Tag Archives: leftover

Food Safety and Leftovers

Leftover night

I mentioned in a previous menu planning post that Tuesday night is leftover night at our house. I love it. I don’t have to think about what to eat or have to cook one night a week. It keeps my fridge cleared out and has helped with my food budget. As a family, we call it our “best of” night, since we get to eat a little bit of the best of what we ate in the previous days.

Whether you eat leftovers like we do or if you re-purpose your leftovers into something else, food safety with leftovers is important. We all know to be careful handling raw meat and eggs, to keep dairy cold, and to cook meat to the proper temperature. But the traditional “there’s no mold and it doesn’t smell yet” test really isn’t good enough when it comes to leftovers. Here are a few food safety guidelines for leftovers.

-Leftovers can keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 to 4 months in the freezer. Frozen leftovers can last longer but will suffer in quality after that amount of time.

-Wrap your leftovers well. Don’t just put the whole pizza box in the fridge. You want airtight containers to prevent moisture and bacteria from spreading around.

-Cool your leftovers quickly. Don’t let your food sit out on the table or the counter for a long time. Prepare it for the fridge or freezer as quickly as possible. Use small enough containers that foods will cool rapidly.

-Reheat your leftovers properly to at least 165 degrees F. Soups or sauces should be brought to a boil. Reheat leftovers as quickly as possible, which may mean safely thawing them first if they are frozen.

For more information on leftover food safety, visit the USDA website.

What are your favorite leftovers or uses for repurposing them? I’d love to hear in the comments section.

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Thanksgiving Leftovers

Does anyone else enjoy the leftovers almost better than the actual Thanksgiving meal? It just isn’t Thanksgiving without the leftovers. That being said, I’m over it within 3 turkey sandwiches. Here a couple other ideas to spice up your leftover routine.

Thanksgiving Pizza

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This is more of a general outline than an actual recipe. Start with pizza dough, parbaking per the instructions. After parbaking, spread on a thin layer of cranberry sauce. Top with leftover mashed potatoes, leaving a few mounded areas. Add shredded turkey, scoops of stuffing if desired, and any remaining vegetables. Lightly cover with shredded cheddar or colby cheese. Drizzle gravy over the top. Bake until heated through and crust is browned.

Turkey Noodle Soup

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Don’t throw out your turkey bones! You can freeze them if you want to make soup later. But cooked down, they will give up plenty of meat and tons of flavor to make the best batch of soup ever. This is the only way my mom made “chicken” noodle soup when I was a kid.

Thanksgiving Shepherd’s Pie

I don’t have a picture of this one. But my sister-in-law does it every year. Place shredded turkey in the bottom of a casserole dish with corn, peas, carrots, or whatever vegetable you have handy. Pour on gravy to moisten. Top with a layer of stuffing, then a layer of mashed potatoes. Bake until heated through. It’s amazing.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! See you next week when the mayhem is over!

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