Plan for leftovers

November 23, 1998

The best part of Thanksgiving dinner, for some, comes the next day with the leftovers.

Keep in mind that as soon as the table is cleared, your turkey and all its trimmings should be refrigerated. Since cooked meat or poultry is susceptible to bacterial growth, play it safe by removing the stuffing from your turkey and refrigerating both.

Divide the meat and the stuffing into meal-sized portions for later use.

The smart cook removes meat from the turkey carcass as soon as possible and plans meals around what is left. Here are five fast and simple suggestions for using your leftover Thanksgiving turkey:

* Easy Turkey Casserole: Dice enough cooked turkey to make 2 cups and place in a greased casserole dish. Spread 1 can of your favorite condensed cream soup over the turkey cubes and top with 2 cups of leftover stuffing. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.


* Turkey Bruschetta: Brush slices of Italian bread with olive oil. Top with minced garlic and toast in the oven. Spoon on a combination of turkey, shredded mozzarella cheese and fresh or dried basil. Broil until cheese melts.

* Turkey Sir-Fry: Stir turkey cubes or strips into stir-fried broccoli florets and red bell pepper strips. Add minced garlic, fresh ginger, soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame oil. Heat turkey thoroughly and serve with brown or white rice.

* Hot and Spicy Turkey Chili: Combine sauteed green pepper and onion with turkey cubes, canned tomatoes, canned red kidney beans and a dash of crushed red pepper and/or chili powder. Heat thoroughly. Serve chili topped with corn chips.

* Turkey-Fruit Salad: Combine turkey chunks with halved green grapes, toasted sliced or slivered almonds, sliced green onions, orange zest and light mayonnaise.

If you would like additional ideas for using your leftover Thanksgiving turkey, visit these Web sites:

Remove meat from the turkey carcass as soon as possible and plan meals around what is left. Don't leave cooked turkey standing more than 2 hours before wrapping and storing in the refrigerator or freezer. Use leftover turkey within three or four days or freeze it for use within three to four months. Enjoy your remaining Thanksgiving turkey in some "planned-over" dishes.

Maryland Cooperative Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, sex, disability, age, religion or national origin.

Lynn F. Little is a family and consumer sciences extension educator for Maryland Cooperative Extension, Washington County.

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