There are many delicious recipes that you can make with your Holiday leftovers! Here are some ideas from popular food websites:
Food Network has a collection of 61 Best Thanksgiving Leftover Recipe Ideas. These recipes include soups, pot pies, sandwiches, waffles, and more. You can transform your leftover turkey and sides into delicious next-day dishes that are just as good as the originals.
The Pioneer Woman has a list of 45 Best Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes and Ideas. These recipes will transform the dishes you worked so hard to make into weekday wonders to enjoy in the days to come. From fall breakfasts and quick lunch ideas to easy dinners, not a single morsel of your holiday feast will go to waste! There are plenty of ideas for reusing leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, or even green bean casserole.
Ahead of Thyme has a list of the 25 Best Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes. This list includes popular recipes for everything from leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and more.
“How can I safely store my holiday leftovers, and what is the recommended duration for storage?”
Here are some tips to help you safely store your holiday leftovers:
Cooling: Leftovers that need to be cold should be stored in the refrigerator within two hours to avoid a germ breeding ground. It’s not necessary or safer to cool them to room temperature before you refrigerate or freeze them.
Containers: Use air-tight and leak-proof storage items. Glass storage containers are preferred, but if plastic is being used, make sure it is food-safe. The best way to preserve the foods you love is to use NSF-certified food storage containers.
Refrigerator: Avoid over-packing the refrigerator. Having too much food in the fridge can prevent the machine from being able to cool properly. Separate large quantities of food into smaller containers to help speed up cooling. Vent lids slightly when placing containers in the fridge.
Reheating: Not all food storage containers are safe for reheating foods. Check the usage instructions on the bottom of the container, visit the manufacturer’s website, or consult the retailer for details. Use your thermometer and reheat leftovers to at least 165° F (73° C) before eating.
Most leftovers will remain safe to eat for about four days in your refrigerator.
“What are some common food safety mistakes?”
There are many common food safety mistakes that people make. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Not cooking meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs thoroughly: Undercooked foods may have germs that can make you sick. Use a food thermometer to make sure you cook food to a safe internal temperature.
- Eating raw batter or dough: Uncooked flour and eggs may contain E. coli, Salmonella, or other harmful bacteria. Cook or bake flour and eggs thoroughly. Don’t eat foods that contain raw or undercooked eggs, such as homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, and some homemade eggnog.
- Thawing or marinating food on the counter: Harmful germs can multiply very quickly at room temperature. Thaw food safely in the refrigerator, in cold water, or the microwave. Always marinate food in the fridge.
- Leaving food out too long before putting it in the fridge: Harmful germs can grow in perishable foods if you leave them out of the refrigerator for 2 hours or longer. Put perishable foods in the refrigerator within 2 hours or 1 hour if the food is exposed to a temperature of over 90*F.
- Peeling fruits and vegetables without washing them first: Fruits and vegetables may have germs on their peeling or skin. It’s easy to transfer those germs to the inside of fruits and vegetables when you cut or peel them. Wash all fruits and vegetables under running water, even if you’re going to peel them. Use a clean vegetable brush on firm fruits and vegetables like melons, avocados, and cucumbers.
“How do I know if my food is safe to eat?”
There are several ways to determine if your food is safe to eat. Here are some tips:
- Expiration dates: Food manufacturers determine best-by and expiration dates by considering many factors: the characteristics of the particular food and its ingredients, the packaging, and the temperature at which the food should be stored. While these can be a good benchmark, we need to remember this refers more to the food’s quality instead of its safety to consume.
- Temperature: Food is safely cooked when the internal temperature gets high enough to kill germs that can make you sick. The only way to tell if food is safely cooked is to use a food thermometer. You can’t tell if food is safely cooked by looking at its color and texture (except for seafood).
- Visual examination: Understanding what’s happening can help you evaluate whether or not food is still safe to eat. For example, browning on apples, bananas, and potatoes is generally harmless. The outer skin of these foods acts to protect the inside. When exposed to air, the inside “oxidizes” and turns brown. There is no harm in eating these foods once they are browned, and most times no difference in taste.
“How do I know if my leftovers have gone bad?”
There are several ways to determine if your leftovers have gone bad. Here are some tips:
- Expiration dates: Leftovers should be tossed after a maximum of one week. A better and safer schedule would probably be 3-4 days. If it’s going to be longer than that, it is advisable to freeze the product.
- Visual Examination: Sight, smell, and touch are easy ways to tell if food has gone bad. It is a good idea to check your leftover dishes for one or more of these signs of spoilage. If the food looks moldy, throw it away immediately. (If it were stored in a plastic container, I would recommend trashing that also). If the color or the smell is different from the original dish condition, consider it spoiled and unsafe to eat. Dispose of it.
- Texture: If lunch meats and holiday roasts feel slick to the touch or have an unusual glossy sheen, it’s probably time to toss them out. Vegetables can also show these signs. If your salad looks soggy, it’s not something you will want to serve your family or friends.
“How do I safely store holiday leftovers, and for how long?”
Here are some tips to help you safely store your holiday leftovers:
- Cooling: Leftovers that need to be cold should be stored in the fridge within 2 hours to avoid a germ-breeding situation. It is not necessary to cool them to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.
- Containers: Use air-tight and leak-proof storage items. Glass storage containers are preferred, but if plastic is being used, make sure it is food-safe. The best way to preserve food for later use is to use NSF-safe storage containers.
- Refrigerator: Avoid over-packing the refrigerator. Having too much food in the refrigerator can interfere with the cooling capability of it. Separate large quantities of food into smaller containers to help speed up cooling. It’s a good idea to vent the lids slightly to facilitate the cooling process.
- Reheating: Not all food storage containers are safe for reheating foods. Check the usage instructions on the bottom of the container, visit the manufacturer’s website, or consult the retailer for details. Check reheated leftover food items to ensure the temperature has reached at least 165 degrees F (73C).
- Most leftovers will keep for about 4 days if kept at the proper temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.