Confident home cooking
Lots of burritos
Economical, Holidays, Soups, Thanksgiving, Turkey

The Leftover Bounty

by Nick

Over Thanksgiving, my Mom came down to visit and I did my best to host my first ever Thanksgiving! It actually wasn’t too bad. I had a schedule for the cooking and had no major kitchen mishaps.

If you follow me on Twitter you might have known that I was considering doing a goose instead of a turkey but that idea got quickly squashed. By the time I went to reserve my bird all the smaller ones were gone so I just decided to go big: 21 pounds big.

Since there were only four of us actually eating Thanksgiving, you can imagine the dent we put in a 21 pound turkey (barely noticeable). Even after turkey sandwiches galore, I had a bunch of leftover turkey.

So, I thought I’d share the two ways I decided to use my pounds and pounds of extra turkey! If you’ve already burned through your leftovers, that’s cool. There’s always next year!

Green Chile Turkey Burritos

It was actually Betsy’s idea to make burritos, but I don’t give her that much credit because I’m pretty sure that’s she always looking for a reason to make burritos. Frozen burritos are a great way to use any amount of leftovers you have. I just happened to have enough to make a burrito tower (see above).

As soon as I recovered from my food coma on Thanksgiving, I pulled off as much turkey meat as I could from the bones (more on the bones later).

I didn’t weigh it exactly, but even after sandwiches, I would bet I had 3 or 4 pounds of shredded turkey.

This is a gallon bag that’s stuffed full.


Gallon bag of turkey.

I took a few minutes to go through it a bit more carefully the next day, removing any skin or fat pieces and then roughly chopping up the turkey.

chopped turkey

Don’t need to be too picky here.

I also shredded two pounds of Pepper Jack cheese.

shredded cheese

2 pounds of cheese!

I made a quick trip to the store for the cheese. I was going to keep the burritos really simple and then I happened to see this green chile sauce, which I’ve never seen before in my life.

green chile sauce

Why did I just discover this stuff?

I pretty rarely endorse products here, but I’ll tell you what. This stuff is amazing. If you can find it, I highly recommend it. It has an intense green chile flavor. It also has no preservatives or anything and is made from just a few normal ingredients. This, of course, means that you need to use it relatively soon after opening it, but trust me. That won’t be a problem.

I took my flour tortillas, added a few slices of avocado, about 2-3 Tablespoons of green chile sauce, and a small mound of turkey and cheese.

making burrito

Piled High.

Roll it up and you’re all set! When I’m rolling burritos, I fold the ends over and then roll it up so the filling is nicely enclosed. Wrap it in foil and then store the burritos in freezer bags and they’ll keep for many months in the freezer.

I, of course, had to cook one up right away just to make sure it was as good as I thought it would be.

It was.


I’m okay with having 20 of these.

You might not need a specific recipe for turkey burritos, but here’s a rough breakdown of what I used:

- 20 flour tortillas
- 3ish pounds shredded turkey meat
- 2 pounds shredded pepper jack cheese
- 3 avocados, sliced thin
- 4 Cups green chile sauce

Turkey and Rice Soup.

Once I had picked most of the meat off the bones after Thanksgiving, I just tossed all the scraps in my large stock pot and covered the whole thing with water.

I let this simmer for about 3 hours. Of course, I could have added some other ingredients like an onion, some carrots, celery, black pepper, etc. The turkey had a lot of flavor though so I figured it would be good enough and less work.

When it was done simmering, I didn’t want to deal with it that night so I just stuck the whole thing in the fridge.

I woke up to a stockpot full of congealed stock and turkey parts.

turkey stock

Taking stock of the situation.

I hadn’t really kept an eye on my stock and I don’t think it had enough water in it so the stock was kind of thick. Not a big deal though.

I took out the bones and poured the stock into a large bowl.

This was good turkey stock and a great base for my soup!

turkey stock

Looks murky, tastes great.

I was shocked at how much meat was still left on the bones (I thought I did an okay job before), but there was still probably 2 pounds of good turkey meat I was able to pull off the bones after boiling it.

shredded turkey

From the bones.

I also knew I wanted to use some nice, nutty brown rice for the soup along with some really fresh veggies. Some of these were also Thanksgiving leftovers.


Mostly leftovers still…

Here’s the basic list of ingredients I used, but again, this is a really flexible recipe and I would encourage you to not follow mine exactly. Just use what you have around.

This recipe made about 2 gallons of soup for me. SO adjust accordingly…

- 1.5 gallons liquid (I used about half stock and half water)
- 2 pounds shredded turkey
- 1 1/2 large onions, diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 4 Serrano peppers, diced
- 1 pound new potatoes, cubed
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons fresh thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 Cup Green Chile Sauce (had it leftover from burritos so I just threw it into the soup)
- 1 1/2 Cups brown rice
- Salt and pepper

To make the soup, I just heated my oil in a large pot and added the onions, celery, carrots, and peppers. Once they cooked for a few minutes, I added the potatoes, herbs, turkey, rice, and green chile sauce. Then I covered all that with my liquid, brought it to a simmer, and simmered until the rice was cooked through (about an hour).

Season it well with salt and pepper and you’re all set.

turkey rice

Finished soup!

Of course, I froze most of this as for later.

Frozen soup isn’t as impressive as the burrito tower though!

What did you use your holiday leftovers for? Leave a comment or link with any interesting ideas!

It was actually Betsy’s idea to make burritos, but I don’t give her that much credit because I’m pretty sure that’s she always looking for a reason to make burritos.