Food Network's Alex Guarnaschelli Talks Holiday Leftovers & Her Love For Pumpkin Pie


Whether it's Thanksgiving or Christmas, it's inevitably the star of the annual holiday meal. But what do you do with all the leftover slices (and even little burnt ends)? Food Network's Alex Guarnaschelli teamed up with Woodbridge by Mondavi wines to show you how to reuse that juicy meat (that you spent all afternoon roasting). The best part? She encourages you to can drink a glass of wine alongside these decadent bites. #passthebottle

All you need is some phyllo dough, spinach, cream, your favorite cheese, and a few secret ingredients (ahem, tabasco). Ladies and gentlemen of the kitchen, I give you you... Spinach & Turkey Phyllo with Fondue! Because who can say no to doughy bites filled with spinach, topped with turkey, and smothered with rich fondue? Here's Chef Guarnaschelli giving a quick demo, sharing tips on how to make healthy sides, as well as giving a glimpse into her favorite holiday traditions. 

First of all, I'd like to hi-five Chef Guarnaschelli for admitting that she sneaks away to eat giant pieces of pie in the kitchen. 

Secondly, why haven't I ever made a "tester pie?"

I promise this fondue recipe is easy to put together. In typical "Carly always forgets an ingredient" fashion, I forgot to add the butter into the sauce (don't worry I poured it in at the end) and it still turned out amazing! Here's how I put it all together:

Shred leftover turkey (white or dark meat) 

Add cream and mustard (and a pinch of salt) to a simmering pot of reduced Chardonnay

Stir in swiss cheese, parmesan, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, and continue stirring until cheese melts.

Pour fondue into ramekin and get ready to smother those tasty turnovers!

Top with turkey and smother!

Add a sprinkle of flat leaf parsley for color & taste...

And dig in!

What other holiday tricks does chef guarnaschelli have up her sleeves?


What are some of your holiday traditions?

I make all of my pies from scratch. I'm actually training my daughter, who's 9, right now. Pumpkin pecan and cranberry. Those are the pies I make. My father's pepperoni and mozzarella stuffing is big for me. I try to make it open because the same thing every year? It just gets...ugh. It's a lot of work so I kind of like when it feels fresh.

If you had to get a store bought item for the holidays, what would you buy?

Store bought wouldn't buy a turkey or stuffing...probably desserts. Go to a good bakery and that just takes the pressure off. 

What if you're not cooking for a large group?

There's nothing wrong with roasting a chicken or making a big batch and cutting it in half or quarters. We are compulsive about making all this food and you just don't have to. If it's date night, go for it!

Have you ever had two random ingredients work well together in a recipe?

A couple years ago I made a celery root soup and braised clams (as little snacks). They needed more salt or something so I dumped them together for a root vegetable soup with clams. Solutions are right in front of you in the kitchen. Just relax and enjoy it and don't be afraid that you'll make mistakes. Because you'll make plenty. I don't fight the mistakes. I under season, over season, I burn, I do it. I don't think those things ever stop happening so if you enjoy cooking it becomes part of the process instead of "Oh my God!" I get that. I've spent all day on something and have it not work out and I've been upset.

Pants or a dress during the holiday feast?

I come to the table in what I cooked in. And it's just not pretty!

Spinach and Turkey Phyllo With Fondue


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound leftover roasted Butterball turkey meat, dark and white meat, "flaked" into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup leftover (thick) turkey gravy
  • 1 box spinach and feta phyllo appetizers
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Fondue sauce:

  • 2 cups Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons smooth dijon mustard
  • 2 cups finely grated swiss cheese
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco

Turnover directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Make the filling: In a medium-size skillet, heat the butter and add the turkey meat. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the turkey is warm. Stir in the gravy and cook until the gravy coats the meat, an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Bake and serve: Arrange the spinach and phyllo appetizers in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the center of the oven. Bake until they are golden brown, an average of 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the phyllo out onto a platter and arrange in a single layer. Stir the parsley into the turkey and arrange a generous spoonful on top of each phyllo triangle. Serve immediately with the warm fondue sauce for drizzling and dunking.

Fondue directions:

  1. Reduce the wine: In a medium pot, reduce the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay over medium heat until the liquid measures about 1/2 cup, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Make the fondue sauce: In the same pot, add the cream and the mustard to a simmer gently with a pinch of salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the swiss cheese, parmesan, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, and continue stirring until cheese melts. Taste for seasoning.

Follow Chef Alex Guarnaschelli's culinary adventures on Instagram at @guarnaschelli

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