Tag Archives: reheating

Kitchen Tips: Reheating a Leftover Casserole

I stared at those two boneless, skinless chicken breasts all morning, wondering what to do with them that would be new. That didn’t work. I feel like this winter has sapped me of any food creativity, so I used my own site to search for what I’ve done with chicken in the recent past and decided on the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole. Good choice. We really like this dish the first time and it’s easy to make. The chicken is moist and tender, as long as you don’t overcook it in the browning stage; in fact, I would under-cook it and let it finish in the oven. But now I have two-thirds of the casserole left and we’re going to eat it again tonight, so I need to reheat it without drying it out and basically re-cooking it.

Reheating a casserole depends on a lot of conditions, like the density of the food and the specific ingredients (sauce, cheeses, meat, pasta or rice or potato). I am only a fan of microwave reheating for single portions. Larger, dense dishes in the microwave just take too long, resulting in the edges overcooking and becoming tough, while the center can still be cold. In the oven, you can’t avoid some re-cooking of the casserole, but you’d be surprised how much a tight aluminum foil cover helps, even more than a glass lid that may have come with your dish. Here are a few tips that work for me:

  • First, remember that you are trying to warm the food, not bring it to its original bubbly gloriousness. If you go too far, the fats can separate from your sauce or cheese and make an oily mess.
  • For any size casserole, I would bring it to room temperature first.
  • For a small leftover casserole of about two servings, use a high heat, 400°-425° for a short period, maybe 10-15 minutes covered with foil.
  • For a medium sized casserole, like mine, which I am putting in a smaller dish, you can use a moderate 350° for about 20 minutes, which was actually close to the original baking conditions, but with the foil cover added to keep moisture in.
  • Cutting between portions will also help the center to heat more easily. I’m cutting mine into 4 squares before moving it to a 9″ square dish.

The result, after 20 minutes at 350° was perfect. The texture was moist and soft with no burnt edges and like the first time it was made. The temperature at the inner corners of the portions was about 125°, a nice eating temperature. My husband loves it when I don’t try to burn his mouth, although I don’t claim responsibility for his not testing the food first.

 

Reheating Yesterday’s Egg Rolls

Egg Rolls get kind of soggy in the refrigerator, but I’ve reheated them in the microwave and eaten them. You just don’t get the crunch of the baked or fried original; it’s more like a noodle surrounding the filling. To get some of the crunch back, without burning them, you need to do two things: (1) a quick reheat in the microwave to get the filling warmed up, and (2) put them in a hot oven to shock the egg roll wrapper back into life.

Reheating Egg Rolls

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 425°

  1. Spray or brush baking sheet with some kind of cooking oil; peanut oil is nice for this. I lined my baking sheet with non-stick foil, as well.
  2. Place egg rolls in microwave on a plate or in its storage dish and microwave at a low level, if your microwave has levels, for one or two minutes. The time will depend to some extent on the number of egg rolls. You’re just trying to warm them a bit on the inside; the bottom of the plate should be slightly warm to the touch when done.
  3. Place warmed egg rolls on baking sheet and spray or brush with a little cooking oil.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn and bake for 5 more minutes. Mine didn’t burn, but check sooner, if concerned.

All these steps might need adjusting, according to whether your egg rolls had been fried or baked, and on how soft they became in the refrigerator.