Thanksgiving Leftovers: Savvy Storage Solutions & Savory Second Chance Meals
By Chelsea Triola Published: November 28 2013
After everyone has had a chance to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner, one question remains - what do we do with all of these leftovers?
It’s finally time to sit down and indulge in the Thanksgiving meal you’ve been preparing all day! Thanksgiving is all about showing your thanks as you surround the dinner table with your loved ones and simply enjoy quality time together. The holiday is also notorious known as one of the biggest feasting days of the year, with millions across America indulging in large amount of tantelizing turkey and succulent side dishes that we all love.
The best part about all the delicious food is the leftovers! Once Thanksgiving is over, many still indulge in tasty turkey for days after. Some stir up a gourmet breakfast for the whole family the morning after so they’re sure to not waste any of the goodies. Whether you’re doing this or using the leftovers for a tasty lunch to bring to work, we have some creative dishes that go beyond the classic turkey sandwich.
Creative Dishes to Prepare with Thanksgiving Leftovers
Even if turkey wasn’t the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal, we have innovative ways to use a variety of different leftovers that will leave your mouth watering! Most leftovers are used to create standard dishes but this year, your family will enjoy the twist on things with the following ideas:
1. Turkey & Cranberry Lunch - Savor the leftover cranberries from cranberry sauce and put them into a turkey sandwich or panini.
2. Turkey Soup to Take the Chill Away - Stir some pieces of leftover turkey into a pot of broth with carrots, celery and onions.
3. Ham Used for Multiple Meals - A great leftover to have is ham. You can stir it into different dishes including split pea soup, scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese and even as the filling of a quiche.
4. Creamy Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas - Use leftover chicken to have a Mexican night! Shred up the chicken and make some enchiladas with cheese and any other fillings you’d like on a roll or tortilla. Then simply throw on some enchilada sauce, bake and serve!
5. Chicken/Turkey Jerk Tacos - If enchiladas aren’t your forte, make some chicken or jerk turkey tacos. Throw in some Jamaican jerk marinade or jerk barbecue sauce for flavor and then top it off with diced mangoes.
Smart Ways to Store Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
We know the cleanup is a lot of work once dinner is over and sometimes it’s rough to make room for all the leftover food. So, we put together some easy ways to store your scraps so that they stay fresh for days after Thanksgiving!
1. Make Sure to Make Space. Clear out some room in your refrigerator ahead of time so you can avoid having to shuffle things around after dinner.
2. Store Food Safely. The best way to store any meat is to keep it in the refrigerator and eat within four days. Cut it up beforehand so it’s in small pieces and easier to store away. If you refrigerate your leftovers, your safest bet is toss them out if they’re not eaten within the four days, according to the National Institute of Health.
3. When it Comes to Storage, Think Small. Stick to using small containers rather than plastic wrap or tin foil. This will take up less room once you’re ready to put away and it will keep the food fresher for longer. If you do decide to use wrap or foil, place in a sealed plastic freezer bag. For any pies or cakes, use round plastic storage so you can stack them and not have to worry about anything crushing your food.
4. Know the Right Way to Reheat. When it comes to reheating your leftovers, do it in small portions with only the amount you’re going to eat at that time. It’s safe to heat the whole thing, but if you keep reheating it, it might lose some of its delicious flavor and moisture.
5. Learn to Love Labels! Label your leftovers so you know what is what. Everything tends to look alike when packed away in containers and bags.
These helpful tips will come in handy for years to come and are great to use for any holiday dinner or large feast. The tasty meals made from leftovers are sure to be loved by the whole family. Food is a terrible thing to waste so be smart - store your scraps away to enjoy another day!
Have a great leftover recipe idea you would like to share?
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