By Regan Stephens

Published on March 27, 2016

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Photography by @SHAKESHACK

by Regan Stephens

There’s nothing wrong with cold pizza. There was a time in our lives when standing in front of an open fridge, wolfing down a slice was called dinnertime. But learning some simple techniques for warming up leftovers will vastly improve your meal, not to mention it’s a tad more civilized. Embrace adulthood! The food tastes way better here.

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Photography by @REGANBITES

pizza

Bypass the microwave — honestly, you might as well eat it cold, by our (admittedly non-scientific) estimation it’s a million times better — and head straight for the stovetop. For more than a couple of slices, the oven does the trick.

stovetop:

-Add 1-2 slices of pizza to a non-stick skillet and cover with a lid.

-Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.

Food52 suggests adding 2 drops of water to the pan before covering to add moisture for the best melty, crispy results.

oven:

-Pre-heat the oven to 450-degrees.

-Add the slices to a foil-lined baking sheet

-Drizzle the top of the pizza with a touch of olive oil to keep it from drying out.

-Cook for 5-10 minutes.

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coffee

Before you reheat your coffee, consider your motive. Is it to drink a deliciously aromatic cup of coffee, or is it the fastest method to absorb caffeine? If it’s the latter, feel free to microwave your mug — 1 minute or less usually works — but know it’s going to taste suboptimal. (The microwave kills the flavor, leaving you with a more bitter, albeit hot and caffeinated, liquid.) If you want to drink a passably good cup of coffee without wasting the batch you already made, use the stovetop.

-Place a pan of coffee on the stovetop over low heat. (Low is key, or else you’ll risk burning the batch.)

-Stir occasionally until it’s at your desired temperature.  

-Optional: Add a tiny pinch of salt to combat the bitterness, or a pinch of cinnamon to add some flavor.

-Alternatively: Freeze leftover coffee in ice cube trays and add them to iced coffee to keep your drink cold without watering it down.

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fries

Wait, you have leftover fries? Weird. Don’t let them go to waste, but do not, under any circumstance, use the microwave to reheat. Revive cold, soggy fries on the stovetop or in the oven.

stovetop:

-Add a small drizzle of oil to a pan and then add the fries in a single layer.

-Heat on medium-low, turning occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes.

oven:

-Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.

-Arrange fries on a baking sheet in a single layer.

-Heat for about 10 minutes, flipping them with a spatula once.

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pasta

Whether you’re warming plain pasta or saucy leftovers (fried spaghetti is one of the world’s most underappreciated foods) here’s how to make them taste great without overcooking.

For sauce-less pasta:

-Dip a strainer full of pasta in boiling water for 30 seconds.

Or:

-Boil a pot of water, then remove it from the heat.

-Add the pre-cooked pasta and let it sit for about 1 minute before draining like normal. You can also use this trick to save time when entertaining.

For pasta that’s been mixed with sauce:

stovetop:

-Drizzle olive oil in a pan and add the noodles. Add a little extra sauce, if you have it.

-Heat on medium-low and stir until it’s warmed.

oven:

-Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

-Add the pasta to an oven safe dish and cover with lid or foil.

-Heat for 15-20 minutes.

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steak

The goal here is to warm the steak to without converting it to a piece of shoe leather. A two-step process (like the one here) will produce the best result, with a crisped outside and tender inside.

-Preheat the oven to 250-degrees.

-Place the steak on a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and warm the steak on a for about 30 minutes.

-Transfer to a vegetable-oiled skillet and sear for about 1 minute on each side.

-Alternatively: thinly slice the cold steak and add it to some greens and veggies for an awesome, easy salad.

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pork tenderloin (or other meat leftovers)

This strange and genius tip from the Chowhound community is one of the best reheating hacks we’ve heard, ensuring your leftover meat stays juicy while it warms.  

-Line the bottom of a cast iron skillet with wet iceberg lettuce leaves.

-Place the meat on top and cover with a lid.

-Heat on medium-low until it’s warmed to the desired temperature. 

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rice

Before you grab those takeout leftovers, transform your refrigerated rice from dry little pellets to the fluffy dish it once was. Remember that? It was just last night.

microwave:

-In a microwave safe container, add a few tablespoons of water for every cup of rice you’re reheating.

-Cover the container (with a lid or a plate) to retain the steam and add moisture back.

-Heat for 1-2 minutes, until it’s at the desired temperature.

stovetop:

-Throw the rice in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water.

-Cover with a lid to trap in the steam.

-Cook on low until it’s heated throughout. 

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Photography by @SLICEOFPAI

rotisserie chicken

Rotisserie chicken is a valuable fridge asset — add the shredded meat to soups, salads, tacos, stir frys, the list goes on, or simply heat up the whole bird and pair with a salad and baguette for an easy weeknight meal.

-Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

-Cover the chicken in foil.

-Heat for about 20 minutes.