Saturday Soup

What to eat when your fridge is filled with nothing but bits of leftovers? Saturday Soup! It's my family's proven forumula for using up lots of bits of leftovers. It's rarely pretty but it's usually surprisingly tasty – and best of all, food waste drops to nil.

Leftovers for Saturday Soup

Thanksgiving leftovers are the best! But if a week’s gone by and your fridge still holds turkey bounty, chances are, everyone’s ready to move on.

SATURDAY SOUP is a terrific way to use up leftovers all year round. Make it regularly and you’ll find yourself saving tiny bites of leftovers (sometimes in a designated container in the fridge or freezer) that might otherwise go to waste.

As a kid, we threw a batch together for Saturday lunch, cleaning out the fridge before Mom headed to the store to pick up the next week’s groceries. Because the leftovers changed every week, two pots rarely tasted the same, except for being both reliably delicious and completely unrepeatable!

ALANNA's TIPS Bacon meat itself is optional but bacon fat seems to meld all the flavors. Add only enough leftovers as needed for the next meal because leftover Saturday Soup is strictly forbidden! Experiment! Memorable batches have included fruit cocktail and applesauce; one great potful used up leftover sauerkraut and sausage.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 15 – 20 minutes
Serves: You Decide
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped, or about 1 tablespoon bacon fat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup liquid – skim milk, chicken broth, tomato juice, broth from cubes, etc, heated in microwave
  • Leftover meat, chopped
  • Leftover vegetables, chopped
  • Leftover pasta, rice, fried or mashed potatoes, etc.
  • Leftover fruit, chutney, etc.
  • Salt, pepper, hot sauce, etc.

Sauté the bacon, onion and garlic until soft. Stir in the flour and combine well. Slowly add the hot liquid, stirring to avoid lumps. Add leftover meat, vegetables, starches and other leftovers. Stir until hot, about 5 – 10 minutes since the ingredients are already fully cooked.

Add more liquid as needed for volume and to keep soupy. If you’re short on leftover vegetables, add a can or two. Limit the starches; a little is a lot. Once the soup is hot, taste it and add salt and pepper. If the soup tastes flat, add more garlic, Tabasco or other spices.

Saturday Soup

Saturday Soup is rarely pretty but it is often surprisingly tasty. This batch used up some leftover pulled pork, leftover cooked turkey, leftover Plant Sale Soup and a few shriveled grapes.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite technique for using up leftover that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via

How Do You use Up Leftovers?

Too often, leftovers just languish in the fridge, then we throw them away. So if you've got a tip for how to successfully manage leftovers, share it with other Kitchen Parade readers in the comments. I'd love to know your ideas!

Looking for Recipes for Leftover Turkey?

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Turkey Tetrazzini on Toast Chicken & Wild Rice Soup (Turkey & Wild Rice Soup) Turkey Wild Rice Casserole

© Copyright 2003 Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous2/23/2009

    The saddest part of making a soup like this? I can never recreate it again!

    I just made my second batch of soup in 4 days. Friday I made Clean Out The Crisper soup (an abundance of turnips, leftover rutabaga, carrots/celery/onion/garlic combined with frozen Italian sausage and turnip greens). It was pretty good. I shared with a family in need and my parents.

    But today-today I made Clean Out The Freezer soup. I had a bag full of frozen Crowder peas put up during the CSA Crowder Pea overload, a hunk of ham, some chicken wingtips leftover from Superbowl hot wings . . . and a freezer bag mysteriously marked "for soup". As it thawed I determined that it contained leftovers from a Swiss chard/potato/bacon dish, and some more Italian sausage.

    Man was this soup good. If/when we get Crowder peas again, I won't even try and eat them fresh, I'll just freeze them in anticipation.

  2. Ha -- the mark of a true cook is one who can use up those last and random bits in the fridge and freezer and have people look FORWARD to it. Welcome to the world of Saturday Soup! Tell your mum it was Shirley's favorite trick!

  3. The Sister10/16/2010

    That's so funny -- yours is quite different from mine! I don't use flour at all, just broth or water.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna