There’s no denying it. Thanksgiving leftovers are the best part of the holiday. Well, leftovers and family. Okay, leftovers, family, and filling your house with the delicious smells that go along with the original meal.

But let’s focus on the leftovers.

Every year, I hope our family Thanksgiving dinner is early enough that I don’t feel guilty about loading up another plate in the evening. There is something so delicious about that second round, amiright?! It’s not a myth. Thanksgiving leftovers actually do taste better. There is scientific proof!

Forbes contacted someone smarter than me to explain it.Β Dr. Kantha Shelke, at the time, was a spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists, and the founder of a Chicago-based food science and research firm. Dr. Shelke says the reason leftovers taste so good is because of the chemical reactions that happen when you put that food in the fridge:

Aromatic ingredients tend to undergo a larger number of reactions that produce flavor and aroma compounds which in turn react with the proteins and the starches. In general, as the food cools and is left to sit in the fridge, and then re-heated, some of these reactions continue to take place resulting in improved flavor.

In English: The flavors of the different foods have a chance to meld together overnight. The turkey, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce all come together to create a complex and delicious flavor profile.

But that bird is big. And let’s face it, the turkey might be the thing that brings it all together, it is definitely not the most delicious thing on your Thanksgiving table. So, what do you do with all this leftover meat? Your mom probably made soup. (You can make soup out of just about anything.) But you can be more creative than that. Let me help you with these easy and creative recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers.

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