The Secrets of Leftovers

Rather than make a new meal, learn how to best reuse what’s in your fridge



Visions of Tupperware may come to mind with using up leftovers. Simple techniques and garnishes can drastically improve them.

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

Through the past couple months, if you have followed these recipes, you might know that I am trying to bolster my own cooking skills. I hope that you have learned a few good recipes alongside me throughout this pandemic. While learning new recipes is always beneficial, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t go over how best to deal with the leftovers from a meal that you either made too much of or couldn’t quite finish in one sitting. 

If visions of Tupperware or reused containers holding packed food come to mind when I mention leftovers, we are halfway there. There is often a problem of having the leftovers not taste as good as they initially did when first served. For me, this was a constant problem with my leftover rice or pasta, and I did my best to make them taste marginally better. 

I will offer some tips and tricks to make your leftovers hopefully taste as good as they did when you first had them, if not better! If you have additional things that worked for you that you would like to share, I am learning just like everyone else and would love to hear them. 


  • If you wish to reheat the pasta in a Tupperware and it doesn’t have any sauce, adding a little bit of water to the bottom of the dish before reheating it can help get it back to the original texture. Alternatively adding some butter or margarine can add to the flavor.
  • Another method includes boiling some water which you add some salt to, adding the pasta and cooking until it regains the texture desired. If anything, this method makes me feel marginally fancier than simply reheating it in the microwave. 
  • While I have not tried it, my friend will never stop going on about reheating sauced pasta in an oven. Placing an aluminum foil-covered dish at around 350 degrees for 20 minutes can bring leftover pasta up to how it originally tasted. For this method I usually opt for a saucepan, adding seasoning if needed throughout the process. 


  • Add a little bit of water to the container and cover the rice in a damp paper towel. Reheat the rice in intervals of 30 seconds, taking time to fluff the rice in between. Continue this for about two minutes or until reaching the consistency you would like.
  • Leftover rice is what is usually recommended for making fried rice. I am sure that I will have a fried rice recipe up at some point in the summer, but if you need a nice meal to make after having some leftover rice, fried rice would always be recommended. 


While I always prefer eating my pizza cold over reheating it, I decided to delve into the various methods of preparing pizza leftovers. Placing the pizza in the oven at around 375 degrees on a foil-lined sheet is best for multiple slices at a time. It should give a bit of crispiness to the crust and melt the cheese. 

  • You can additionally use a skillet to reheat your pizza, turning it to medium heat and placing the pizza in. After it has been in there for about a minute, get some drops of water in there and cover the pan. After a few minutes, the moisture will return to the pizza and it will be almost like when you first ate it. 


  • Adding some garnishes like green onions, sesame seeds or some chopped herbs can help make the dish more than just normal leftovers. Green onions are relatively cheap and can add some good color to any dish, leftovers or otherwise. 
  • If you just have some pasta or rice, adding some sort of protein — whatever fits your budget or taste at the time — will help make the dish more exciting and round it out. Even adding some veggies will help make the dish healthier and a fuller meal.