UACES Facebook Tips for Using and Storing Thanksgiving Leftovers
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We all look forward to the Thanksgiving turkey, but most families will undoubtedly have leftovers. Turkey makes a great first meal and the leftover meat is easy to combine into a variety of tasty future meals. Plus it’s an excellent source of lean protein. 

Here are a few food safety guidelines for handling your Thanksgiving leftovers safely:

  • Debone turkey and refrigerate all leftovers within 2 hours of cooking. While this may seem like a short time, bacteria that causes a food borne illness can multiply to undesirable levels on perishable food left at room temperature for any longer than that. Remember, all foods contain some bacteria. It’s not a problem if we handle it properly.
  • Divide large quantities into smaller portions and store them in shallow containers. Food in small amounts will chill faster keeping it safer and fresher.
  • Use leftover turkey within 3 to 4 days or freeze it for later. Do not wait until the turkey has been in the refrigerator for 4 days to freeze it though. If the turkey is frozen while it is still fresh the quality will be better when it is defrosted. Use within 2 to 6 months for best quality.
  • When reheating turkey, reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165° F until hot and steaming throughout. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.

If you have turkey leftover from your Thanksgiving feast, try this easy pasta casserole. It just might turn into a new family favorite!

One Pot Turkey Tetrazzini


1 medium onion

¼ cup celery, chopped

2 Tbsp. water

1 can low sodium cream of chicken soup

1¼ cups low sodium chicken broth or bouillon

1 tsp. lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups cooked turkey, cubed

¼ pound whole grain spaghetti, uncooked

½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)


1. In a large pan, sauté onion and celery in water until tender.

2. Add soup, broth, lemon juice, and pepper.

3. Mix well.

4. Add cooked turkey and uncooked spaghetti.

5. Bring to a boil.

6. Turn heat to low and cook 15-20 minutes or until spaghetti is done.

7. Sprinkle with cheese if desired.

Serves 4-6

Nutrition Information:  290 Calories, Total Fat 6 g, Protein 23 g, Total Carbohydrate 36 g, Sodium 370 mg, Cholesterol 45 mg.

Source:  Arkansas Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

Download your copy here: One Pot Turkey Tetrazzini

What’s your favorite way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers? Share with me on Facebook!