Amateur Hour is Over.
Why destroy the dinner you worked so hard to make by reheating it incorrectly? There are right and wrong ways to cook leftovers, and learning them can save your food from being wasted. Around the holidays it is always better to prepare more food than you need, so hopefully these techniques will make you more confident that none of that extra food will be unappreciated!
The Golden Rule
The best way to reheat a food is to emulate the way it was cooked. So for example, it is good to reheat soup over the stove, and casseroles in the oven. If it is possible to reheat your leftovers by recooking them the way they were originally made, that is the best way to retain their taste and texture. Microwaves are known to be harsh on leftovers, and will often make cheese chewy and bread soggy. If you have access to a toaster oven try to use it for reheating crunchy foods like pizza. If a microwave is your only option, try covering your food with a wet paper towel to prevent it from drying out. Pizza can be microwaved with a glass of water underneath it to minimize sogginess. If you are reheating noodles feel free to sprinkle some water directly on the dish.
Turkey & Ham
Any turkey or ham that has already been cooked does not need to be reheated to safely eat. However if you don’t want to use these leftovers as sandwich meat you may want to heat them back up. First preheat the oven to 350 F. Reglaze your ham if possible, and add any leftover broth to the pan with turkey. If you are especially concerned about the meat drying out, tent it in aluminum foil. Once the inner temperature reaches 140 F it is ready to serve!
Pizza & Bread
It is always best to reheat pizza and dinner rolls in an oven or toaster oven. Preheat to 450 F and let a pan lined with aluminum foil heat up inside the oven. After the oven reaches 450 F place the pizza or rolls on the pan. Let them warm up for about 10 minutes or until hot. If you don’t want to wait for the oven to preheat another option is to reheat these items on a covered stove top pan. This will give approximately the same effect but much quicker! Just be sure to use a non stick pan over medium heat, and to carefully monitor it so the bottom sides don’t burn.
Mashed Potatoes & Stuffing
Most mashed potato and stuffing recipes don’t lose a lot of their flavor in the fridge, so reheating these items is a breeze. If you want to quickly reheat them you can microwave on high for one minute, stir, and repeat 3 times. If you are worried about the crispiness of your stuffing or crispy top of your potato casserole, oven reheating may be a better bet. Set the oven to 350 F and cook until warm. Then switch the dial to broil and give your dish 1-2 minutes to re-crispen before serving.
Some desserts need to be reheated to live up to their original tastiness. Pies can be placed in an oven at 350 F until warm. Cakes should be microwaved for 1 minute with a damp paper towel draped over them. Serve these desserts with cold ice cream when you’re all done!