How to Reheat Leftovers without Spoiling Them ~ which is a Good Idea!


specific instructions for reheating different leftover foods

This post is about reheating leftover food so that it is still delicious.  Please see here for How to Store Leftovers Safely 

I think that the practice of reheating food wrongly, either in the microwave or other incorrect methods, is why leftovers have such an (undeservedly) bad name.  Leftovers can, of course, be used in so many ways to create completely new dishes and if you are interested in this please see here for 219 Great Ideas for Leftovers but if you just want to reheat your leftovers here’s some useful info.

If you don’t have the right equipment or are in a tearing hurry, I suppose using a microwave can’t be helped but it is not the best way to reheat most foods and in particular crisp foods which will not remain or re-crisp in the microwave.  It can also damage the texture of delicate items such as fish.

Moister foods such as soups and stews will do OK in a microwave if you don’t rush them and give them a stir now and then while heating up.

Foods reheated correctly can be just as good as the first time round.

Preliminaries to Reheating Leftovers


Defrost First – this is where a microwave can come in useful, if your leftovers are frozen defrost them overnight in the fridge or do gently on a low setting on your microwave.

Bring to Room Temperature – if you must use the microwave, again gently, to just take the chill off your leftover.

How to Reheat Dry Cooked Meats and Fish


Here’s the Best Way!
the best way to reheat cooked meat, keep meat tender when reheating, safe way to reheat meats
For this you need a generous amount of sauce – either leftovers of the sauce you originally served the meal with, or a freshly made or bought in sauce.

~   Your leftover should be at room temperature so get it out of the fridge in time.
~   If reheating the remains of a roast slice the meat.
~   When ready to cook the meat first bring the sauce to a good temperature, not necessarily boiling but nice and hot.
~   Lay the meat(s) or fish in the sauce, put a lid on and turn off the heat.
~   When ready to eat return to a slow simmer BUT NO MORE – boiling already cooked meat toughens it.

Failing a delicious sauce reheat these in a dry pan to which you should add a little oil or butter. Keep the heat low, add your leftover gently, if you put a lid on the pan the meat/fish will heat faster and be moister but will not have a crust. Turn the leftover after about 3 minutes and heat for another 2 or 3 minutes before serving.

How to Reheat Soups and Stews


Just reheat gently in a saucepan with the lid on.  Keep an eye on it and give a stir now and then.  DO NOT BOIL. The microwave is fine for these foods too.

the best way to reheat fried foods keeping them crips and tender


How to Reheat Fried Food including Chips


These should NOT be done in the microwave which will make them soggy.

~   Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF/170ºC fan/gas 5 or thereabouts.
~   Place your room temperature leftover fried food on a baking tray and bake till hot and crisp which will of course vary according to what you are reheating.


   


How to Reheat Pizza – 3 Ways

how to reheat pizza

1.   Oven – do the same as with fried foods above.

2.   Grill 
– preheat the grill and place a baking tray underneath it so that it heats up too. This is important as it will crisp the bottom of the pizza while the grill reheats the top. Grill the pizza till hot, keeping an eye on it as being thin it will cook fast. 

3.   Pan – if you just have a slice or so of pizza or are in a hurry use a frying pan. Preheat the pan over, medium heat, then add your pizza slices) and pop on a lid or a sheet of foil. If you don’t cover it, you will probably end up with a hot bottom (excuse me!) and a cool top. Cook for 5 minutes and check, you want the cheese on top to be bubbling

How to Reheat Baked Goods


These too are best reheated in a moderate oven AND if your loaf of bread is stale run it under a cold tap and reheat in the oven which will result in it having a crisp crust.

How to Reheat Pasta


How to reheat cooked pasta, sauces pasta and cooked pasta dishes

To reheat cooked pasta 


~   Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
~   Place the leftover pasta in a strainer or seive.
~   Dunk the strainer in the boiling water for no more than 30 seconds.
~   Lift out, drain and sauce as usual.


To reheat sauced pasta


Reheat this in a lidded saucepan, it will probably need a little more sauce so either add more of the same, a little cream if appropriate, a splash of stock, wine or even water!  Stir gently turning the pasta over till hot all the way through. A microwave OK for this. 

To Reheat Pasta Bake


This is a good time to use the microwave, but just at first, and is a great way to reheat leftover mac and cheese!  

~   Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºF/170ºC fan/gas 5.~   With the microwave on medium power heat the leftover pasta bake till fairly warm. 
~   Pour over a little fresh sauce or cream.
~   Sprinkle with grated cheese and some breadcrumbs and till hot, crisp and golden.
warning about reheating rice, avoiding bacillus cereuus

How to Reheat Stir Fries


Just re-stir-fry them in a hot frying pan being attentive to the stirring so as to give all the grains of rice and additions a chance in contact with the heated pan. Make sure the dish is absolutely piping hot throughout as reheated rice can cause food poisoning of not treated correctly

How to Reheat Cooked Vegetables


Boiled and steamed vegetables – melt a knob of butter (relevant joke here!) in a pan and toss the vegetables in the hot butter till heated through. You can do these in the microwave too but not for long or they will overcook.

Roasted vegetables – spread in a shallow pan and pop into a moderate oven till hot through.

the best way to reheat a delicate sauce such as hollandaise or alfredo sauce smoothly



How to Reheat Delicate Sauces


Sauces such as HollandaiseAlfredo and similar are best heated in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water but can be achieved with care using just a pan and low heat. Stirring is necessary here too! If the sauce splits, which is particularly likely with Hollandaise Sauce stir in a knob of butter to re-emulsify it.






Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers


Remember, if you do fancy doing more with your leftovers than just reheating them then this is the book for you!  


creative ways to use up leftovers cookbook




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