Restaurant portion sizes have grown larger and larger over recent years. Since it’s not healthy, and near impossible for some, to eat a full rack of ribs, giant serving of fries, dinner rolls, and a serving of veggies the size of a baby’s head in one sitting, a stroke of brilliance created the to-go box. Not only is it better for you to set aside some of that quadruple enchilada combo meal for later, it is also more cost effective. It’s like getting two (or more) meals for the price of one! However, sometimes the food just doesn’t taste as good the second time around. Microwaving leftovers can leave them dry, tough, chewy, or any number of unpleasant adjectives. Here are a few tips to making that meal’s second time around almost as good as the first.
Oven bake leftover fries
1. Oven baking leftover fries crisps them up again after softening in the fridge. Preheat the oven to about 425 then bake leftover fries for 5 or 6 minutes, adding a few minutes for thicker cut fries such as steak fries. For skinny fries, or if there are only a few left, try sautéing in a frying pan for a couple of minutes.
Use water to keep meat moist
2. Sprinkle some water on chicken or pork to keep it moist instead of getting dry and stringy. Turn on the faucet and cup your hand, filling your palm with about a teaspoon of water. Use your fingertips to sprinkle water droplets onto meat before microwaving
Wrap bread in a damp paper towel
3. Wrap bread in a damp napkin or paper towel to keep it soft and prevent it from getting tough or chewy. Microwave for about 20 seconds or until warm. Don’t soak the paper towel, just use enough water to moisten it.
Take a tip from microwave meals
4. Different foods require different cooking times. Duh! Don’t just throw all of your leftovers on a plate and nuke it. For example, if you have leftovers from a chicken dinner plate, sprinkle the meat with a little bit of water and begin to heat for about 30 seconds, then add the mashed potatoes or vegetables, and cook another minute or so, then if you have a roll or biscuit, wrap it in a moist paper towel and cook for another 15-20 seconds.
5. Skipped eating your veggies in favor of saving room for dessert? Don’t let those veggies go to waste! Bring them home and toss them in some pasta or a salad to brighten up a quick meal. Don’t feel like baking up those fries we talked about earlier? Chop them up at breakfast, add some cheese, green onion, and a little salt and pepper and turn them into home fries. Casseroles are another great way to incorporate leftovers. For example, use leftover bread to make stuffing, bread pudding, or a crunchy breadcrumb topping. There are millions of ways to incorporate leftovers into a meal to give them new life and flavor. Don’t be afraid to experiment!