What are our favorite things about Thanksgiving? The delicious meal and being surrounded by loved ones are at the top of the list, but close behind is Thanksgiving leftovers! Utilizing leftovers is a great way to not only prevent food waste but also to get creative with different recipes. With a plethora of turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, veggie dishes, and much more, it can be tough to decide exactly what to make. We've compiled tips and tasty recipes from some of our favorite food bloggers to help you turn your Thanksgiving leftovers into culinary dreams.
Top Tips for Using Thanksgiving Leftovers
1. Don't Forget About Food Safety
Use the 2-2-4 rule to make sure your Thanksgiving leftovers stay safe to eat.
2 hours: Make sure to refrigerate or freeze food within two hours of cooking. The food safety experts at the USDA note that bacteria in food left out for more than two hours double in number every 20 minutes.
2 inches: To prevent bacteria growth, food needs to be cooled quickly and evenly. Store leftovers in shallow dishes that are around two inches deep.
4 days: Eat leftovers within four days and make sure you reheat to 165 degrees F before eating.
For additional information on Thanksgiving food safety, check out these links:
2. Don't Forget the Sides
Turkey is often front and center in Thanksgiving leftovers, but many of the side dishes can be repurposed in delicious recipes. Try cranberry sauce as a topping for ice cream or pancakes or use those extra yams in a pie or the stuffing in empanadas.
3. Plan Ahead and Be Realistic
Many Thanksgiving hosts fear they won't have enough food for all of their guests and end up cooking too much. To find a balance between having some leftovers and not wasting any food, the key is to plan ahead and be realistic about the amount of food you actually need. Here's a quick guide to help you navigate the portion sizes for different dishes.
4. Utilize Unique Spices and Ingredients
Ethnic dishes and spices can turn leftovers into a fresh new meal. Be creative and try something new!
Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipe Roundup
by J Wynia