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How to Reheat Leftovers for the Best Taste

Some foods taste okay at room temperature, others require reheating. Here's how to reheat your favorite foods so you can enjoy them again.

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iStock/Osamy Torres Martín

1. Pizza

Unless you’re a fan of chewy cheese and a soggy crust, skip the microwave. (Here’s what else you should never microwave). Instead, for multiple slices, place a foil-covered baking sheet in the oven and heat at 450 degrees. Place slices on the foil and bake for 10 minutes. The cheese should be bubbling and the crust crispy when it’s done. For a single slice, set your toaster oven to medium-dark and toast twice or until the cheese begins to bubble. You can also try reheating on the stovetop. Heat a pan or skillet on medium-high for one minute, place the pizza in the pan, cover and heat for another two to three minutes.

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2. Rotisserie chicken

The key to a tasty reheated rotisserie chicken is keeping it moist. Prevent your bird from drying out by wrapping it (tightly) in foil and heating it in the oven at 350 degrees for roughly 20 minutes. Slice into a breast with a sharp knife to test whether it’s heated through. If crispy skin trumps moist meat in your house, skip the wrapping and place the chicken on a foiled-lined baking sheet.

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3. Leftover pasta (without sauce)

If you have plain pasta with no sauce, the best way to warm it up is by dipping it in boiling water. Place the pasta in a metal strainer and submerge it in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds or until it has regained the desired texture and warmth.

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4. Leftover pasta (with sauce)

Reheating pasta with sauce can be done one of three ways: Bake it at 350 degrees in a foil-covered baking dish (approximately 20 minutes); warm it in a saucepan over medium-low heat; or re-heat, covered, in the microwave. Give each method a try to figure out your preference.

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5. Quesadillas

No one likes a soggy quesadilla. To keep it crispy, heat a non-stick pan on medium-high until hot. Put in the quesadilla and heat for a minute or two on each side. You’ll know it’s done when the cheese melts and the tortilla has regained its crispness.

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6. Mashed potatoes

There are two schools of thought on reheating everyone’s favorite comfort food. Foodies firmly in the microwave camp advise placing the potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl, covering with a paper towel, and heating in intervals of 30 to 60 seconds. Mix after each heating and be careful not to overcook. Others, like Martha Stewart, recommend reheating in a double boiler over simmering water until warm. Either way, stirring in an extra splash of milk or cream is never a bad idea.

Sources: realsimple.com, goodhousekeeping.com, seattletimes.newsource.com, marthastewart.com

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest