Avoid The Microwave For More Appealing Leftovers

One of the best ways to save money on food is to eat everything you prepare rather than trashing your leftovers and moving on. The drawback to eating the archives is that most of the time they won’t taste as good as they did the first time. Microwaves and toaster ovens tend to dry food out and alter its texture.

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds suggests steaming your food to get it tasting its best in round two. Take a pasta strainer and a stock pot the strainer fits into, then add about a cup of water into the pot. Boil the water and plop your food in the strainer, letting the steam reheat your grub without sapping it of moisture.

Although the idea isn’t feasible at work, it’s a reasonable way to stretch out a home-cooked meal for a couple days at the dinner table.

How to Reheat Leftovers So It Tastes Just As Good As the First Time [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Tegan says:

    Oh Phil. You must be getting so lonely.

  2. impudence says:

    I’m going to try this with my soup from last night

  3. demona667 says:

    Is this a joke or is this site becoming Woman’s Day?

  4. josephpr says:

    …reheat without sapping it of moisture..

    Well in my experience, that is exactly what my microwave seems to do. Do I really want to put my leftover chicken parm in a steamer basket?

    I usually plan my cooking so that there is a second meal ready to nuke.

    (I think if you just draw a circle, you will have a Venn diagram of the intersection of the people who find these articles helpful, and those who watch the Khadashian shows.)

    • Cat says:

      The people who find these articles helpful and those who watch the Kardashian shows do not know what a Venn diagram is.

  5. Conformist138 says:

    Steam? Well, that won’t work with anything crispy or breaded (or anything that can drip through the holes in the steamer basket)

    How about a crazy thought like the oven or a skillet? Just reheat using a similar method to the original preparation.

  6. mauispiderweb says:

    I cover my food with a wet paper towel and get the same results as steaming. You can also just put a small container of water in with your food, too.

  7. kalaratri says:

    The microwave won’t make your stuff dry and yucky if you 1) make sure it’s covered by a lid, 2) add a little moisture to the leftovers to help them steam and 3) microwave them gently on a lower power setting.

  8. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    There is no good way to re-heat leftover Kraft Dinner. Eat it while it is hot, or give up.

  9. sirwired says:

    Or, instead of steaming your leftovers, you could STILL use the microwave and, I dunno, COVER the food? Wax paper, a lose tupperware lid, a plastic plate cover, whatever. Then the natural steam is mostly held in, and no steamer necessary.

  10. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    The PhilBot is working hard today. They should set it to post at random times, rather than just the hours and half hours, just so we don’t suspect it is an evil robot overlord that eats old people’s medication. (Do YOU have Old Glory Insurance?)

    • pop top says:

      Old Glory Insurance. For when the metal ones decide to come for you – and they will.

    • mauispiderweb says:

      And now he’s posting every 15 mins. Thanks! :/

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      LOL, I said something similar 6 months ago, and got disemvoweled and temp banned. But I am starting to wonder if it might be time to redirect my attention to other blogs. Certainly there are better aggregators out there?

  11. jasvll says:

    Ok, that’s enough for me. Removing Consumerist from the RSS feed. Will check in in a month or two.

  12. conquestofbread says:

    I hope the next article has some helpful hints on how to stretch my tampon budget further.

    I heard that one can avoid TSS if you wash them in cold mountain spring water on a full moon and air dry them.

  13. Haplo9000 says:

    Jesus Christ, Phil…enough with the beauty tips and the kitchen tips and all the rest. If you don’t have something actually related to what this site is SUPPOSED to be about, just don’t post anything at all. At this point it’s becoming insulting to the readership that has supported this blog for years…before you were around posting.

  14. Haplo9000 says:

    Oh, and good job running Ben off the site…I can see that the quality of posts has REALLY risen since.

    (I do not need a sarcasm tag for this comment, right?)

  15. ahecht says:

    Argh Phil, this is a “Consumer Issues” blog, not a home finance blog. How do dubious money savings tips fit with “Shoppers Bite Back”?

    • SabreDC says:

      This blog stopped being a consumer issues blog a WHILE ago. Somewhere around the time, ironically, when Consumers Union bought it. Now, it’s a pop culture/lifestyle blog with the occasional consumer complaint thrown in.

  16. eturowski says:

    A toaster oven is the way to go for leftover pizza. If you microwave it, the crust turns into plastic.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      This. You can try microwaving pizza with a ceramic mug half-filled with water in the microwave and it does help, but a toaster or regular oven is best for reheating pizza if you want the crust to be edible. :-D

      • Platypi {Redacted} says:

        YES. The best I have found it dropping it in the oven on a preheated pizza stone for 5-8 minutes. Nice crisp crust, warm all the way through, it actually makes take n bake taste better the second time around…

        • Dallas_shopper says:

          I agree.

          Truth be told, I leave my pizza stone in the oven all the time. Makes it quicker to bake other things too, like brownies and crap like that. Just plop the baking dish down on top of the pizza stone and watch your brownies bake much faster. :-D

    • LHH says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Wonder how steamed pizza tastes? lol.

  17. topgun says:

    I’m about to microwave my computer.

  18. quail says:

    Ahem, reheating food in the microwave only requires you to place a damp paper towel over it. 1) the towel eliminates splatters & 2) being damp keeps the food from drying out. In fact the damp paper towel does steam your food.

    ps. When does the rest of the staff get back from vacation?

  19. Lyn Torden says:

    After trying to heat it many different ways, I’ve I simply prefer my leftover pizza cold. It’s the new breakfast food.

  20. j2.718ff says:

    This is an incredibly important consumer issue. I’m glad it was posted.
    Likewise, the picture of the train goes so well with an article about not microwaving your food.

  21. konakonachanchan says:

    For some foods I like to add a little water to them before I microwave. Then split up the cooking time so the heat from the hot spots have time to spread out instead of burning while the rest is cold.

  22. theblackdog says:

    So if we steam the Consumerist rather than Microwave it, we might get a better quality of recycled posts?

  23. Yacko says:

    Superman uses heat vision and says the results are fantastic.

  24. kouotsu says:

    fried chicken from KFC/Popeye’s/etc. reheats very nicely in a toaster oven

  25. Gravitational Eddy says:

    On a side note, ever notice how when they serve you that massive plate full of food at that chain restaurant you like to go to, that the server always says “Watch the plate, it’s hot”?
    It finally dawned on me why, as I was pulling a way-too-hot-to-handle plate of chicken and dumpling leftovers out of the microwave….

    Yep, you got it. That restaurant is serving microwaved food.

    • conquestofbread says:

      Or it’s been sitting too long under the hot lamps waiting to be brought to your table.

    • sirwired says:

      It’s also entirely possible that the plate recently came out of the dishwasher. Heavy restaurant plates take a little while to cool down.

      And, if the restaurant is really on the ball, they actually try and keep the plates hot. Heavy, cold, plate + hot food = cold food.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      That’s how a lot of Mexican restaurants around here operate. They have the rice, refried beans, enchilada fillings, and sauces all prepared already. They just stuff and roll the enchiladas, slop sauce down on top of them, plop rice and beans on the plate, sprinkle with cheese, and nuke for about 60-90 seconds. Done and done. For crispy tacos and chalupas, they put them on the plate after it comes out of the microwave. You can tell due to the difference in temp between the scalding hot beans and the not-so-hot taco filling/chalupa topping.

      There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. Beats cold food.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        My favorite Mexican slop place uses a convection oven. They assemble the enchilada on the plate, pop the plate in there and then staple another plate over it (for to-go orders). It’s pretty tasty.

        Those ovens work pretty good and are fast. I used to use one when I worked at a cafeteria. It heated frozen chicken patties and the like very fast and without making them soggy. I used to wish I had one at home.

  26. usernameandp says:

    EPIC FAIL. The big advantage of left overs is not having to wash a bunch of pots.

    1. Use a microwave for any liquid or sauce based items. For things with minimal / thick sauce, add a little liquid (a little milk added to your mac n cheese).

    2. For items in a toaster oven, wrap them tightly in aluminum foil & even add a few drops of water. Keep heat at 350 or lower.

    3. For pizza, put a tiny bit of oil in a skillet & warm it on LOW heat, checking that U don’t burn the bottom.

    4. For plain meats (like chicken breasts), put in a small skillet with 1/4″ water & heat it on low, allowing the water to cook away.

    No more washing those irritating steamers!!!

  27. maxamus2 says:

    Wow, seriously, microwaved food sucks? Thanks for letting me know.

  28. aleck says:

    What is the obsession with financial blogs by pretty girls (or so they claim)? Seriously, if I need food advise, I would choose Cooks’ Illustrated, Epicurious or or other more reputable sources. Which actually did numerous studies showing that microwaving rice and pasta actually improves its texture. Plus, the quality of leftovers is mostly determined by their age, not how you reheat them.

    Food facts aside, she actually suggests going through the process of getting steamer set up just to reheat leftovers. Seriously? Does she have her maid do that and then wash the steamer and the insert after the fact? Or more likely she is sitting home bored all day finding ways to occupy herself after writing the blog? And the Consumerist desperate for content actually republishes this nonsense.

  29. Antigone says:

    I actually find I prefer reheating food in the oven because the microwave makes it soggy. This is one of the advantages of working from home. I guess I just like dry food.

  30. longhairbilly says:

    Good Tip. I don’t understand all the negative comments. I

    I’ll give this a try.

  31. awesome anna says:

    Or just cover with a damp paper towel when reheating. I do this with rice all time, super moist and fluffy outta the micro.

  32. Robert says:

    eh. Makes too many more dishes.

  33. tooluser says:

    Just put your food in a saucepan with lid, or a baking dish. Heat it slowly and naturally on the stove top or in the oven. It does make a difference.

    But sometimes you are in a hurry and the microwave is the better trade-off.

    Or just eat a bag of chips. Or a piece of fruit. Or open a can of chili and eat it right from the can.