Leftover Lessons

5:25 PM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Does the word "leftovers" bring bad memories to mind?

A lot of people don't like leftovers because they didn't feel good after eating them. There are two primary reasons why: 1-we didn't store them/reheat them properly and the food makes us queasy and
2-we reheat them the wrong way and the texturre and taste is yucky.

The USDA and the Census Bureau discovered American retailers and consumers throw away about 96.4 billion pounds of perfectly good food each year. That comes out to about 122 pounds of wasted food a month by the average family, or about $600.

So, let's not waste food or money. First, storage. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of cooking. Second, cut up large casseroles into single servings to cool better and reheat more thoroughly. Third, eat your leftovers within four days. The only exception is gravy and stuffing which should be eaten with two days.

Men's Health had these tips for reheating almost anything!

Pizza: Don't microwave, instead use a cast-iron pan set over low heat. Warm until the bottoms have crisped up slightly and the cheese has remelted. (Doing a large pie and want to save time? Place on a cookie sheet and cook in a fully preheated 500°F oven for 4 to 5 minutes.)

Steak, roasted chicken, and pork chops: Take the chill off the meat by leaving it on the counter for 20 minutes.  Preheat an oven to 350°F. Heat a thin film of oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Then add the meat and cook until a nice crust has been reestablished on one side of the meat-2 to 3 minutes. Flip and place the whole skillet in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the leftovers.

Chili, soup, and braises: Re-heat them slowly in a large sauce pan with up to a cup of low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water). Stir constantly to ensure even heating. 

Pasta and Asian noodle dishes: Heat a nonstick skillet with a bit of olive oil. Add the pasta, along with a 1/4 cup of low-sodium chicken stock or water per serving. Cook until the noodles are hot and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs (basil or parsley) and grated cheese.

Burgers and chicken sandwiches: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the meat on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, until the outside is hot to the touch. Toast a fresh bun and apply a new round of produce and condiments

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