‘Tis the season for festive meals—and delicious leftovers

The holidays are here, and for most of us that means spending time with family and friends. Whether you adore or dread those gatherings, there will likely be scrumptious food—and lots of it. After all, Thanksgiving dinner only comes around once a year, so we want to be sure to do it right. But complicated recipes and numerous courses just create stress and are not necessary for a delicious, memorable meal.

“Don’t feel pressured to live up to the impossible expectations set by glossy magazines,” advises Anne Marie Bonneau, aka The Zero-Waste Chef. “Simple recipes can be just as delicious. Save your sanity and avoid fancy ingredients you won’t be able to use up.” Bonneau also recommends taking time to make a thorough shopping list based on how much will actually be eaten. “Sticking to your list will help prevent impulse buys,” she says.

Of course, even with diligent planning, there will likely be leftovers—and that can be a good thing! From sandwiches to casseroles, there are countless recipes to use up leftover turkey, vegetables, and side dishes. “Pot pie is great for using up bits of this and that, and mashed potatoes make the perfect shepherds pie topping,” suggests Bonneau. Don’t forget the turkey bones! They’re the best for making tasty and nutritious homemade turkey soup. Try our recipe at right.

For more holiday leftovers recipes and tips to make the most of the food you love, visit StopFoodWaste.org.

Leftovers series: Throughout the winter season, Edible East Bay’s e-newsletter will feature more tips and recipes from StopWaste for turning leftovers into delicious meals. Sign up for the newsletter at edibleeastbay.com or search the website blog for the series.

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Homemade Turkey Soup

3 cups cooked turkey meat, chopped
Leftover bones from a 10–12 pound turkey
1 gallon (16 cups) water or broth
1 large onion, chopped
4 carrots and 1 stalk of celery, chopped
4 cloves peeled garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound of fresh spinach or kale, chopped

Place turkey bones in a 2-gallon stockpot, add water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Remove bones. Sauté onions, carrots, and celery until tender. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add to stockpot along with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes. Add the fresh greens. Bring soup back to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chopped turkey meat, simmer until warm, serve.