\ Butternut Squash & Turkey Chili: Thanksgiving leftovers with a twist | Dorina Lazo Gilmore

Butternut Squash & Turkey Chili: Thanksgiving leftovers with a twist

Posted by | November 25, 2016 | food stories, Recipes | No Comments


Admittedly, my favorite part of Thanksgiving cooking is not day-of cooking. It’s actually the leftover challenge. I love thinking up unique and creative ways to use our leftovers. One year we made sweet potato muffins. Another year we turned the leftover turkey and carcass into an awesome lime-infused Tortilla Soup. I love green turkey enchiladas or leftover croissant bread pudding to name a few. One year I even had a cooking contest for my girls where they had to create something with the leftovers. A fun way to get kids thinking creatively in the kitchen!

Last week I hosted a Friendsgiving Feast with the mamas and kids who are a part of my Wednesday Go Mama Workout group. Rather than serving up the traditional turkey, stuffing, gravy and green beans I decided to make this butternut squash and turkey chili, which combines some of the best Thanksgiving flavors into a hearty fall chili. My friend Stephanie made us a fabulous salad with candied pecans, strawberries and a homemade vinaigrette. Yazmin brought a classic pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Our meal was complete!

We had a precious time together around the table sharing stories and processing the elections results. I am grateful this year for a safe place to share my heart, my fears and even my prayer requests. The time is especially sweet after we have completed a hard workout and we have a delicious meal to share.

This chili would be great with cornbread or I served it with blue corn tortilla chips for color. You could even dump all the ingredients in a crockpot in the morning and cook it on low all day if you are off to work or plan to be gone shopping those Black Friday sales.

What unique dishes do you like to make with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Leave a comment and tell us how you like the chili!


Butternut Squash & Turkey Chili


1 tablespoon olive oil

pound turkey breast tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

28-ounce can diced tomatoes

15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 18-ounce can tomato sauce

1 onion, chopped

cup peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash 

1/2 cup chicken broth

cup frozen organic corn (I love the Trader Joe’s frozen sweet corn.)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

tablespoon chili powder

clove garlic, minced

cups shredded fresh spinach

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. In a large pot saute turkey in one tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Add chopped onions and butternut squash to the pot and cook approximately 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add undrained tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, chicken broth, corn, cranberries, jalapeno pepper, chili powder, and garlic. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes
  4. Cover and cook on low for 25 minutes. If desired, stir in additional broth to reach desired consistency.
  5. Stir in spinach just before serving.
  6. Sprinkle each serving with cheese for garnish.

Makes 8 servings.


About Dorina Gilmore

I grew up on the South Side of Chicago and then was transplanted to Central California after college. I'm officially a California girl now. My husband died of melanoma cancer in 2014, but in God's wild grace He brought my new husband Shawn to redeem our family. I have three daughters. When I'm not writing or speaking, I'm trail running, knitting or chasing sunsets at the ocean. My passion is helping people navigate grief and discover God's glory in the process.

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