The morning after this pizza night is the BEST morning. Why? Because it means pizza for breakfast. Let’s face it, popping that savoury plate of goodness in the microwave at 7 in the morning is the greatest feeling. The microwave is probably the greatest invention (especially to millennials) because it’s so simple and convenient to use. Providing quick fixes to hangry persons.
BUT other than a speedily heated meal, what exactly does a microwave offer?
For me, I always feel that whatever I am heating up comes out a little moister or soggier than when I originally made it. Its not uncommon for it to just sit like a weight in the bottom of my stomach. This is probably due to the fact that microwaves drain almost all essential nutrients from your food. And adding insult to injury microwaves take up much coveted and valuable counter/shelf space in your kitchen.
The unhealthy-ness of microwaves has driven some select groups of people to find alternatives. Alternatives that take more time and preparation but ultimately provide the same service. Heating your leftovers but keeping all the yumminess intact.
Lots of families have grown up with the microwave as a core part of their meal prep and consumption. It was easy to come home from school throw a leftover chicken breast or bowl of mom’s famous chili in the microwave – so easy! It was pretty much a staple. It saved your parents time making dinner and gave you more time for homework, sports, and just hangin’ out.
This is the hardest part for people to overcome when seeking reheating alternatives. You’ve got to change your mind. Supporters of alternative reheating methods believe that is it all a matter of habit. Change your perspective, change your routine, change your pattern and the rest will follow suit.
Bear in mind that with the slightest change in routine, non-microwavable reheating can be just as convenient as microwavable. Skeptical? I was too, but in the end the biggest challenge is in the increased number of dishes. This is very easily overcome thanks to über handy stainless steel and cast iron dishes.
If you’re like me, you’re not a fan of extra dishes. Luckily, there is a way to lessen this pesky clean-up. So let’s make everyone’s life a little easier by only using one pot. One pot to reheat an entire meal or one pot to reheat several meal items by taking turns. There will always be at least one pot to wash every time but sometimes, and I stress the word sometimes, enjoyment can be found in the simple clean up. An accomplished, healthy and satisfied enjoyment.
The most popular method of non-microwaved reheating is using stainless steel or cast iron pots on stove burners. They look pretty and are super easy to clean. The categories for this are broken down by type and include exact reheating instructions inherent to each food.
Re-heating instructions (by food)
Spaghetti, beans, alfredo, or other main dishes with liquid
Find a pot that fits the quantity. Bring the food to desired temperature over medium or medium high heat. Add water if the sauce thickened during refrigeration.
Generally, ¼ cup of water at a time until the sauce reached consistency desired. Be forewarned that foods will become thinner when heated. Cold foods are naturally more thick than heated foods.
Meat, potatoes or steamed veggies
Meat, potatoes or steamed veggies. Add a little bit of water and/or oil. Bring to desired temperature over medium to medium high heat. One can also add broth or water along with additional seasonings and create a sauce with the leftovers. Interchangeably put the foods in a smaller pan that sits inside another pan. Fill it with boiling water. The water’s steam will heat the food.
Brown rice, millet, quinoa, or other whole grains
Season your cast iron pot to create a non-stick surface and prevent excessive sticking. However, if sticking does occur, do not fret, it is easily scraped. Melt a large amount of fat (butter, ghee, coconut oil, etc.) in a pan over medium heat.
Add the grains. Stir/scrape frequently as the grains heat. You can use this opportunity to season your grains with salt and pepper, herbs or the oil mentioned previously. Once the grain is all warmed and appetising, turn the heat to low and cover the pan. You may sometimes want to add a bit of water or sauce.
Whole wheat, white and any noodle type
Add a bit of water and olive oil to your pot. Heat over medium heat. As the water boils it will evaporate and its steam will start to heat the pasta. Keep the pot enclosed, but toss regularly.
You may add water as needed but too much water will make the pasta soggy. The notion is to add just enough water for it to evaporate to create enough steam for reheating.
Porridges and Oatmeal’s:
Add cereal and generous amount of water to your pot. Stir. Turn the heat to medium low. Stir regularly with a wooden spoon and cover in-between. Let the insides reheat adding water as needed. Be careful not to flood it. When the porridge reaches desired temperature turn the heat to low and cover pot.
Tea, coffee etc.
Pour drink in a pot which fits it. Bring to a simmer. (or desired temperature) over medium to medium-high heat. You’ll find that reheating time rivals that of the microwave for most drinks, such as tea.
Alternately one can fill a mason jar with the drink set it in a pit of water and let the water heat to a simmer, which will heat the contents of the jar. If heating liquid that scalds easily, such as milk, lower the heat to medium or medium low and stir constantly until it is hot.
Hotdogs, grilled sandwiches, lasagna or casserole etc.
Reheat main dish leftovers in a covered casserole dish at 350°-375° half hour. Or until heated through combine of layer different meal components in the same casserole dish to save space and clean up.
If you think you can change your daily re-heating habits, then don’t be afraid to give this healthy lifestyle choice a try. It will take a while to get used to, and you’ll probably yearn for the simplicity of your microwave, but if you stick with it you’ll find yourself in a place where both options contain the same amount of effort. Maybe just maybe, you’ll even prefer the less popular path.
Go ahead, be brave. Be different. Take the extra step to keep your food fresh and nutrient rich!