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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.

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 Dagwood.

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 denuded carcass.

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.

Willand also makes a mean creamed turkey. Saute 1/4 cup of onion in 2 tablespoons of butter until the onion is soft. Add 1/3 cup of chopped green pepper and 1/3 cup of chopped red pepper to soften slightly. Add 1/2 cup of mushrooms. Cook one minute.

In a separate pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add 2 tablespoons of flour, and stir. Then add 1-1/2 cups of milk and cook until it thickens. For zip, add 1 tablespoon of sherry and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg. Stir in the onions and pepper mixture. Then toss in 2 cups of cooked turkey and warm gently. Season to taste, and then heap it over rice, noodles, biscuits, or cornbread.

Stallings says he also likes a dish his mother makes: turkey and pan drippings with noodles.

To give turkey a different flavor, check out the thousands of recipes on www.recipelink.com. Apples add crunch, curry is nice, grapes go well, pineapple for a Hawaiian touch, and turkey and cranberry chowder could be a hit. There is even a recipe for Turkey Pistachio Tacos.

People can't say they are tired of turkey if they can't recognize it!

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