We Made A LOT of Food…Now What?

by Jenn (eating bender) on November 29, 2008

I’ve never been a big fan of leftovers. I know that may sound crazy to some of you 😯 But for me, once I eat something, I tend to consider myself done with it. Time to move on. This is why most of my meals are meant to serve one person – and why I don’t have a big need for Tupperware around the house!

My leftover philosophy goes down the food disposal at Thanksgiving. After the feast, we are left with piles upon piles of leftovers that fill up both the fridge and yes, those neglected Tupperware containers.

But what to do with all of that extra food?


Enter Papa Bender’s Turkey Spaetzle Soup! This soup has got it goin’ on – the perfect combination of flavors and spices that can convince even the biggest leftover-phobes – aka my mom and me – that hey, maybe they aren’t so bad after all!

Since he is always looking for airtime on the blog, Papa Bender graciously shared his recipe with me 😉 If you have turkey leftovers, I highly recommend giving this soup a try!

Papa Bender’s Turkey Spaetzle Soup


Ingredients (makes 5 quarts):

  • 2 cups turkey stock (from our Thanksgiving bird)
  • 2 cups canned chicken broth
  • 4 quarts water
  • 3 cups leftover turkey, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 can Northern beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ground thyme
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 3 bay leaves (for flavor)
  • Set aside for later: 1 box spaetzle noodles


Combine all ingredients except the spaetzle noodles in a large pot. Simmer on the stove for 4 hours on low heat.


Near the end of the simmer time, boil spaetzle noodles in a separate pot. My dad does it separately because the noodles tend to get soggy if you store them together with the soup.


Serve 1 cup of soup with roughly 1 oz. of cooked spaetzle. Enjoy!!


This soup has such a light feel in the tummy – perfect for a cold day! Plus, it goes great with the leftover turkey, which stays extra tender and juicy as it simmers for hours.


I also really liked the spaetzle noodles. They are not what I would typically associate with a turkey or chicken noodle soup, but they add so much to it! They have a much more doughy consistency than regular noodles – and go well with my 1/4 German roots!


Nutrition Information (per 1 cup of soup and 1 oz. of spaetzle):

  • 165 calories
  • 2g fat
  • 25g carbohydrates
  • 3g fiber
  • 12g protein

Let me know if you try it!! I’m off to continue living up the final days of my way-too-short break – which, by the way, hasn’t been much of a break since I’ve got two finals and a problem set due the day after I get back to school 👿 Oh well, at least the holidays are here!!

Tell me, are you a fan of leftovers? Why or why not?

1 Caroline November 29, 2008 at 11:48 pm

I am definitely in agreement with you–I am NOT a fan of leftovers. For that very reason, I usually make dishes that are just enough food for 1. The only exception is when I make mock meatloaf…you can’t beat that next-day meatloaf sammie with loads of ketchup:)

2 Sharon November 30, 2008 at 12:53 am

Oh wow, I have never seen those noodles before!

3 Maggie November 30, 2008 at 12:58 am

Those noodles look really cool.

Good luck with your schoolwork!!

4 Marianne November 30, 2008 at 1:02 am

Nice soup – looks like a good use of those turkey dinner leftovers.

And I’m all for the leftovers! Especially if they were awesome the first time around. I have to be a fan of the leftovers, cuz it’s just me here, and most of the recipes I want to make serve more than just me. Plus they are great for days when you don’t want to cook – no thinking, just reheat the leftovers. And you always have lunch made the next day. Embrace the leftovers!

5 Pearl November 30, 2008 at 1:11 am

i’ve never seen those noodles! how cute!
there’s something wonderful about a stew with a cold day :)

6 Hangry Pants November 30, 2008 at 6:45 am

That soup looks really good! I do like leftovers because I guess I am used to them. My mom always made a lot of extra so we ate leftovers. Also, a lot of things (like soup) taste better a couple days later. There are some things I don’t like – leftover salad and eggs for example. Ooh.


7 chocolatecoveredvegan November 30, 2008 at 6:46 am

I used to hate leftovers, can you believe it?! But once I got out on my own and had to cook for myself, I definitely learned to love ’em! A good meal that you don’t have to cook (except for microwaving)? What’s not to love?!

8 VeggieGirl November 30, 2008 at 7:24 am

Innovative use of leftovers, my friend!! Fabulous!!

My favorite leftovers = the cranberry sauce (for oatmeal toppings!!) and dessert 😀

9 Erica November 30, 2008 at 8:32 am

The food looks great! Love seeing the Papa Bender leftovers! I love leftovers! Some foods actually taste better once they’ve sat (lasagna, pasta bakes, chili)! Mmmm!

10 Jenny November 30, 2008 at 8:45 am

Papa Bender has impressed me once again!! I’m 1/2 German, but I’ve never tried spaetzle noodles before! They do look nice and doughy though, yum!!

It kind of depends on what exactly the leftovers are, I mean I’ve been eating leftover turkey sandwiches these past few days and I rather like it, but I think I do have a probably reheating things like spaghetti for some reason.

Have a great day!

11 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) November 30, 2008 at 8:47 am

The soup looks good! Thanks for the recipe!

I love leftovers! I don’t mind at all eating the same foods a few days in a row – the food still tastes great to me the next day and even a couple days after that! Plus it’s awesome that all you have to do is reheat it – makes for a quick and easy meal!

12 Marisa November 30, 2008 at 9:03 am

I’m not big on leftovers either, but in trying to save money on the grocery bill, I am trying to be creative with what we have!

That soup looks amazing – definite keeper!

13 Beadie November 30, 2008 at 9:13 am

I don’t do well with leftovers unless I prepared it with the intention of having leftovers. I typically freeze them so that they seem new to me when it is time to eat this. It also ensures that I have good meals available to take to work.

But Thanksgiving leftovers, I don’t do. I keep those sorts of food out of my reach except for on T-day and Christmas. Too much butter, sugar and salt.

14 ksgoodeats November 30, 2008 at 9:14 am

Love spaetzle! I’m not really a big fan of leftovers but I hate seeing the food just sitting in the refrigerator so I usually end up giving in and eating them.

This was our warm up “break”, after the finals comes the loooong break 😉

15 Shannon November 30, 2008 at 9:26 am

Your noodles are so CUTE!
I have to say I don’t care for leftovers. I really wish I liked them (it would save me some cashola), but eating something that was cooked a few days ago sort of grosses me out. I still force myself to eat leftovers, occasionally, since I hate wasting things, too :)

16 Fit Bottomed Girls November 30, 2008 at 10:20 am

Yummy, yummy! I’m a fan of leftovers for sure. Yesterday I took 5 lbs of leftover mashed potatoes and turned them into a potato soup. :) Leftovers force you to be creative.

17 Melissa S. November 30, 2008 at 10:30 am

those noodles are too cute! i’m glad you’re enjoying your leftovers with your fam!

18 sweetandnatural November 30, 2008 at 11:00 am

I don’t like leftovers either. One, I don’t like to eat the same thing over and over when there are so many other flavors out there that want to be eaten too! Two, leftovers never taste as good the next day. Soup looks good though!

19 marafaye November 30, 2008 at 11:04 am

OMG SPAETZLE! Usually, my mom puts barley in her turkey soup but I’m going to suggest this to her!!

20 Sarah November 30, 2008 at 11:09 am

i’m not usually a big fan of leftovers either (unless it’s REALLY good!) but I’ve learned to deal with it because last year I was cooking for myself A LOT at school (unlike this year where I haven’t cooked at all!!) and most of my meals were made with recipes for 4 so I was stuck with lots of leftovers. I love being home because I can cook for my whole family and there aren’t many leftovers which means that i have so many more opportunities to try out new recipes. It’s great!

21 Erin November 30, 2008 at 12:36 pm

I love spaetzle noodles THEY ARE SO GOOD! Holla German heritage!

22 Nicole November 30, 2008 at 1:20 pm

I wish I had leftovers! I feel so left out of the leftover fun 😀

23 Katie November 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm

I love leftovers – sweet or savory – for any meal. Something about pulling a ready-to-heat-up meal out of the fridge just makes me smile.

24 eatingbirdfood November 30, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Great idea on PapaBenders part!

I like leftovers. I like to bring them for lunch or eat them for dinner when I don’t feel up to cooking a meal – homemade soups are usually better the next day!! Certain foods aren’t good left over though – like fries, salad, or sandwiches that could get soggy.

25 Kristie November 30, 2008 at 3:36 pm

That looks like an awesome soup! Especially with those noodles, how cool are those?! Never seen em before but I’ll have to keep my eye out.

I’m a leftovers fan. A big leftovers fan. Any and all kinds. Whenever I hear about all of the people that don’t like leftovers out there I am shocked! I mean, I guess certain foods you can get sick of and such so leftovers could be boring but there are so many ways to dress em up and make em exciting!

26 Allison November 30, 2008 at 7:25 pm

MMM that soup looks AMAZING!

27 runningwithfood November 30, 2008 at 8:08 pm

I’m with you – we’re not huge leftover people either. We’ve sure had our fill of them the last few days – I’m happy to report that everything is gone, except a wee bit of turkey. I just can’t bear to throw good food away!!!

I’ve bookmarked Papa Bender’s soup – it looks great!

28 Megan November 30, 2008 at 9:17 pm

I love spaetzle! This is a fabulous way to use leftovers!

29 gina (fitnessista) November 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm

what an amazing way to use thanksgiving leftovers! that papa bender always comes up with amazing culinary delights 😀 TOTALLY runs in the fmaily! i LOOOOVE leftovers –especially cold pizza– but the hubby is not a fan, so i usually make enough for the two of us and that’s it.
looks like you’ve been having a good time in beautiful az! i hope your flight back is NOTHING like mine was… total disaster!
hope all is well <3

30 Rose December 1, 2008 at 9:14 am

spaetzles! my grandmother used to make those ALL the time – so easy!

I’m OK with leftovers. I once had a roommate who would NEVER eat leftovers. Once they touched a tupperware container, she was done.

31 zestycook December 1, 2008 at 9:34 am

Jenn, i am still jealous – I love left overs. Everything looks great.


32 lauren December 1, 2008 at 11:26 am

your soup looks outstanding! and I am not a fan of leftovers either!!

33 oatmeal December 1, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Haha–that’s how my family does it too–just throw all the leftovers together in some sort of soup 😛
Those are the coolest noodles ever, by the way! They look like rice~

34 runjess December 1, 2008 at 2:17 pm

I treat leftovers the same way: by trying to make them a little different so they are still interesting. Looks like a great leftovers recipe!

35 wholefoodswholeme December 2, 2008 at 5:59 am

lovely jenn!! thank you for coming to my blog again :) looks like you had a fantastic thanksgiving (and aftermath!!) – so great to see you enjoying yourself! i stop by and see what you’re up to – i’m sneaky and you never know when i’m watching 😉

36 Tero March 4, 2009 at 1:25 am

Those noodles look different! I’m not much of a leftover guy I just stick with a single serving of the foods that heal
and stay away from any foods growing bacteria.

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