What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving is a week away which means you might still be searching for good recipes for stuffing, cranberry relish, or some other traditional or, non-traditional dish. But we’re thinking ahead to what to do with the leftovers everyone will inevitably have in  the days that follow this great holiday feast!

How to Store Leftovers: One of the most important things is to store leftovers quickly so that they’re safe to serve again. A good rule of thumb is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold while serving, but if you can’t do that, start putting your perishable leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours of serving.

Turkey should never be stored with stuffing in it. The turkey should be removed from the bone and placed in shallow containers or plastic bags. Storing should be done in smaller batches, as larger ones take much longer to cool and keep the heat trapped in…not a good thing. Best not to stack containers in the refrigerator until they’ve completely cooled down. Storing foods in their serving dishes takes up a lot of space, so placing these leftovers in smaller containers is also a good idea…and safer.

How Long Can You Store Leftovers? In the refrigerator, leftovers re usually good for four days and should be reheated to 165 degrees F. before serving. Soups and sauces should be brought to a full boil when reheating. Of course frozen leftovers can be kept much longer, but start to lose their flavor after a couple months. Just remember to let the food cool down in the refrigerator before storing in the freezer. You should always mark the contents of the containers as well and date them for future reference.

So What About Eating Those Leftovers? Well, there’s no end to all the great recipes available for turning those leftovers into mouth-watering meals and we’re adding a few links here to get you there! In the meantime, here’s a few quick and easy ideas to get you started:

  1. Add leftover stuffing to clean mushroom caps, sprinkle with grated parmesan or your favorite herb and saute until caps are tender and golden.
  2. Make Grilled Turkey Reubens by adding several slices turkey and 1/2 c drained sauerkraut (both warmed in microwave) to 2 slices rye bread, 2 slices of swiss cheese and 2 T of Thousand Island Dressing. Brush bread with butter and grill in skillet over medium-low heat, a few minutes on each side. Enjoy!
  3. Eggs in Purgatory will help you use up those leftover mashed potatoes. Just shape them into patties, coat with a little flour, saute in skillet w/olive oil (about 2 minutes
    per side), then place on top of 1/4 c warmed marinara sauce on a small plate. Top with a cooked sunny-side-up egg and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little grated Parmesan…delicious!