Thanksgiving leftovers rescue: Safe storage tips and a recipe

Thanksgiving leftovers rescue: Safe storage tips and a recipe

(KLTV) - Everyone is stuffed, the relatives have headed home, and you've had a good nap. Now it's time to figure out what to do with all those leftovers!

First of all, make sure to store your leftovers in the refrigerator right away. Don't risk getting even a mild case of food poisoning by leaving your food out on the counter or table all afternoon. Use lidded glass containers, zip-close bags or even clean, empty deli containers to store your wonderful leftovers inside the refrigerator.

The USDA recommends that any food left out at room temperature for more than two hours be discarded.

You may wonder how long you can store the leftovers once they reach the refrigerator. According to Honeysuckle Turkey, A Cargill Corporation, cooked turkey can be refrigerated at 40 degrees or below for up to four days. The USDA confirms that, saying that leftover casseroles, as well as meat in broth or gravy, can be stored safely in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or less, for 3-4 days. If you cannot use your leftovers in that period of time, plan ahead and store them safely in the freezer before the four-day mark.

Salads that might grace your holiday table, such as chicken salad, egg salad or macaroni salad, can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days according to the USDA. They don't freeze well, however. 

Check out this chowder recipe for one tasty way to use some of your leftover turkey and sweet potatoes, and remember to download the East Texas Kitchen app for hundreds more recipes at your fingertips! Tap the 'Holidays' tab in the app for recipes and tips. Click here for the download link or search 'KLTV' in your app store.   

Bacon, turkey and sweet potato chowder 


6 to 8 ounces of sliced smoked bacon, chopped into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces
1 large shallot or a medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 1/2 to 4 cups of cooked turkey or chicken meat, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used a smoked cheddar, but any will work)
1 medium raw sweet potato, cubed (about 2 cups)
2 quarts turkey stock or chicken stock 
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme (optional)


In a soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon until slightly crisp. Remove a tablespoon or so of the bacon and set aside for topping purposes. 

Add the celery and shallot or onion to the pot, and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.

Add the broth, cream, and cheese, and stir until cheese is melted.

Add the sweet potatoes, turkey and dried herbs 

Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.

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