Be Thankful for the Extra Turkey

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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, as I find it meaningful and pretty simple. Spending time with family and friends, enjoying a great meal together, and being thankful are the only requirements. My family enjoys turkey with all the accompaniments for at least two meals, plus turkey sandwiches. But eventually, palates do crave other flavors. Fortunately, left-over turkey may be substituted in many soup and one dish-meal recipes that call for chicken.

To make the most of leftovers from your feast, remember to refrigerate at 40 degrees or less as soon as possible. Food should not be held in the “danger zone” of 40 – 140 degrees for more than 2 hours. Turkey is good up to 4 days in the refrigerator, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

This chili recipe is great for late fall, incorporating in-season butternut squash for a balanced and satisfying meal. It makes a large batch and freezes well, allowing you to enjoy now and again on busy nights during the holiday season.

Turkey Butternut Chili

Serves 8

1 butternut squash

¼ cup olive oil

2 chopped onions

3 tablespoons minced garlic

32 ounces chicken broth

1 can Rotel tomatoes

3 – 4 tablespoons chili powder

Big pinch cinnamon

2 diced red or green bell peppers

3 tablespoons white raisins

2 cans white beans, such as great northern or navy

1 can garbanzo beans

6 cups diced turkey

1 tablespoon powdered cocoa

Quarter the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and microwave in a Corning ware type dish, covered, for 6 – 9 minutes, or until the squash is partially tender. Once cooled enough, peel and cut into 1 inch chucks and set aside.

In a soup pot, sauté onions and garlic in oil until soft. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, squash, chili powder and cinnamon. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add bell pepper, raisins, beans turkey and cocoa. Simmer for at least 15 more minutes. Great topped with a little cheddar cheese.