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Makeover Your Leftovers

November 28, 2011

I hope you had a relaxing, wonderful Thanksgiving!  Did you use some of the healthy tips I provided to make this one of your healthiest Thanksgivings ever?  I hope so!  One of the best things about the Thanksgiving meal is there’s usually a ton of food left over.  And what better way to stretch your food dollar than to use the leftovers to make new and exciting dishes.

 Safety First

Although leftovers taste delicious, there’s a limit on how long you can safely keep them.  Proper temperature for storing your leftovers is important in order to avoid food borne illnesses.  Perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, and casseroles that have been left out for more than two hours at room temperature should be thrown away.  Whole roasts, turkeys, and hams should be cut into smaller pieces and stored in airtight shallow containers in the refrigerator at 40°F or less and should be eaten within 3-4 days.  If you choose to freeze leftovers, be sure you eat them within 2-6 months for best quality. 

 Reheating Leftovers

When reheating leftovers, be sure to reheat them to 165°F and use a food thermometer to check the temperature.  Bring gravy and soups to a boil and if microwaving foods, stir food thoroughly to make sure there aren’t any cold spots. 

 Be Creative with Your Leftovers

There are many ways you can use your Thanksgiving leftovers without eating the same thing night after night.  Consider the following delicious meals.  Your family won’t even know you created them from the leftovers. 

  • Add turkey to a crisp apple salad.
  • Turkey and veggie wrap.
  • Turkey soup or turkey chowder.
  • Use leftover vegetables to create your own veggie stock.
  • Add veggies to whole wheat pasta and create a pasta primavera.
  • Try adding leftover cranberry sauce to nonfat yogurt and blenderize to create a delicious smoothie.
  • Whip up some potato pancakes with leftover mashed potatoes.
  • Donate leftovers!  Go to a local soup kitchen or food pantry and spread the holiday cheer.


These are just a few ways to use your leftovers.  What other ideas do you have for your Thanksgiving leftovers?  I would love to hear!

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