This week, as we prepare for Thanksgiving, we may be preparing a bit differently than in past years. Family gatherings may be much smaller or may not be happening for some this year. Money is tighter and we are all being cautious to save where we can and stretch our dollars where we can.

The food around Thanksgiving is often tied to memories and everyone has their own special ways of preparing the meal. This year, with few to no gatherings, you might even try something different — Thanksgiving ham, fish, tofu, chicken or pizza?

No matter what you choose to eat, remember to follow food safety guidelines so that your leftovers can still be enjoyed the next day, and you can stretch your dollar by eating twice.

Here are some helpful food safety tips.

— Poultry, ground meats and all casseroles should be cooked to 165 F.

— Put all food in the refrigerator within two hours of it being removed from cooking.

— Make sure your refrigerator is keeping food below 40 F.

— Throw food away after five days.

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Now that you know how to save your leftovers safely, what should you do with them? Sure, turkey sandwiches are good but why not try to change it up. I’ve included one of my favorite leftover recipes here, and there are plenty more at https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/nutrition-education/healthy-thrifty-holiday-menus/thanksgiving-leftover-ideas .

If you have leftover canned pumpkin, try this tasty, satisfying, and comforting pumpkin and white bean soup. You can add diced, cooked turkey or chicken for even more protein.

Pumpkin and white bean soup

(serves six)

1 can white beans, rinsed and drained

1 onion (small, finely chopped)

1-1/2 cups water, vegetable or chicken broth

1 can pumpkin (15 ounces)

1 cup apple juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, allspice or ginger

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

DIRECTIONS: In a large pot, heat olive oil and add onions. Cook until slightly soft. Add beans and water or broth. Puree or mash, if desired (I prefer to leave them whole). Add pumpkin, apple juice and spices. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until hot.

One cup of this soup provides 159 calories, 1g of fat, 385mg sodium, 32g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 9g sugar and 8g protein.

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If you are looking for tasty, easy, affordable and nutritious recipes and leftover hacks, get in on a free virtual nutrition workshop through the SNAP-Ed team at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. Find us on Facebook @cceniagaracounty, at www.snapedny.org, or www.cceniagaracounty.org. You can also email jah625@cornell.edu.

Justine Hays is a lead nutritionist for Eat Smart NY Western Region, which is funded by SNAP.

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