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Best Way to Reheat Leftovers Without A Microwave

It’s been years since we owned a microwave. I’ve never liked them but my husband insisted on having one. Once the microwave broke, that was it. We never bought a new one. Once people hear that we don’t have a microwave they are a bit taken back, because why wouldn’t you have a microwave?

gnocchi with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese

There are several reasons why we ditched the microwave years ago, but today I want to share how we figured out how to reheat all those leftovers and various other foods that need to be heated up. After lots of trial and errors we’ve come up with a system that works well so I wanted to give these tips to all my newbie non-microwave lovers out there.

DRINKS – The best way, and pretty much the only way to heat up drinks such as tea, hot cider, coffee or milk is to put in a pot and simmer over the stove until it is the desired temperature. For coffee, I use a french press which cools rather quickly when left in the container. I put the coffee in a large thermos that will keep liquids hot for hours. When I say hours, I mean almost 24 hours. No kidding!

FOODS IN SAUCE – As a sauce cools it become thicker, add a bit of water if need to. My suggestion is to start the heating process in a stainless steel or cast iron pot that fits the quantity, heating on medium low heat. Once the mixture starts to warm you will know if water is needed to thin. Add just a tiny bit and add more if needed.

FOODS WITHOUT SAUCE – Foods such as meats, potatoes and vegetables could burn easily or dry out if heated too quickly on a high temperature. My favorite way to heat up these types of foods is by putting in a stainless steel or glass pan, add a small bit of water or olive oil, cover with foil and heat in the oven at 300 degrees until heated through. Taking out every 10 minutes or so to stir or flip. If you don’t want to heat up your kitchen by using the oven you can use a saute pan and covering with a lid and heat through on medium low heat.

GRAINS – It can be tough to reheat grains without a microwave if you don’t know what your doing. When heating in a pot on the stove or pan in the oven you need to cook on low heat, and add a bit of water or broth to the grains so they don’t dry out and burn. It’s also a good idea to add a bit of butter or oil to the grains with a little seasoning to add more flavor.

PASTA – I love making big batches of baked pasta or macaroni and cheese then freezing extras for those busy nights when I don’t have time to cook. The easiest way to reheat that type of pasta is by placing it in a oven safe dish, adding a bit of sauce or water to the mixture then reheating in the oven on 300 degrees. Checking the pasta every 20 minutes or so to mix, add more liquid and to monitor the wetness  of the pasta. If you are reheating leftover non-frozen pasta you can add to a pot and reheat on the stove. Again, add water or sauce and cook on medium to low heat stirring often to avoid burning.

OATMEAL – When I make slow cooker oatmeal it makes a huge batch, so we always has leftovers. When reheating I add a generous amount of milk to the pot and break all the pieces up as warming, try using a potato masher. Works like a charm! Now if you add too much milk keep the pot lid off so the excess liquid can evaporate.

Basically when reheating whether it’s on the stove or in the oven the key to success is low and slow. With a little patience your leftovers will warm up easily and taste just as good as the day you first made them.


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4 Responses to Best Way to Reheat Leftovers Without A Microwave

  1. Jen September 27, 2016 at 5:33 am #

    Great advice! I always cook extra to cover another meal. Thank you:)

    • Trina O'Boyle September 28, 2016 at 6:03 am #

      Creating double batch meals have been a lifesaver for me since going back teaching.

  2. Donna September 27, 2016 at 9:07 am #

    This is so helpful. What a great post!

    • Trina O'Boyle September 28, 2016 at 6:03 am #

      So glad you stopped by and thought these tips were helpful! How do you re-heat leftovers?

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