Turkey Day is almost here and visions of mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey fill my head … and soon — my belly! Max is also very excited for two very important reasons: he doesn’t have to wear clothes and Mama gives him extra treats. His excitement went through the roof when he learned that a really big birdie was a part of the holiday. It slightly dimmed when I told him a really big live birdie wasn’t part of our celebration. 🙂 I love him and am really grateful to have him in my life but not that grateful! Max is definitely the kind of cat who plays with his food!
I know everyone is still busy getting ready for the big meal but I’m thinking ahead about what to do with all those leftovers. Now I’m always up for at least one more repeat of Thanksgiving dinner but endless repeats do get a bit old. Many people fall back on the traditional turkey tetrazzini or other casseroles or a good turkey grinder sandwich to use up their remnants of Thanksgiving dinner. But those all scream leftovers to me and this soup does not.
It appears to be a bit of a copycat recipe of the Italian Garden version. Because I have not tried their version, I cannot attest to how close of a copycat it is. What I do know is this soup is really, really good. And it will help you use up a ton of leftovers without feeling like Thanksgiving leftovers, which is really important if you have a family who hates leftovers.
Stove-Top Soup Instructions for Leftovers
The full ingredient list is in the recipe card below, but I’m going to quickly walk through how to make it with your holiday leftovers as it will be slightly different since your meat is already cooked. Because of this, I would not make the soup in the crockpot.
Instead, I would start with cooking your bacon in a large soup pot. Once browned, remove the bacon to drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pot and add carrots, onions and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes then stir in garlic and cook for another minute. Add chicken broth, evaporated milk, spices and cornstarch mix. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for another 20-30 minutes (or how ever long it takes you to make the gnocchi). Add chicken, beans and gnocchi. When gnocchi rises to the top, remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on flat surface. Stir in spinach and when it is wilted, the soup is ready to serve. Place a few gnocchi in each bowl and ladle soup over them.
A Very Versatile and Delicious Soup
This is the kind of soup you can really play around with the ingredients. The base is delicious. Creamy without being heavy, thanks to the evaporated milk. It’s perfect for using leftover chicken (although again if you are – I would probably not make it in the crockpot but follow the stove-up instructions above). If you don’t have time to make gnocchi from scratch, use pre-made or add big chunks of potatoes instead. If some fennel, kale, zucchini or even corn are languishing in your fridge — add them too.
I love this soup. It tastes fabulous, makes a large quantity and reheats beautifully. Now that’s how you use up Thanksgiving Day leftovers or make a great, easy soup from scratch. Your choice.
Max and I are so grateful to our readers and truly appreciate your support. We wish everyone a safe and joyous Thanksgiving, filled with good food, friends and plenty of gratitude.
Tanya and Max