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The Day After: How to Tackle Thanksgiving Leftovers

How to Tackle Thanksgiving Leftovers | Food and Nutrition Magazine | Stone Soup Blog

Cindy Gay, RD, LD This featured post is by Cindy Gay, RD, LD. Follow her on Twitter @ScrappyRD.

Your typical Thanksgiving turkey can serve as many as 30 portions. Did you have 30 people over for dinner? If not, it's time to talk leftovers!

While most folks look forward to a delicious turkey sandwich the day after the feast, turkey fatigue sets in if you try and eat it all within a few days. Instead, try freezing packets of the roasted meat to provide homemade turkey meals for weeks to come.  

7 Safety Tips for Freezing Turkey

  • Limit the time the turkey sits at room temperature after roasting to no more than two hours.
  • Slice and chill in shallow layers and store in the refrigerator.
  • Freeze in one- or two-meal packets.
  • Reheat only once.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat to an internal temperature of 165° F.
  • Use within four days of thawing.

How to Make Turkey Stock Bouillon

Or, make turkey bouillon cubes. The process is simple.

  1. First, strain the broth from the bottom of the roasting pan into a clean shallow pan, such as a 9-by-14-inch cake pan with a lid.
  2. Refrigerate the broth overnight.
  3. The next day, remove and discard the layer of fat that has formed on the top of the broth.
  4. Scoop the remaining broth into clean ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
  5. Remove bouillon cubes from ice trays and place in a storage container with a lid. Use the cubes as needed, such as in this soup.

Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Soup with Rice

Recipe by Cindy Gay, RD, LD


  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 turkey bouillon cubes (using the method described above)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  • 3 to 4 ounces cooked turkey, diced
  • ⅔ cup cooked brown rice


  1. Heat olive oil in medium pan. Sauté onion, celery, garlic and carrots in olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add water, bouillon cubes, fresh herbs and diced turkey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice and heat. Serves 2.

Cindy Gay, RD, LD, recently retired from her job in health care. She serves as historian for the West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and blogs at Cindy's Health Meals. Connect with her on Twitter and Pinterest.

(Photo: shironosov/iStock/ThinkStock)

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