Got Leftovers? Weâ€™ve Got Solutions!
Once the gorgeous, garnished turkey has been carved, you may find yourself with lots of leftovers, and a family that is clamoring for something other than a standard turkey sandwich. Never fear! Turkey is a mild-flavored meat that lends itself well to a variety of dishes. Here are five tips to ensure you use up those leftovers safely, and without any bored taste buds.
Before you can plan a leftover-centric meal, you need to ensure that all foods were stored safely. Leaving food out at room temperature is a major safety risk, since bacteria can double every 20 minutes when not refrigerated or kept warm above 135Â° F. Refrigerate your leftover turkey immediately, and make sure to use shallow containers for sliced or shredded meat (never refrigerate entire turkey carcass). Cover turkey tightly to retain its moistness.
Donâ€™t Forget the Sides
Most likely, turkey isnâ€™t your only leftover. You can further reduce food waste by incorporating some of your other dishes from the big day. Examples include turkey and vegetable stew, where you can utilize leftover corn and green beans, or chicken salad that swaps in turkey and includes cranberries and crunchy celery (most likely on hand from making gravy!).
Cooked turkey can always be frozen, which helps make future meal prep extra easy. Plain turkey slices will keep their quality in the freezer up to 4 months, allowing plenty of time for turkey cravings to return! Make sure to reheat frozen leftovers to 165Â° F. Use re-warmed turkey in any recipe you like!
A Change of Pace
After the heavy thanksgiving meal, most people are craving a change of pace, both in flavor and texture. Leftover turkey is perfect for a crisp, fresh salad, and leaning on ethnic flavor combinations makes a leftover dish even more attractive. Try a spinach salad with chestnuts, red onion, golden raisins, shredded turkey and a curry dressing. Turkey enchiladas or turkey spring rolls are also great options for a flavor shake-up.
Donâ€™t Ditch the Bones
After youâ€™ve removed the meat from the turkey carcass, the remaining bones can be used to make homemade stock, providing bases for hearty soups all winter long. Simmer the turkey bones with 3 quarts water, chopped onion, celery, carrot, thyme and parsley sprigs and whole peppercorns for 2-3 hours. Skim the surface, and freeze for future use.