Thanksgiving Day is wonderful when spent with family and friends. Thanksgiving weekend is all about the leftovers! The USDA shares tips to ensure your leftovers stay safe to eat.
- Remember the Two-Hour Rule: Refrigerate perishable items within two hours of coming out of the oven or refrigerator. After two hours, perishable food enters th “danger zone” (between 40 F and 140 F), where bacteria can multiply quickly and cause food to become unsafe. Perishable food should be discarded if left out for longer than two hours, so refrigerate or freeze items to prevent food waste.
- Use Shallow Containers: After you breakdown your Thanksgiving meal into smaller portions, store leftover food in shallow containers in the refrigerator until the Monday after Thanksgiving, or in the freezer for later use.
- Freeze or Consume Within Four Days: Use the Monday after Thanksgiving as a reminder that it is the last day you can safely eat leftovers. If you want to keep leftovers longer, freeze them within that four-day period. Frozen food stays safe indefinitely, though the quality may decrease over time (best quality if eaten within six months).
- Reheat to 165 F: Make sure your reheated leftovers reach 165 F as measured with a food thermometer. Reheat sauces, soups and gravies safely by bringing them to a rolling boil.
- Microwave Food Safely: When reheating in the microwave, cover and rotate the food for even heating. Arrange food items evenly in a covered microwave safe glass or ceramic dish and add some liquid, if needed. Because microwaves have cold spots, check the internal temperature of the food in several places with a food thermometer after allowing a resting time.
If you have any questions about food safety, the USDA has a Meat and Poultry Hotline. Contact them via phone, email, or chat with all your food safety questions.
Of course you’ll need some recipes to use up all those leftovers. Here are three new ones to try.
Who doesn’t love pizza? A Thanksgiving pizza is a fantastic way to turn those leftovers into something new.
Making homemade pizza dough is really easy. Click here for some of my favorite recipes, including Three-Ingredient Pizza Dough. You can find the recipe for Herb Blend seasoning here.
Do you want to know my secret hack when I’m short on time? I use remade frozen roll dough to make a crust. I thaw the dough in the microwave, combine it all into one big ball, and roll it out into the shape of a pizza crust. It’s a real time saver when you’re in a pinch.
Mashed Potato Stuffing Bites are delicious!
The recipe will help use up leftover potatoes and stuffing, and get some veggies in your meal, too. Don’t have broccoli? Try spinach or steamed carrots. You could also throw in a bit of leftover turkey.
Mashed Potato Soup will help you use up the heaping bowl of mashed potatoes.
It is full of flavor and only calls for a few ingredients.
Want even more recipes? Check out our other Leftoverpallooza recipes and keep those leftovers from going to waste.