Holiday leftover safety and recipes

By Marilyn Wells - Yadkin County Extension Agency

After a delicious holiday meal, continue the feeling with a variety of post-holiday meals. If we handle food safely to avoid food borne illnesses, our leftovers can become a useful addition to planned-over future meals. Remember to keep hot food hot (above 140 degrees F.) and cold foods cold (below 40 degrees F.) to avoid the bacteria growth that occurs between 40 and 140 degrees.

Perishable foods should not be left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. Refrigerate or freeze foods in shallow containers with a tight covering. It is safe to freeze leftover turkey and trimmings even if they were purchased frozen. Turkey leftovers can be eaten cold from the refrigerator or reheated to 165 degrees and used within three days. Gravy and sauces should be heated to boiling and used within two days.

For creative recipes to use turkey, remember that it is a poultry product and can be used like a cooked chicken. Turkey can be used in casseroles, salads, soups, tortillas or simple sandwiches. Try the following recipes for a new twist on leftovers.

Turkey Rice Salad

3 c. cooked brown or white rice

2 c. cubed, cooked turkey

1 c. seedless grapes, halved

½ c. chopped red or green bell pepper

½ c. chopped onion

¼ c. Italian dressing

Mix together ingredients. Chill in refrigerator for one hour before serving to allow flavors to blend. Serve on a lettuce leaf.

Brunswick Stew

1 T. vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

½ c. chopped red or green pepper

2 c. chicken broth

½ t. dried thyme

¼ t. black pepper

2 c. diced, cooked turkey

2 c. tomatoes

1 – 15 oz. can whole kernel corn

1 – 15 oz. kidney or northern beans

1 c. small lima beans, frozen or canned

Heat oil in a large pan. Add onion and cook in oil until tender. Add all remaining ingredients. Cook for 30 minutes on medium and simmer until ready to eat.

By Marilyn Wells

Yadkin County Extension Agency