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How do I cook food so it tastes good days later when it's reheated with a microwave?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'm trying to figure out how I can cook healthy meals that will taste good even when it's reheated several days later in the microwave. Does anyone have any tips or special tricks?

post #2 of 20
Define healthy
post #3 of 20

I'd say leave out the meat and chicken. Neither ever tastes good nuked. I read somewhere once what the chemical reaction is that creates the obnoxious flavor but I don't remember where. Probably Harold McGee. The obnoxious flavor is somewhat mitigated when nuking stews.

post #4 of 20

Microwaving is not my favorite way to reheat proteins.  When roasting a chicken lets say and I'm planning for leftover meals I truss it then as soon as the thighs are done I'll pull it, rest and carve off the rear quarters and chill the breasts right then.   That way I can reheat them to done and not over done and dry.  Same with a large roast - eat the end cuts first night and reheat the rare center another.  I like to slice and sear like a steak in a very hot pan, slowly in foil in a dry pan.  

 

And save any jus, or pan juices, put them in the ice box and peal off the fat cap on top the next day.  Now you have what I call "goo".  It helps makes your next serving taste amazing.

post #5 of 20

First, can you cook good food?

post #6 of 20

I'm with Kuan, I reheat plenty of meals in the microwave and they taste just as good the second time around.

If it's not very good the first time around, it's not going to be any better the second.

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonfields View Post
 

I'm trying to figure out how I can cook healthy meals that will taste good even when it's reheated several days later in the microwave. Does anyone have any tips or special tricks?


A microwave is a good option for reheating food.  The "several days later" depends on how many days, and if the cooked food was stored well. It doesn't take long to cook up a few chicken breasts or seafood, & toss together with  seasonal salad ingredients.

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan View Post
 

First, can you cook good food?

 

I cook every single day, but I'm not a professional with a restaurant. I sometimes do leftovers & reheat, but thought some experts out there may know more tricks to having it taste just as good a few days later when it's reheated via a microwave. I'm going to start taking food up to my dad's place when I visit him once a week and will cook meals for the week for him. I want it to taste like it was just cooked after microwaving if it's possible.

 

Is undercooking what I need to do? I know lower settings for the microwave is good, but my dad won't do that stuff. So it's up to me to figure out how to make it taste good (in the cooking process).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grande View Post

Define healthy

 

Things like lean protein like grilled chicken, salads (obviously not reheated), grains, vegetables, etc. Things that aren't super saucy or covered in cheese like lasagna. 

post #9 of 20


Good answer

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post #10 of 20
Make soups! i'll make a veggie soup & eat it for two or three days.
post #11 of 20

I would not undercook proteins then as your father might not get to them in a timely manner.  (If I'm reading your reply right)  Even fully cooked protein has a shelf life under refrigeration.  Had you laid that out in your original post my guess is you would have gotten completely different replies to your OP.  That's a tough one - he has no one around to pop in and help with that?

post #12 of 20

I would do soups and stews.  Before I had a sous vide machine I used to sear my steaks, freeze them, vacuum seal them, and then microwave reheat them in the microwave.  The key is freeze and vacuum seal it.

post #13 of 20

Any chance of throwing a countertop toaster oven into the mix?

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #14 of 20

Is your Dad capable of cooking food himself or is he incapacitated so that he cannot? I had to make food for my grandfather years ago and he had mild dementia. I put together ziplock bags with slow cooker meals prepped and in the freezer so that he could pull a bag out in the morning when his reminder time went off and put it into a timed slow cooker. It worked.

 

I do this for my father now only he is fully capable of making meals himself. He loves it cuz it's fresh and easy for him to do. We get together on a Sunday, do the shopping for the week, clean and prep the bags and then throw them in the freezer! 

post #15 of 20

I take thanksgiving leftovers and use disposable 3 compartment plates. I place veg in one, the stuffing in another, some potato and the protein covered in gravy in the third largest compartment. The gravy helps keep it moist when nuked. I vacuum bag these and stick them in the freezer. Take one out and thaw it overnight in the fridge then nuke in the vacuum bag(cut a slit one corner for steam. Tastes almost as good as the day I made it. Use of gravy or some stock over the meat will help it stay moist when reheating.

post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions!

 

Are there particular vegetables that reheat better than others?

 

Does anyone know of any places where I can find healthy sauces? (want to avoid sugar, unhealthy oils)

post #17 of 20
It's a wonderful thing that you're doing for your father and it's a position many of us will find ourselves in, either preparing meals for an elderly parent or being the recipient of such care. This makes me me want to be even more diligent about teaching my son to cook for himself as he grows up.

I think Mary has a great suggestion, I can imagine that this is the best way to enjoy complete meals that are both healthy and interesting. I would also suggest like others did and make soups, stews and casseroles. I find that bean soups freeze really well and I heat them up in the microwave. Think pasta fagiole, black bean with cumin, lentil, split pea, chicken and corn, gumbo, cassoulet, beef stew, etc.

Pulled pork also freezes beautifully and can be warmed in the microwave with a shot glass of water added. Put it on a bun and it's a quick sandwich.

Individual pot pies, and frozen individual pizzas though admittedly they would do better in a real oven. Meatloaf freezes well too, as well as meatballs.

What kind of sauces are you looking for?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #18 of 20

Root vegetables reheat well, squash reheats very well, corn reheats okay. Other veg can be bought frozen, added to the plate before freezing and cooked while the rest reheats so it only cooks once. Sauce wise, gravy reheats semi okay(gets kinda lumpy in texture). A little butter can be added after reheating to veg and potato(yes butter is healthy in moderation), not sure what other "sauces" you are looking for?

post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

It's a wonderful thing that you're doing for your father and it's a position many of us will find ourselves in, either preparing meals for an elderly parent or being the recipient of such care. This makes me me want to be even more diligent about teaching my son to cook for himself as he grows up.

I think Mary has a great suggestion, I can imagine that this is the best way to enjoy complete meals that are both healthy and interesting. I would also suggest like others did and make soups, stews and casseroles. I find that bean soups freeze really well and I heat them up in the microwave. Think pasta fagiole, black bean with cumin, lentil, split pea, chicken and corn, gumbo, cassoulet, beef stew, etc.

Pulled pork also freezes beautifully and can be warmed in the microwave with a shot glass of water added. Put it on a bun and it's a quick sandwich.

Individual pot pies, and frozen individual pizzas though admittedly they would do better in a real oven. Meatloaf freezes well too, as well as meatballs.

What kind of sauces are you looking for?

 

 

I was fortunate that my dad taught me how to cook when I was younger and I cooked almost every dinner with him. (though clearly I didn't learn much about how to cook food so it tastes good when microwaved) Cooking is definitely a very valuable skill - I'm sure your son will appreciate you teaching him.

 

Mary's suggestion does sound like a good one. 

 

I'm not sure what sauces exactly. I guess I would say different ethnic sauces as well as American sauces. I'm thinking that if I'm going to be cooking a lot, I might as well learn how to cook some new dishes that aren't traditionally American. Maybe Asian, Greek, South American, Spanish?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryB View Post
 

Root vegetables reheat well, squash reheats very well, corn reheats okay. Other veg can be bought frozen, added to the plate before freezing and cooked while the rest reheats so it only cooks once. Sauce wise, gravy reheats semi okay(gets kinda lumpy in texture). A little butter can be added after reheating to veg and potato(yes butter is healthy in moderation), not sure what other "sauces" you are looking for?

 

 

Thanks for the good suggestions MaryB! As far as sauces, I guess I'm just looking for something to change it up a bit for my dad so he isn't always just eating plain steamed veggies. Maybe a stir fry, a quinoa bowl, kebabs, etc. Just some variety.

 

Do you generally under cook squash & root vegetables if you're planning on reheating?

post #20 of 20

I fully cook them...

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