Apr 2, 2014

How to Reheat Food Stovetop, Without a Microwave

Kickin' it old school here today.  Reheating stovetop is NOT news to many of you.  However there could be a few readers out there who can't remember - or maybe never learned - to reheat food without a microwave.  

I'm not hatin' on a microwave.  I have one.  I am leery of them so I try to limit my use of it.  When it comes to reheating dinner for the entire family it is easier for me to do it stovetop, en masse.  Plus, I prefer food heated on the stovetop because it is heated evenly through.  And maybe it is in my head, but I think microwaved food gets cold faster.  Anyone else had that experience? 
When reheating stovetop, I almost always start with a pat of butter.  Butter makes everything better.  You could use any kind of fat, really.  It gives flavor and moisture.  The cast iron skillet had a bit of olive oil in it.  Not enough so I added more butter.
Once the butter is melted, add the cold food.  Below I repurposed roast for shredded beef tacos by adding the Mexican trinity: chili powder, garlic powder and cumin.
 Give it a stir until it's warm through.  Voila, you've got taco meat.
Because there wasn't enough roast to make tacos for the whole family...well let me be honest...I was cleaning out the fridge.  This was a CRAP night in the Majors' house: Clean Refrigerator And Pantry.

In my cast iron skillet, oven-fried potatoes were reheated.
When they were warm through, I remembered I had carrots leftover (from the roast) and that the baby would like the carrots.  So I moved the potatoes to the side and added the carrots.
Last but not least, I had a single serving of red beans and rice that was warmed in a sauce pan.  We like it on the thicker side.  Just remember that chicken broth is always a welcomed addition when reheating food.  If I am reheating rice on the stovetop, I almost always use butter and broth.  If you don't have broth and your food seems on the dry side, add a splash of water or wine. :)
One of the things I like about reheating food on the stove top is that it gives me time to stall think creatively about what else I can clean out of the fridge nutritiously feed my family.  I'll start one thing warming, give it a stir, then go stare blankly into the refrigerator.

What else did we eat?  My husband made a giant salad for himself.  As a family we shared a fresh pineapple, that I'd cut up earlier.

Other tips:
- The oven works well, too.  Just be sure to cover the food (with foil or oven safe lid) to capture moisture so your food doesn't dry out.  I usually put the dish in the cold oven and let it reheat as the oven preheats.  Depending on the dish, I may give it a stir as it warms up.

- If I know we are having left overs for dinner, I try to remember to pull the food out the fridge a few hours before and let it come to room temperature.  This seems to speed the re-heating.

- Julie

PS I also use a toaster oven that is perfect for reheating smaller portions or slices of pizza.

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