Your Thanksgiving feast has ended. All the guests are gone. The table is cleared, and the dishes are done. But there is one more thing you need to consider: leftovers.
There’s no other holiday where the leftovers play as an important role as the main meal. From the turkey and stuffing to mashed potatoes and veggies, so many parts of the feast are prime candidates for new dishes in the days ahead.
But before that can happen, you must store those leftovers properly. Here are some tips:
▪ Store leftovers within two hours of your meal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service website says to toss food that has been left out for longer than two hours at room temperature because it could be unsafe. If the temperature is above 90 degrees, the limit is one hour.
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▪ Don’t store the whole turkey with meat still on it in the refrigerator. Pick all the meat from the bones, place in plastic bags or storage containers and store separately. Use the meat within 3 to 4 days or freeze.
▪ When using leftover turkey in a recipe, remember that it just needs to be reheated because it’s already cooked. Prepare other ingredients first, according to your recipe. Then add the leftover turkey.
▪ If you plan on making stock, store the carcass and bones in a plastic bag.
▪ Stuffing and gravy keep two days in the refrigerator. Stuffing can be frozen for one month, gravy up to six months.
▪ Side dishes and casseroles will keep three to four days in the refrigerator.
▪ Cooked mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes keep three to four days in the refrigerator. These also freeze well in airtight containers for 10 to 12 months, but leave about a half-inch of space at the top. Reheat over low-medium heat in a saucepan with 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water, stirring to prevent sticking.
▪ Store cranberry sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Fresh, whole cranberries will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and in the freezer for up to one year.
These recipes — for two soups, a pot pie and a sandwich — use mainly kitchen staples, saving you a trip to the grocery store.
Turkey Pot Pie With Puff Pastry Crust
Yield: Serves 8.
Preparation time: 45 minutes / Total time: 2 hours
This recipe is not only tasty but impressive with its puff pastry lattice crust.
Adapted from Tasteofhome.com.
1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 1/2 to 3 cups leftover cooked turkey, cubed or shredded
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, peeled, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 teaspoon fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups turkey broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon half-and-half cream, divided
1 tablespoon Dijon
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (about 10 to 12 ounces)
1 large egg yolk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll each pastry sheet into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle. Cut one sheet crosswise into six 2-inch strips; cut remaining sheet lengthwise into five 2-inch strips. On a baking sheet, closely weave strips to make a 12-by-10-inch lattice. Freeze while making filling.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked turkey with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat; saute turkey until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pan.
In same skillet, heat remaining butter over medium-high heat; saute onion until tender, 5-7 minutes. Stir in garlic and herbs; cook 1 minute. Stir in flour until blended; cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth, 1 cup cream and Dijon. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Stir in vegetables, turkey and the remaining salt and pepper; return to a boil. Transfer to a greased 2-quart oblong baking dish. Top with lattice, trimming to fit.
Whisk together egg yolk and remaining cream; brush over pastry. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and golden brown, 45-55 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Pumpkin Curry Soup
Yield: Serves 6.
Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes
From Larissa Shain, RD for Henry Ford Health System, Metabolic Health and Weight Management.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
1 can (15 ounces) no salt added white kidney beans, drained
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated skim milk
Small sage leaves, for garnish
In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the onion and saute until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, pumpkin puree and kidney beans, bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the evaporated milk and heat until warmed through.
Using a hand emulsion blender, blend soup until you reach the desired consistency. Or transfer to a blender, working in batches if necessary, and blend until smooth. If desired, fry the sage leaves in a small amount of oil for a few seconds. Garnish with sage leaves.
Turkey Soup With Stuffing Dumplings
Yield: Serves 8.
Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
This soup makes good use of many Thanksgiving dinner leftover ingredients: turkey carcass, turkey meat, stuffing and vegetables. The amount of vegetables can be adjusted to what you have on hand.
Adapted from www.foodnetwork.com.
Carcass from one 12-14 pound roasted turkey, picked clean
2 large onions, 1 quartered and 1 chopped
4 peeled carrots, 2 coarsely chopped and 2 sliced
4 stalks celery, 2 coarsely chopped and 2 sliced
6 garlic cloves, 4 smashed and 2 chopped
1 bay leaf
10 whole peppercorns
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups leftover stuffing
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups shredded leftover turkey meat
1 cup leftover mixed vegetables
Put the turkey carcass, quartered onion, coarsely chopped carrots and coarsely chopped celery, smashed garlic, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to just cover, about 2 quarts. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and strain the solids from the broth. Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve; you should have about 10-12 cups broth.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper together until smooth. Add the stuffing and mix until well combined; cover and reserve.
Wipe the stockpot clean with a paper towel. Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until both are soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the sliced carrots and sliced celery, thyme sprigs and reserved broth and bring to a simmer; cook vegetables are just soft, about 10 minutes.
Roll level tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into balls with wet hands and drop into the simmering soup; cook until dumplings float, about 3 to 4 minutes. Gently stir in the turkey meat, mixed vegetables, and season with salt and pepper, and simmer until heated through. Serve immediately.
Cook’s note: Moistness of stuffing can vary; if the dumpling dough is too soft to roll, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it is firm enough to hold its shape while rolling.
Baked Turkey Sandwiches
Yield: Makes: 12.
Preparation time: 25 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Here’s a way to make turkey sandwiches for a crowd. These also make great use of leftover rolls and cranberry sauce.
Adapted from Cook’s Country magazine.
12 soft white dinner rolls or slider buns
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
3/4 cup cranberry sauce
12 slices (about 1/4-inch-thick) leftover turkey
12 thin slices provolone
Pepper to taste
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice rolls in half horizontally. Spread 4 tablespoons Dijon on cut sides of roll tops and bottoms. Place a dollop of cranberry sauce on the top inside roll. Arrange roll bottoms, cut side up and side by side, in 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Place turkey slices on the roll bottom. Fold the cheese slice in thirds and place over turkey. Season with pepper and cap with roll tops.
Combine butter, onion and poppy seeds in bowl. Microwave until butter is melted and onion is softened, about 1 minute. Whisk Worcestershire, garlic powder and remaining 2 tablespoons mustard into butter mixture until combined. Generously brush tops and edges of sandwiches with all of butter mixture. Spoon any remaining solids over sandwiches.
Cover dish with aluminum foil and let sit for 10 minutes to allow sandwiches to absorb sauce. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until cheese is melted around edges and tops are slightly firm, 7 to 9 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve.
Cook’s note: Sandwiches can be brushed with sauce, covered and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance. Bring to room temperature before cooking.