Enjoy those leftovers

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Leftovers are great. They can save time and money, providing ready-made meals in a hurry and helping stretch our food dollars. But they must be handled safely. To prevent food borne illness, be sure to follow these recommendations from the Partnership for Food Safety Education:

n Always wash your hands before and after handling food. Use soap and warm water, and scrub for 20 seconds.

n  Refrigerate leftovers within two hours (within one hour if the temperature is above 90°F). Bacteria grow best at 40-140 degrees F, so use an appliance thermometer to make sure that your refrigerator is at 40 degrees F or below.

n  For quicker cooling in the refrigerator, divide leftovers into smaller portions and use shallow containers. Hot food can be placed directly into the refrigerator — no need to cool on the counter.

n  Before eating, leftovers should be heated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature. To reheat soups, sauces and gravies, bring them to a boil.

n  When heating leftovers in the microwave, make sure there are no cold spots where bacteria could survive. Cover, stir and rotate food for even heating.

n  Use or discard refrigerated leftovers within 3-4 days.


White Turkey Chili 

(recipe from University of Nebraska Extension)

(Serves 8)

1 tablespoon oil 

(one-fourth) 1/4 cup onion, chopped 

1 cup celery, chopped 

4 cups cooked turkey, chopped 

2 cans (15.5 oz.) Great Northern beans, drained 

2 cans (11 oz.) corn, undrained 

1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies 

4 cups turkey or chicken broth (See Cook’s Tip) 

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery, cook and stir 2-3 minutes. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan (at least 4 quarts). Stir well. Cover and cook about 15 minutes over medium heat stirring occasionally until thoroughly heated.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top, if desired.

Cook’s Tip: If you have extra broth, use it instead of water when cooking vegetables or use it for some or all of the liquid in making rice. Use within a day or two or freeze.