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MAIN Arrow to Home LifeHolidays Arrow to Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Arrow to Turkey How TosTurkey Leftovers

turkey sandwichWhy is it that Thanksgiving dinner tastes so much better the day after?

Maybe it's because flavors have had time to blend, or simply that holiday company distracts you from actually savoring each bite.

Truth is, the day after is a lot more relaxed -- with a chance to kick back with a casual turkey sandwich -- or the entire Thanksgiving meal repeat (this time served on a snack table in front of the TV!)

Turkey leftovers - make 'em last

The most economical of meals is even better when you know how to stretch portions out over the holiday weekend.

There's no rush to get out the soup pot right away -- turkey leftovers can last up to 3-4 days in a properly chilled refrigerator (40F or 4C) and up to 3 months in the freezer. 3-4 days is also the maximum storage rule for stuffing, along with the leftover yams, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Cranberry sauce can be stored up to two weeks in a cool fridge.

The trick to extending the shelf life of turkey leftovers fresh is to store them in airtight containers. Separating them into smaller portions also makes them easier to store. After dinner is over, slice up the remaining white meat and put in airtight containers or plastic resealable bags. Store any leftover wings, thighs and legs separately.

Of course, turkey soup recipes and sandwiches are just the beginning of the delicious meals that can be made from the leavings of the feast.

Just up ahead, check out a savory recipe for hearty turkey chili, with more turkey leftover recipes from around the Web that will leave you wondering why you don't cook turkey more often....

Turkey Chili

turkey chiliIf you're familiar with making chili, simply substitute beef with turkey for a lower-fat, lower cholesterol version of the classic recipe. Or, simply follow these directions for celebrating the Day After Thanksgiving with a white bean chili (prep time: 20 minutes).

2 tbsp. cooking oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 lb. leftover turkey meat, chopped fine
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth

1. In a large saucepan add the cooking oil over medium heat and add onion, garlic, and turkey. Stir and simmer until onions are soft and translucent.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes more.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges. Makes about six servings.

More about turkey leftovers around the Web:

Turkey Recipes - Pages of suggestions that put those leftovers to good use, including sandwiches, ground turkey recipes, and what else to do with breasts, legs and thighs, along with more recipes for soups, salads and other courses.


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