Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

When Life Gives You Leftovers, Make Leftoverade

Few things say Thanksgiving like uneaten leftovers. The vats of cranberry sauce, the innumerable pans of stuffing and of course the poor, eviscerated bird. You have the best of intentions of upcycling this bounty, but it is often left barely eaten and trashed–possibly with an optional six month stint in the freezer beforehand.

An NRDC study estimated that 40% of America’s food supply is thrown away. That amounts to $2,275 into the trash for an average family of four every year. So in the quest to do more with less, your kitchen and its edible contents are a great starting point.

A site called We Hate to Waste gives ideas about how avoid the trash solution to your leftover food, including the soup recipe below, which transforms your likely-to-be-trashed turkey carcass into a tasty soup with a few common kitchen ingredients. The site includes a number of other similar “waste-watching” (get it?) recipes and tips for reducing waste in your home.

Site contributor Jocelyn Deprez has even written a book called “The Refrigerator Files: A Guide To Creative Makeovers For Your Leftovers,” which, as the title suggests, is a guide for making great food from common leftovers.

A big part of doing more with less is working with what you already got. Recipes like this–and the intention behind them–are great way of doing that.

  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 1 cup turkey meat, cut into half-inch cubes, for garnish, optional
  • 16 cups water
  • Leftover giblet gravy, if any, optional
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly group pepper to taste
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 4 springs fresh parsley
  • 2 springs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 3 whole carrots, trimmed and scraped
  • 3 whole ribs celery, trimmed and scraped
  • ½ cup broken vermicelli, cappelini or spaghettini*
  1. Pick over the carcass and reserve any tender morsels of meat. Use this if desired, for the cup of meat indicated, adding more meat as necessary.
  2. Place the carcass in a kettle and set the meat aside. Add to the kettle any jellied gravy that ay be accumulated on the turkey platter or dish.
  3. Add the water to the kettle. Add the leftover giblet gravy if there is any. Add the onion, bay leaf, salt, pepper, cloves, parsley, thyme, carrots, and celery. Bring to the boil and simmer one hour, skimming the surface as necessary.
  4. Strain the soup through a sieve lined with a clean kitchen towel or a double thickness of cheesecloth. Discard all the solids except the carrots and celery.
  5. Pour about two cups of the soup into a saucepan and add the vermicelli. Cook until just tender.
  6. Add this to the soup. Cut the carrots and celery into half-inch cues and add them. Add the one cup of cubed turkey meat. Bring to the boil. Serve piping hot.

What are you doing with leftovers? Let us know in our comments section.

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