Delicious Holiday LeftoversDon't Just Throw It Out
-- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietician
Kitchens across the globe are in a state of turmoil with holiday meal preparations underway. Dinner is served, food is eaten, and dishes are done…then the chaos really hits! “What are we going to do with all these leftovers?!”
Don’t panic. Armed with a few food safety tips (and some simplye ideas for making magical meals using leftovers), you’ll be set to feed the crew for several more days.
Think Safety First
Refrigerate leftover foods quickly (at a proper temperature) to slow the growth of bacteria and prevent foodborne illness.
- Make sure your refrigerator is set below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Ensure that perishable leftovers do not sit out unrefrigerated for longer than two hours.
- To cool the leftovers quickly, divide the food into small portions. Store each portion in shallow, uncovered containers in the refrigerator.
- Avoid overloading the refrigerator because cold air needs room to circulate.
The following cooked foods will last in the refrigerator for up to the number of days listed.
|Cooked Vegetables||3-4 days|
|Deli Meats||5 days|
|Beef, Poultry or Pork||3-4 days|
|Soups, Stews or Casseroles||3-4 days|
Recipe Ideas for Common Leftovers
Panzanella - Even with the less flavorful tomatoes you're likely to find in the fall and winter, this salad is still a delicious way to use up leftover bread.
Low-Fat Bread Pudding - This is the perfect dessert for a post-Thanksgiving gathering with friends.
Light French Toast - Treat your family to a wonderful breakfast using bread left over from your Thanksgiving feast.
Vegetable Quiche - You can use any kind of leftover vegetable to fill this quiche.
Garden Harvest Vegetable Soup - Soup is probably the easiest way to use up lots of leftover veggies, including corn and green beans.
Chicken Pot Pie - Get creative with this traditional pot pie recipe and use whatever veggies you have on hand.
Turkey Gumbo Soup - Instead of your usual turkey soup, try this delicious gumbo recipe for a new flavor combination.
Turkey and Rice Casserole - You can control the level of fat in this yummy recipe by using reduced-fat cheese and sour cream.
Turkey Enchiladas - Turn your Thanksgiving leftovers into a Mexican fiesta with this enchilada recipe.
Slow Cooker Ham and Scalloped Potatoes - If your Thanksgiving celebration included a ham, try this slow cooker recipe to put the leftovers to good use.
15 Bean Soup with Ham - If the weekend after Thanksgiving is particularly cold, this soup would be a perfect way to warm up.
Quiche Cups - These mini quiches are perfect for breakfast or your lunch bag.