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 (that’s certainly not an issue here), the limit is one hour.
- 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 it separately. Use the meat within three to four 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.
Turkey Pot Pie with Puff Pastry Crust
Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 45 minutes / Total time: 2 hours
This recipe is not only tasty but impressive with its puff pastry lattice crust.
1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
21/2 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; sauté turkey until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pan.
In same skillet, heat remaining butter over medium-high heat; sauté 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.
Adapted from Tasteofhome.com. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Nutrition information not available.
Baked Turkey Sliders with Cranberry and Provolone
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.
12 soft white dinner rolls or slider buns
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
¾ cup cranberry sauce
12 slices (about ¼-inch-thick) leftover turkey
12 thin slices provolone or other favorite cheese
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.
Adapted from Cook’s Country magazine. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
Contact Detroit Free Press food writer Sue Selasky and send food and restaurant news to: 313-222-6872 or [email protected] Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.
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