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These Leftover Foods Are Best Left Out of the Microwave...

While just putting some leftover food in the microwave might seem easy, the truth is that you might actually be damaging your health by microwaving and consuming certain foods. In many instances, it's preferential to heat up leftovers conventionally, in other words using an oven or a stove. Here are 10 types of food that you shouldn't reheat using a microwave, together with an explanation of how they should be heated properly: 


1. Casseroles

How to reheat properly: Splash some water over the top of the casserole you want to reheat. Doing this keeps it from drying out when heating it in the oven. Cover lightly with aluminum foil and bake at 325°F (163°C) until heated through. Be sure to check the temperature in the middle of the casserole, as that’s where it takes longest to warm up.


2. Chicken

How to reheat properly: Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then place the chicken at the center. Wrap it tightly in the foil, then reheat until its internal temperature registers a minimum of 165°F (74°C) on a meat thermometer.  


3. Pizza

How to reheat properly: Simply bake in the oven at 375°F (191°C) until the cheese has melted and the crust is crisp. If you’re only heating a slice or two, place the slices in a dry skillet and cover with aluminum foil. Heat on medium until the cheese has melted and the crust is crisp.


4. Pasta

How to reheat properly: Place the pasta in a saucepan and heat it on medium-low. If you used oil or cream when you first cooked it, add a small amount and stir frequently. If you used a tomato-based sauce, you can add a small amount of water to thin it out a little, as well as adjust the seasoning to taste.


5. Steak

How to reheat properly: Slice the steak leftovers thinly and place in a saute pan. Add a small amount of oil to the pain, and heat on medium until the edges have browned and the slices have warmed through.


6. Potatoes  

How to reheat properly: If you’re reheating French Fries, place a little oil in a non-stick saute pan and heat until it begins to simmer. Add the fries and fry them until brown and crisp. When the fries are done, take them out of the oil, then drain on a paper-towel-lined dinner plate.

For mashed potatoes, place a large deep pot on the stove and fill it to one-third of the way up with water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Place the mashed potatoes in a smaller pot and submerge in the larger pot, stirring frequently until the mixture warms through. You can add a splash of milk to thin it out if required.

Boiled potatoes can be reheated in the oven. Place the potatoes in an oven-proof dish, adding a dash of olive oil. Place them in a cold oven set at 300°F (149°C) and leave to heat through. You can check that they’re done by pushing a fork into the middle of the largest potato. If it comes out hot, then you’re good to go.


7. Spinach

How to reheat properly: Due to the possibility of harmful nitrosamines (which are carcinogenic) forming upon reheating, it’s better to avoid reheating spinach altogether.


8. Mushrooms

How to reheat properly: Place the mushrooms in a skillet, preferably with a lid. Add a little olive oil or butter and heat on a medium-high heat for just a few minutes.


9. Eggs

How to reheat properly: Reheating eggs should be avoided because they can become toxic if they’re exposed to high heat, however cooked eggs and egg dishes can be reheated in the oven to a temperature to 165°F (73°C) before serving.

10. Rice

How to reheat properly: Place the rice into an oven-proof baking dish and add a little water. You can also add a few knobs of butter or a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Cover the baking dish with a tight-fitting lid or cover tightly in aluminum foil. Bake at 300°F (149°C) for approximately 15 minutes.


Content Sources: Rouxbe, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, European Food Information Council, Noshon.it, LiveStrong, Woman's Day, Tribune,  Food Network 


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