Best Tips And Recipes From Los Angeles Chefs For Thanksgiving Leftovers

November 21, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Marie Callendar’s)

thanksgivingheader Best Tips And Recipes From Los Angeles Chefs For Thanksgiving Leftovers
A Thanksgiving Day feast replete with standard trimmings and traditional side dishes has all the main ingredients for a delectable series of leftover lunch and dinner plans, say some of Los Angeles’ more celebrated chefs. All it takes to whip up a sumptuous post-holiday meal is a blend of mouth-watering vittles, a carousel of savory herbs and spices, and a few dashes of creative preparation. Executive chefs at two of L.A.’s more historic culinary landmarks share their professional thoughts and expert advice on how to make some favorite leftover offerings an enjoyable experience for friends and family. These chefs also remind amateur cooks to always feel free to modify suggested recipes to individualize their own tastes, specific needs and strict dietary requirements.

chef michael 225x300 Best Tips And Recipes From Los Angeles Chefs For Thanksgiving Leftovers
Chef Michael Rosen

Executive Chef, 15 years of experience
Pacific Dining Car
2700 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 453-4000


  • 4 cups cooked, leftover turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Bacon bits
  • 1 oz. Roquefort cheese
  • 1 1/2 to 2 fluid oz. Dijon vinaigrette per salad
  • 1/2 small avocado (optional)

1.   Wash and drain refrigerated lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces.
2.   Remove skin from leftover turkey and dice.
3.   Cut bacon into small pieces and cook until crisp, then cool.
4.   Grate Roquefort cheese (or Bleu cheese, if preferred).
5.   Dijon vinaigrette (extra virgin olive oil, good red wine or sherry vinegar, extra strong Dijon mustard, chopped garlic or shallots, kosher salt and coarse black pepper). Mix all ingredients, except olive oil; gradually add olive oil. Whisk vigorously to form an emulsion.
6.   Mix everything together, then toss with vinaigrette.

Tip: To avoid illness, always remember to refrigerate food, specifically poultry and ham, within two hours after it leaves the oven.


  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (start with a really good garnet yam, baked until nice, soft and caramelized)
  • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon all-spice seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

1.   Break apart sweet potato in a bowl.
2.   Cream butter and sugar.
3.   Add eggs, one at a time.
4.   Add cream, spices and vanilla.
5.   Add mashed yam, mix until smooth.
6.   Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.
7.   Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife is inserted into center comes out clean.

Tip: Always remove skin from the yam while it is still warm, then place skinless yam into a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.


  • 4-6 oz. cooked, leftover turkey, skin removed (white or dark meat, or combination of both)
  • Leftover stuffing
  • Leftover gravy
  • 8 slices sourdough or good country white bread

1.   Reheat leftover turkey in a tiny bit of stock or just a minute or two in the microwave.
2.   In a separate pan, reheat turkey gravy.
3.   Warm stuffing in oven or microwave.
4.   Position one slice of bread on plate and cut the second slice diagonally; place 1/2 on either side of the first piece.
5.   Place warm stuffing in the center of bread; top with warm turkey and smother it in gravy.
6.   Serve with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach.

Related: Ideas For Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes From Chef Gavan Murphy

chef james garcia 300x225 Best Tips And Recipes From Los Angeles Chefs For Thanksgiving Leftovers
Chef James Garcia

Chef de Cuisine, Le Cordon Bleu Alumnus
The Proud Bird Restaurant
11022 Aviation Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310) 670-3093


  • 4 cups leftover stuffing
  • 1 cup leftover turkey, shredded
  • 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups leftover potato chips, crumbled
  • 1 cup diced cheddar cheese (1/4 inch)
  • 4 eggs, beaten

1.   Place leftover stuffing in large bowl.
2.   Add beaten eggs, mashed potatoes and shredded turkey.
3.   Form uniform 1 oz. “balls.” (Tip: Use a small ice cream scoop for uniformity).
4.   Press cheese into each of the balls.
5.   Heat frying oil to only 330 degrees F.
6.   Combine potato chips and breadcrumbs.
7.   Roll balls in breadcrumb mixture and fry until golden brown.
8.   Drain over paper towels to release excess oil.
9.   Serve as is, or skewer each to enjoy as an appetizer.

Tip: To avoid illness, never allow raw food and cooked food to touch each other.


  • 1 recipe pastry for 10-inch double-crust pie
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 3 red bliss potatoes, 1/4-inch cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, leftover turkey, 1/4-inch cubed
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 bay leaves

1.   Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2.   Roll out bottom pie crust, press into a 10 inch pie pan. Set aside.
3.   Melt two tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat.
4.   Add onion, celery, carrots, thyme, salt and pepper.
5.   Cook and stir until vegetables are soft.
6.   Stir in chicken stock or chicken broth.
7.   Bring mixture to boil.
8.   Stir in potatoes; cook until tender, but still firm.
9.   In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining two tablespoons butter.
10. Stir in turkey and flour.
11. Add milk and bay leaves; heat through.
12. Strain to remove lumps and bay leaves.
13. Stir turkey mixture into vegetable mixture; cook until thickened.
14. Cool slightly, then pour mixture into unbaked pie shell.
15. Roll out top crust and place on top of filling.
16. Flute edges, and make 4 slits in the top crust to vent.
17. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degree C); continue baking for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Related: Add A Gourmet Twist To Thanksgiving Dinner With Chef Azmin Ghahreman

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning freelance journalist who covers the glittering nightlife and bustling music scene in Los Angeles, among other topics of social interest. Some of her contributions to the entertainment industry have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Samples of her unique writing style can be found on

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