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Turn Leftovers Into An Amazing Meal

Updated on June 18, 2017
Cynthia Haltom profile image

Cynthia Haltom, Ph.D. is an accomplished educator and author of over 100 books. Many of her books are about cooking.


Every day it seem like there are leftovers no one wants to eat afterwards. I like to take some root vegetable and turn it into a tasty soup. It gives leftovers a new purpose and by turning it into something new no ones seems to mind a recycled meal. I like to cook and my imagination runs wild when it come to leftover turkey.

By simply adding a little water and some root vegetables turkey becomes an exciting meal. Add a little rice and it becomes a wholesome meal. There are many other things that can be done with holiday leftover but soup seems to be a comfort food that warms the soul.

Soup is a welcome meal to most everyone. I have always enjoyed creating food for my family that not only give the a delicious meal but a nutritious one as well. I you find yourself with more leftovers than you can use, consider turning them into a delicious soup.

Lots of Leftovers

Cook Time

Prep Time: 20 minute

Total Time: 2-3 hours

Serves: 4-6


  • Leftover Turkey
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 peeled and chopped carrots
  • 3 peeled and chopped parsnips
  • 3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 3 cups of cooked rice


  1. Place all ingredient into a stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 2-3 hours. Cooking may also be done in a crock pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Serve with rice and enjoy.
  2. Don't be afraid to experiment while making soup. Using leftovers has been a way to stretch your food budget while creating nutritious meals for your family. If your family enjoys vegetable you may want to add those holiday side dishes to your soup.
  3. If you are like me you probably have vegetables in the refrigerator that need to be used up. Try chopping them and adding to the soup mix. The more variety you add the higher the nutritional values the soup will have. I always follow the color rule for vegetables by making sure I add at least one of the following; red, yellow, orange and purple. It helps to make the vitamin content high.

What do you do with Leftovers?

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Excelsteel 16 Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot With Encapsulated Base

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Hearty Pea Soup

Collect Leftovers

I like to collect leftovers for new culinary creations. Either use a container or zipper type bag to store leftovers for later. You can keep them in the refrigerator or the freezer.

Suppose you have a few leftover veggies. Why not save them in the fridge for an excellent vegetable soup. You can use the same container by just adding them to the bowl. Just make sure they are cooled down before adding them to the already frozen ones you saved. This way you will have enough to make your next creation.

The same is true with bits of meat of fish. A few pieces of fish or seafood can be turned into a seafood chowder. You will also want to save potatoes or just cut some fresh for this meal. Similar meats such as beef, ham or pork can be reused for stews, stir fry and other wonderful dishes. I like to save bones too. A ham bone makes a hearty pea soup. It is a great way to save on groceries.

Supplement you Cooking

You can save gravies, stews and pasta dishes too. I like to use these things in my soups as well. There is nothing like a good gravy to add flavor to a leftover meal. Some saved piece of meat and vegetable can be turned into a stew or soup in minutes.

I like to make extra when I cook things such as spaghetti, rice, and macaroni and cheese. When I do this I store it in the freezer. Sometimes I just make extra sauce and cook the fresh pasta. While other time I freeze the pasta right in the sauce. I simply microwave the dish or place it in a pan or skillet on low when I get home. Soon I can smell the food throughout the house. It is much better than eating out every night. It is also much less expensive. If you are looking to save money and time this is the perfect way to do it.

An Easy Spaghetti Dinner

What do you cook with leftover turkey?

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      Colin323 3 years ago

      We don't use turkey quite so much here in Britain, but I'm sure this would work equally well with chicken. I hate to see food wasted - a legacy of a 1950s childhood - so it's good to see articles like this, Cynthia. The beauty of this soup is that it can be frozen too, and used when you are in a hurry and haven't time to prepare a meal.