Safeguard Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
Thanksgiving dinner usually ends with a lot of leftovers for days. To keep your food fresh and your stomach happy, be sure to follow the 2-2-4 formula for reusing leftovers.
Some Foods Keep Better Than Others continued...
"People also put a lot of delicate stuff in mashed potatoes at
Thanksgiving," Garrett says. "They can be risky to keep
Sweet potatoes, however, contain sugar and are also prepared using sugary
ingredients (such as those excellent little marshmallows). "Sugar,"
Garrett notes, "acts as something of a preservative."
What about that creamy greenbean/onion ring casserole? "It only contains
three-fourths of a cup of milk," Garrett says, "so it keeps fairly
She also recommends that some dishes be prepared ahead, frozen or
refrigerated, and then microwaved, giving you another shot at zapping harmful
bugs. "This keeps the food safe a little longer."
Great Variations on a Theme
For some people, the "day after" (or, let's face it, the "snack
two hours after") is more anticipated than the main meal itself. One man I
know prepares a turkey breast at home if he is eating at someone else's house.
That way, his right to turkey sandwiches is preserved when he returns. His
secret? Homemade Russian dressing, combining mayo, ketchup, sweet pickle
relish, and salt and pepper.
Another woman makes a Thanksgiving dinner sandwich, layering on not only
turkey, but adding some dressing, cranberry sauce, even potatoes, to create a
Turkey soup is also a classic. Lois Carlson Willand is author of The
Use-It-Up Cookbook: A Guide to Minimizing Food Waste. She tells WebMD that
it's best to divide all your turkey into white, dark, and drumsticks as soon as
people leave the table. If you aren't making soup the next day, freeze the
When you have time, put the carcass in a big pot and cover with water. Then
add carrots, celery, onions, allspice, salt, pepper, even turkey skin for
flavor. If you want more intensity, add some low-fat, low-salt chicken broth
from a can. Cook at a low simmer for an hour to an hour and a half. Then save
the broth in tightly lidded jars ("I love those glass jars peanut butter
used to come in," Willand exclaims.)
When the time comes to make the soup, combine the broth with turkey pieces,
rice or noodles, and any veggies you have around. "I resist getting
highfalutin ingredients," she says.