What’s cooking? Thanksgiving leftover recipes that don’t waste food

101.9 WDET asked our followers to tell us the most clever ways they reduce food waste during the holidays. Here are our favorite methods, from casserole to Shepard’s Pie and meal-planning.

Meta Stange
Meta Stange

Let’s be honest: Thanksgiving can be wasteful.

So 101.9 WDET decided to find some useful ways to cut down on food waste created by the holiday. We reached out to our followers on social media to ask what they’re doing to waste less and have a more sustainable Thanksgiving. And they delivered.

“Left over turkey will be divided, packaged and frozen to reheat later or create sandwiches or pot pies,” said Rita Causer.

But it doesn’t end there. Here’s are some of our favorite recipes and ideas to reduce food waste.

Turkey Soup

Submitted by: Ruby Duffield

“My parents made this every year and now I do. My dad wrote out the recipe, so I’m sharing exactly as written, because it’s charming.” 

  • Cook turkey carcass submerged in water (1 inch over carcass), with celery leaves, carrots, bay leaf, salt and pepper and chicken bouillon (if desired).
  • Cook until meat falls off bones. Strain broth until clear. Add 1 28-oz. can tomatoes, chopped, without the juice.
  • Add one or two tbs. tomato juice.
  • Add handful (about one-fourth cup) orzo or rice. (Note: orzo makes this soup special).
  • Add cubed leftover turkey meat during last 15 minutes of cooking time.
  • Enjoy with bread or rolls.

“Send leftovers home with family and turn leftover turkey into hot sandwiches and soup in the days following Thanksgiving.” – Jackie Grosso Dziedziula

Turkey Shepard’s Pie

Submitted by: Tara Samson

“Everyone loves it and it uses nearly all leftovers.”

  • Bottom layer: Turkey, gravy and veggies
  • Middle layer: Stuffing,
  • Top layer: Mashed potatoes.

Post-Thanksgiving Meal-Planning

Submitted by: Tracie Patton

“If I make a meal, I plan three different ways to eat it.”

  • Day 1. Chili
  • Day 2. Chili stuffed baked potatoes
  • Day 3. Baked chili Mac

Turkey becomes:

  • Pot pie
  • Soup
  • Thanksgiving casserole

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  • Annamarie Sysling
    Anna Sysling is a producer for Detroit Public TV's Great Lakes Now. She is a former producer for Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson.
  • Meta Stange
    Meta Stange is the Digital Content and Engagement Manager for 101.9 WDET, overseeing the station's digital editorial content. She enjoys reading, making bad jokes, and hanging out with her dog, Salmon.