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Best way to REHEAT leftovers

I'm 32 and realizing that for the first time since being able to read the recipes, I'm without a microwave and have no idea how to heat my leftovers without one! I have put some stuff in the oven but don't know if that's the best method and the only method?
I just ruined a pot trying to reheat risotto!

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I can't believe how much I relied on the microwave in the past!

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  1. I suppose it's either pot or oven, depending on type of leftovers.

    1. I wrote this before but I guess it didn't post so will redo.

      You can put something in an oven-proof pan and cover tightly with foil and reheat at 300 (or higher). Or you can make a foil packet. If the item is already a bit dry, you could put a pat of butter on it or drizzle with some water. My MIL is MW averse so that's what I recommend she do when I take her casseroles. It works great.

      1 Reply
      1. re: c oliver

        I'm a huge fan of a foil pack in the toaster oven if you have one. It seems more efficent than the whole oven for one or two servings.

        A non-stick pot with a lid is also great. Just add a little water or broth put the lid on and turn it on low.

        Last point, think about how you store leftovers. I still struggle to keep pasta and sauce seperate, but if I do I heat the sauce to a good simmer (with a little additional liquid) and then put the pasta in, lid on - heat off, and let it sit until a good temp to eat. I do the same thing with rice and anything else I don't want to turn to glue.

      2. C O's sugggestions have it nailed. Low oven, covered, watered if dry.

        1. In addiiton to the above, you can use a makeshift or actual double boiler, or put a wrapped plate of food on a rack in a covered pan, with some simmering water to gently reheat without drying out the food.

          1. I've used a skillet on the stove top with some water and a vegetable rack to reheat paper wrapped tortillas and pupusas, can put a cover on slightly askew to keep from oversteaming. A dry non stick works pretty well for frozen pancakes, especially the ones with cottage cheese. Regular frozen pancakes made medium size do great in the toaster.

            1. It really depends on what you're heating up.

              For risotto, maybe greygarious's double boiler would work and be more energy efficient than using the oven. Maybe a non-stick skillet on medium-low with a couple of tablespoons of water/chicken stock added to the risotto. (I think risotto would be finicky to reheat, but a low temperature, and some extra moisture would be key.) I hate using the oven for a single serving of food, but if that's all you have...

              3 Replies
              1. re: Full tummy

                A single-serving of food I usually just chuck it in my BD Convection toaster oven for a few minutues. No way would I heat up the huge oven for a "single serving of food" . Leftover Pizza, Quiche, Chicken etc etc. Foil if necessary. No Problem.

                1. re: Woof Woof Woof

                  For pizza, try these methods next time....

                  First, if you have a square skillet pan, place the pizza on top on a low flame and cover it with a second regular 10-12 inch fry pan. In less than 10 minutes, the cheese will be melted and the bottom will be crispy.

                  Second, you can do the same with a George Foreman type grill.

                  I find both methods are easier and more efficient and much quicker than using the home oven or a toaster oven.

                2. re: Full tummy

                  Agree, it depends. And mashed potatoes or rice should definitely be heated up in a steamer basket over some simmering water, like a double boiler. Covered, and add a touch of milk to the potatoes first. Rice, some water or stock, whatever you cooked it in. ( although I do use a mic for rice & it comes out fine.)

                3. If I have the time, I take the food out and let it come close to room temperature. Therefore requiring less heating time.

                  1. Thanks to CO and CorneyGirl I'm going to try both the low oven method - we don't have a toaster oven; counter space is @ a minimum! - and the non-stick pan with lid. I was looking to invest in a meal steamer too as that would be good for Char Sui buns etc...the pasta idea is brilliant as I save the sauce and pasta separately (i hate to mix them) but never thought to put the pasta into the sauce after the sauce has come to near temp to reheat together. Brilliant!