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Chef It Up: Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving is here and the Food Dude talks to local chefs to get some creative ideas for leftovers with turkey and trimmings.
by Dave Cathey Modified: November 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm •  Published: November 26, 2013

The blood-, sweat-, and tear-letting all ends in 24 hours for the home cook whom the family has entrusted with the Thanksgiving feast.

If you've been following Sherrel Jones' Thanksgiving Dinner Diary, you should be locked and loaded, home cook, and will doubtlessly prepare far more food than your family can hope to consume in one sitting.

This has been the way of things for as long as we've been stuffing ourselves with turkey on the fourth Thursday in November. No holiday has ever done more for leftovers than Thanksgiving.

So, I decided to use our Chef It Up series to get some expert advice on what to do with our feastly fallout other than leave it to the mercy of the microwave oven.

I trekked down to Local, 2262 W Main in Norman, where chef Kyle Mills heads the expansive, busy kitchen.

Mills came to Local from A Good Egg Dining Group's Red Primesteak, joining chef Ryan Parrott in the kitchen.

When Parrott left Local, Mills took the reins of the kitchen of the farm-to-fork concept.

Local also features Localville, where children can go to play while mom and dad enjoy dinner.

Local also has a wide selection of foods available for pickup during the upcoming holiday season.

Mills opted to create macaroni and cheese using leftover turkey, which is a brilliant, simple and delicious plan. By the time that turkey has been roasted, sliced, pulled, massaged, repackaged and stored, it's probably seen its best days for offering flavor. Mixing it in with rich cream and cheese with beautiful locally made pasta is the perfect antidote for tired turkey.

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by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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Spinach salad with turkey, pecans, stuffing croutons and cranberry vinaigrette


½ cup leftover cranberry salad

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup olive oil

In blender combine cranberry salad, vinegar and honey. Blend on high to combine, then slowly drizzle in oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Dice leftover cornbread into cubes. Lightly toss with oil and bake in 400-degree oven until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.

Toss spinach with turkey, pecans and cranberry vinaigrette. Plate salad and top with croutons.

Source: Kyle Mills, executive chef of Local

Thanksgiving turkey macaroni and cheese

4 ounces Della terra rigatoni

3 ounces leftover pulled turkey

1 ounce shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 ounce shredded Gruyere cheese

2 tablespoons stuffing breadcrumbs

½ to ¾ cup heavy cream


Place crumbled cornbread stuffing into food processor and pulse to course crumbs. Put on baking sheet and into 400-degree oven till golden, between 8 and 12 minutes.

Heat cream in sauce pan over medium-high heat until simmering. Add turkey and cook for two minutes. Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. Add cheeses and cook for 3-4 minutes until thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Put into pasta bowl and top with stuffing breadcrumbs.

Source: Kyle Mills, executive chef of Local

Thanksgiving Kentucky Brown

Warmed leftover turkey

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups turkey stock

1 pound of taleggio cheese, diced



Sliced toasted country bread

Cooked quality bacon

tomato jam

2 slices taleggio

Hearts on fire sorrel

Melt butter. Add flour and cook for two minutes. Add turkey stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add taleggio a small amount at a time.

Pour into a blender and emulsify. Season with salt and pepper

To assemble, set the warmed turkey on country bread. Top with the bacon and slather in taleggio sauce. Top with taleggio slices, dot with tomato jam and place under broiler until golden and bubbly. Garnish with sorrel.

Source: Joshua Valentine, executive chef of The George Prime Steakhouse


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