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Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas

I am making the turkey, stuffing and gravy for our Thanksgiving dinner. I bought a very large bird, and I think we'll have a lot of leftovers. Do you have any tips?
Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas

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Leftover turkey can be used in many ways. If you have a favorite recipe containing chicken, substitute turkey. Try your leftover turkey in white chili, whole-wheat pitas with chopped lettuce and apples, or your favorite casseroles. How about creamed turkey over baking powder biscuits? Try making hot turkey sandwiches by topping whole-wheat bread with leftover mashed potatoes, gravy and turkey.

First, though, remember these food safety tips. Safe leftovers result from safe food preparation. Be sure you have an accurate food thermometer to measure temperatures. These are available in grocery stores and other places.

• You can stuff the bird loosely right before you put it in the oven. Be sure the stuffing reaches a temperature of 165 F.

• Roast a turkey to an internal temperature of at least 165 F. Use a food thermometer to measure the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh muscle, being sure the thermometer does not touch the bone. The juices should run clear, too.

• Remove the stuffing and debone the turkey before chilling.

• Store leftovers in shallow containers. Refrigerate the turkey immediately after the meal and within two hours of cooking.

• Serve refrigerated leftover turkey within four days. Serve leftover stuffing and gravy within two days.

• Freeze cooked turkey in recipe-sized amounts at 0 F or below. For best quality, use within four months of freezing.

You can learn more about safely cooking and serving a turkey in this publication:


ulie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

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