TLC for holiday leftovers

FILE-This Oct. 18, 2007 file photo shows a turkey with thermometer. Federal guidelines state that your turkey is safe to eat when the innermost part of the thigh reaches 165 F. If the turkey is stuffed the stuffing must also reach 165F.  (AP Photo/Larry Crowe,File)

It seems almost a sure bet that when talking about the big Thanksgiving meal, the conversation almost always turns to the anticipation of the leftovers.

The planning, shopping, peeling, chopping and cooking is all worth it, considering what comes afterward.

Taking good care of those leftovers will result in good eating for the rest of the holiday weekend and beyond.

Although it’s tempting to sit around the table enjoying family and friends and possibly avoiding kitchen cleanup, it’s imperative to get leftovers in the fridge within two hours of cooking for food safety and good taste.

Keep the following in mind:

Divide large quantities of meat, stuffing and other leftovers into smaller, shallow containers for quick chilling.

Reheat leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy to 165 degrees.

Use turkey in four days, stuffing in two days (some say four days but I don’t chance it) and gravy in one to two days.

To freeze leftovers, get them into the freezer right away for best quality. Cooked turkey can be frozen for up to four months and retain quality; gravy and stuffing, a month.

I freeze turkey in broth to maintain taste and texture.

Before we get to serving ideas, I have an announcement: The Gingerbread House Builders Association (GHBA) wants to remind you to get your house, business, train, truck, dinosaur or whatever ready for Palisade’s Olde Fashioned Christmas Gingerbread House Contest and Showcase set for Dec. 12.

There are five categories, and kits are allowed in three. Check out all details and rules at

And now, here are some ideas for making Thanksgiving leftover magic.

Best broth ever: Slow cook turkey carcass overnight in the crock-pot with an onion, carrot, celery, water and a little chicken broth.

Turn that broth into turkey soup with beans, pasta and vegetables, whatever

Tuck turkey into enchiladas, lasagna or casseroles such as one made with leftover stuffing, gravy and cream of chicken soup. Serve with cranberries.

Turkey can be used in salads of all kinds and stir fry dishes.

Day after Thanksgiving brunch

6 eggs

3/4 cup shredded turkey

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup minced onion

1 medium avocado, peeled and diced

1/3 cup shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese

A couple drops hot sauce (optional)

Saut&233; onions and peppers. Beat eggs, add hot sauce and turkey; pour over vegetables in medium hot nonstick skillet brushed with a little oil. Gently scramble until done but not dry. Sprinkle with cheese; serve with leftover cranberry sauce, sour cream, etc.

Thai Turkey roll-up

4 8-inch whole wheat tortillas (high protein)

1 pound oven roasted turkey breast, sliced thin

2 ounces red onion, sliced thin

2 ounces cleaned lettuce, shredded

4 teaspoons cilantro, washed, drained and chilled

Peanut sauce

1 large lime, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons green onion, minced

1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter

2 teaspoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


In a medium bowl, combine lime juice and zest, soy sauce, onions, cilantro, peanut butter, sugar, ginger root, garlic and pepper flakes. Stir well.

Spread each tortilla with peanut sauce. Layer each with 4 ounces sliced turkey. Evenly sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon onion, 1 tablespoon lettuce and 1 teaspoon cilantro.

Roll tightly, cut on diagonal. Serve chilled.


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