Dr. Vickie Vaclavik, a registered dietitian at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says when it comes to food, everyone should remember the 2-hour rule -- never let cooked food stay outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. Cream or milk-based foods and meats -- the staples of Thanksgiving dinner -- are prone to spoiling when they sit out at room temperature too long.
After finishing the turkey, take the meat off the carcass, put it in a container no more than 2 inches deep, cover and refrigerate, Vaclavik advises.
"Put away leftovers right after a meal instead of leaving them out, or else keep these foods warm or on ice," Vaclavik says in a statement.
"On a buffet, put out smaller amounts and then replenish the dishes frequently. When you're replenishing the buffet, use a new container instead of putting fresh food on the old platter or dish."