One of the best parts of Christmas dinner is the leftovers. The food always seen to taste better the second or third time you eat it. Here are uses and guidelines for handling Christmas dinner leftovers.
1. Clean out the refrigerator prior to dinner. You’ll need room for those platters and bowls of leftovers. Anything that can be removed should be removed to make room for the remnants of the Christmas dinner.
2. Buy plastic storage bags and containers. Storing food in the original pot or dish is not a good idea. For one, it takes up extra space. Secondly, it leaves too much dead space for liquid to collect. Food keeps better and longer in containers where the leftovers are packed tightly.
3. Never pack up warm foods. Wait until the meats and side dishes are completely cool before placing them containers to go in the refrigerator. This is another reason why it is better to serve food in bowls on the Christmas dinner table or have everyone heat their own plates at dinner time.
4. Slice any meat off of the bone before storing. It is easier to handle and produces less mess. The turkey carcass and the ham bone can be frozen for later use in soups and stews. Turkey legs and thigh meat can be sliced off the bone and diced up for turkey salad. Add a little chopped celery, seasonings, and mayonnaise for a lunch treat on bread or crackers.
5. Create a casserole dish with leftover Christmas dinner rice. Whether it is white rice or wild rice, add some chopped chicken or turkey, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and some shredded cheese. Bake at 325 degrees for about twenty minutes or until soup is bubbly and you have dinner for the next night.
6. Buy sectioned plate containers and fix meals. This avoids people dipping into leftover bowls over and over. Label each container with the type of food inside. If someone wants turkey and potatoes, they can grab that plate and heat it up without bothering any other leftovers.
7. Avoid wrapping any leftovers in aluminum foil. Foil is good for cooking but for Christmas dinner leftovers, it will begin to break down as it is opened and reopened by hungry people. If you must wrap something in foil, purchase heavy duty foil for that purpose.
Leftovers are great. They can be used for soups, sandwiches, dips, and more throughout the Christmas holiday. Remember that leftovers in the refrigerator should not be eaten after the fourth day. If you want to keep something longer, freeze it. These are only a few of the ideas and tips that can be used when working with Christmas dinner leftovers.