold up and not dry out. White meat is best in the ubiquitous turkey sandwich.

Leftover wild rice

If you have a little rice left over you can use that too.

Leftover Thanksgiving Soup Seasonal Chef Maria Reina recipe

You really want a 1:2 ratio. One cup of stock to 2 cups of assorted leftovers. That is my preference, but more or less is perfectly acceptable. If you want to make this dish a little more “stew-like” you can start with a roux: 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 1/2 cups of stock.

Thanksgiving Leftovers, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

Last year I made a fun Thanksgiving Pot Pie using everything including the cranberry sauce.

Tex Mex leftover turkey pot pies

The year before I went the spicy route and made the pot pies Tex-Mex. The sky is the limit with leftovers. Include and many as you can. No doubt you spent a great deal of time cooking up to the holiday, so let yourself continue to enjoy the fruits of your labor through the weekend.

Let me also take a moment to say that I am thankful to have my husband, step-daughter, family, friends and of course the readers of Small Bites. I wish you all a very happy and delicious holiday from my kitchen to yours.

Buon Appetito!

One year ago: Thanksgiving Leftovers
Two years ago: Potatoes 



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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