Volunteer Vacations

by Caroline Hayes

After indulging in the anticipated Thanksgiving dinner, many families sit around and drink coffee or eat pie and talk. Sometimes it seems as though everyone tends to be too stuffed to move, but what about the leftovers? To avoid food contamination, according to the Food and Drug Administration, anything that contains meat should be refrigerated about 30 minutes after eating to avoid contamination.

A food storage chart provided by the FDA says the following about how long food stays good in the refrigerator: Pieces of chicken or turkey: one to two days; cooked casseroles and soups containing meat: three to four days; cooked stuffing: three to four days; gravy and meat broth: one to two days; and red meat: three to five days.

After the food is stored safely, what will you do with all the leftovers, especially with time as a pending factor in food safety? Martha Hall Bowman, publisher of Life in the Midwest, recommends making a potpie with the leftover turkey and vegetables, which utilizes much of the remaining food.  (See sidebar for pie crust recipe) Hall Bowman also suggested making grilled Panini sandwiches on a George Foreman (or similar) grill. Spice them up with some basil, thyme or sun-dried tomatoes and a slice of cheese and you have a yummy, grilled turkey sandwich.

If the Thanksgiving food theme seems trite after the big day, try something with more pizzazz, such as turkey quesadillas or tacos. Use your imagination or look online by typing, what can I do with leftover turkey? into a search engine.

Whatever you make on the day of Thanks, make sure its prepared, served and stored properly to avoid food contamination and avoiding upset bellies.

For more information on how long food is good for, visit www.foodsafety.gov.


      Easy Pie Crust:


       2 cups flour

       3/4 cup shortening

       1/2 T. vinegar

       1/2 T. sugar

       1 small egg beaten

       1/4 cup water

      3/4 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar and salt together. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in shortening until mixture becomes coarse crumbles. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, vinegar and water, then add to flour mixture. Mix until dough is moist enough to form a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll one half into a 12-inch circle. Press dough into pie plate. Crimp to form decorative border, then prick bottom with a fork. Place in freezer while preparing the filling. Makes one double crust pie.