You're being way too lazy when reheating them
We see you, standing there with your leftovers in the microwave waiting for the beep. It’s how most of us cook our leftovers, and most of us are very, very wrong. Yes, reheating food in the microwave works. But it can also completely destroy texture, flavor, and joy.
Dave Heide knows a couple of things about leftovers. He owns two restaurants -- Liliana’s and Charlie’s -- in Madison, Wisconsin, and is busy opening a third. Little John’s will be a nonprofit, pay-what-you-can eatery that uses leftovers and reduced food waste to make its business model possible. Point is, this guy knows how to make his leftovers taste fresh. Take, for example, pizza.
“Microwaved pizza comes out soggy and gross, but if you warm it in the oven, it’s crispy again. Sometimes it’s even better than the night before,” Heide advises. Others recommend reheating it on a skillet to restore life to the fading crust.
Either way, how you cook it makes a huge difference.
But it's not just pizza. A little love and creativity goes a long way in reheating -- and sometimes transforming -- leftovers. To show the power of proper leftover cooking, Daniel Gritzer, managing culinary director at Serious Eats, describes risotto al salto, which is where you smash up leftover risotto and grill it on a skillet. The result is a delicious, crispy, golden-brown pancake of goodness.
But as a general rule, leftovers are best when reheated via the same method they were cooked. Soups reheat in a pot on the stove top. A panini goes in the toaster oven. Meats and seafood get the low-and-slow treatment in the oven. Fried rice or chow mein get tossed in a wok or pan. It's pretty basic, but it's also pretty amazing how easy it is to forget when you're being lazy.