from the Farm Kitchen

Reheating Frozen Foods

by Cynthia MacGregor
excerpted from The Cook-Ahead Cookbook

     It is not necessary to thaw foods before reheating, though you may safely do so (in the refrigerator, not at room temperature) if you wish. If you do thaw foods, decrease the reheating time accordingly. 

Here are some reheating guidelines:

  • 325°-350° is a good oven heat for reheating 
  • a covered pot on a medium-low burner is a good rule for stovetop reheating
  • 70% power is a good setting for microwave reheating 

    I usually prefer to heat on the stove, rather than the other two options. Obviously, it will take longer to heat enough servings of any recipe to feed four or six people than it will to heat just one for yourself. Also, "medium-low" (or any other setting) on your stove may not produce identical heat to medium-low on another person's stove. And your cookware makes a difference too -- not all saucepans, skillets or Dutch ovens heat at the same rate or evenness. 

     To reheat on the stovetop, remove food from the container and place in a pot with about 1/4 cup water or another liquid in the recipe, such as wine or broth. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through. Stir and check once or twice during reheating process, adding more water if the liquid level gets too low. If reheating three or more servings, 5 or 10 additional minutes' reheating time may be needed. 

    To reheat in the microwave, use 50% or 70% microwave power -- 70% is usually a good choice -and heat for 2 minutes. At the end of 2 minutes' check to see how well-heated the food is, and stir so that ingredients are moved from the center of the dish to the edges, if possible. 

    Microwave for another minute or so, depending on the food, number of portions you are reheating and your oven's power.

      You can restart the microwave as many times as you need to. It is better to err on the side of caution than risk ruining your dinner. Meat and poultry will toughen if over-cooked. Stir the food each time you check it. If your container is microwave-safe, you can reheat the food in it. Otherwise, transfer food to a microwave-safe dish.

The Cook-Ahead Cookbook
The Cook-Ahead Cookbook
by Cynthia MacGregor
Bristol Publishing, 2002
     When the unforseen happens, or when life gets just too hectic to fix the meal you had planned, it's good to have a fall-back entree in the freezer.
     This little cookbook offers 120 meals, from Sweet 'n Hot Chicken to Veal Marsala, that can be prepared ahead of time and frozen in single-serve packages for microwaving or stovetop reheating.
     Divided into sections featuring main dish meats -- Chicken and Turkey; Pork, Sausage and Lamb; Beef and Veal -- the book features only dinners that can be successfully prepared in advance, frozen and reheated. No recipes for roasts or steak to be found here.
Clarence Birdseye, Frozen Food Inventor
Clarence Birdseye, Frozen Food Inventor

Microwave Oven
Microwave Oven

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