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Old 05-06-2006, 09:55 AM   #1
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How long can I reheat my cooked sauce?

I'm having a birthday party for my mom tomorrow and have alot of cooking to do. I am making stuffed shells, so I thought I would make the sauce and stuff the shells today. I have never done it ahead of time and I don't know how long I would have to reheat the sauce.

I cook my meatballs and sausage in the sauce for hours and hours. I plan on making the sauce today, stuff and assemble the shells in the pans, and then put the pot of sauce (we call it gravy) with meat in the fridge. Tomorrow I want to put it on the stove to reheat.

Question: How long can I keep it on the stove - does it have to be a quick reheat or can I put in on low for a couple of hours?

Thanks for any input.

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Old 05-06-2006, 10:21 AM   #2
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MicheleMarie,
when I re-heat our gravy for ravioli or even pasta, I put it on about noon and get it slowly hot, then just keep it warm til I dress the rav's or pasta, we usually eat about 6. It never hurts it and to me improves the flavor. For us a long cook seems to make the gravy sweeter...Plus, if you have to heat the shells, a hot gravy will get things going. Hope your party is wonderful

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Old 05-06-2006, 10:29 AM   #3
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Yum, sounds great! Everything Kadesma said, plus you might want to put a diffuser under the pot, so it doesn't burn on the bottom.
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Old 05-06-2006, 11:00 AM   #4
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What is a diffuser? I don't think I ever heard of this. So I can cook the gravy for 5-6 hours today and then another 4-6 tomorrow? Wow, thats the way to go!

I am getting the gravy ready now and had another thought - could I assemble everything today - including the raw meat - and let it cook tomorrow? Don't know about the raw meat in the gravy for that long without cooking it - what are your thoughts?
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Old 05-06-2006, 01:23 PM   #5
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I usually brown the meat before adding it to the sauce to cook. If you have the time, cook the sauce today a just reheat it when you need it. A too long cooking time can thicken the sauce too much.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:02 PM   #6
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I brown my meat prior to adding to the sauce. I dont think you should leave raw meat in the saw overnight. Enjoy your party!
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:22 PM   #7
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I have to agree (thanks for calling it gravy).

Always brown the meat before putting it in the pot (often do so in the oven).

Would probably not leave raw meat, particularly the meatballs, in the sauce overnight.

We make the sauce (yes, gravy) the day before and then reheat. Always think the gravy tastes better the next day anyway.

We rarely have a free burner to let the stuff sit for hours on the day of the party.

We just warm it up prior to service.

Have a great party.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:31 PM   #8
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A slow cooker might work. Although, I've never used it for reheating. Think it would be safe if you don't put hot or cold liquids/etc in there. Maybe let the cooked sauce come to room temp first.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:51 PM   #9
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I've got to go along with the "I've made gallons of gravy" and never left raw meat sitting in it overnight - or added raw meat the next day. That kind of defeats the purpose of the long slow cooking and refrigerating overnight ... letting the flavors "meld".

I brown my meats first (remove and reserve - and pour off most of the fat) - then brown my onions, carrots, garlic, etc. - then add the wine, tomatoes, sugar, and add the meats back into the pot. These get simmered for 6-8 hours ... cooled for a couple of hours before going in the cooler overnight ... and then gently heated up the next day or whenever needed - but it doesn't need more than just reheating. Generally - "meats" means 2-3 pounds lean hambuger, 2 pounds bulk (1-lb each hot and sweet) Italian sausage, 2-3 pound Pork shoulder roast (or chops or country style ribs), a 3-4 pound beef chuck roast, and 2-4 pounds of hot and sweet Italian sausages. Yep - made a BIG pot - and we ate it almost all week.

As for stuffed shells ... I use the big shells ... boil and shock them .. stuff with a 3-cheese and spinach mixture usually (but sometimes with some meat or shrimp). Put a little gravy in the pan - put the shells in - cover with gravy and cheese - cover the dish with plastic wrap (the acid in the gravy will eat holes in aluminum foil) - refer overnight - then bake at about 350-F for 30-45 minutes the next day - if you want a cheese topping add it the last 15 minutes.

If you want to cook a BIG pot of gravy one day and heat it up the next ... the problem is going to be that you need to do it slowly in a pot with a thick bottom. You'll just have to stir it frequently as it warms up ... and possibly add a little water to it to maintain it's consistency.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
...cover the dish with plastic wrap (the acid in the gravy will eat holes in aluminum foil)...
MFW:

I've had this happen as well. This happens when you put aluminum foil on a container made from another metal (eg SS) and the container holds acidic ingredients. The combination of the two different metals in the presence of the acid creates the environment that eats those little holes in the foil. Foil on aluminum or glass or plastic will not be a problem with an acidic sauce.

I don't remember the technical explanation for th is phenomenon, I believe there's some kind of battery/electrical current created.
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Old 05-06-2006, 05:08 PM   #11
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Wow! Thanks for all the help! I decided to mix all ingredients for gravy in the pot and set it in the fridge til morning. I made my meatballs and kept them separate as well as the sausage. Tomorrow morning I will add the meat to the gravy and cook slow for a long time. As for the shells, I did pretty much what Michael in FtW (I love all his advice!) said - I mixed my stuffing, cooked the shells, shocked and then stuffed. Tomorrow I will add the gravy and bake then add the cheese on top. I will be up early tomorrow to get the gravy started and all the rest of the food made (stuff that couldn't be done today). I know my mom will be very surprised and have a great day. Thanks everyone, for your help!

Oh, very interesting about the foil on the gravy - I never heard that before.
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Old 05-06-2006, 06:24 PM   #12
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If it were me, I'd reheat the gravy in the microwave. That way you don't have to worry about scorching the bottom. If your nuke has a lower setting, use that if you wish.
I just set the timer for about 8 minutes on high. When the timer goes off, I give it a stir and reset it. If you are busy doing something else, it won't hurt for the sauce to set a bit before you reset. Just keep doing that every once in a while, and your sauce will be slow cooked without the mess. You can do this for as long as you wish, but your sauce will be ready in an hour or so, and be very good!

By the way, I use a large pasta bowl to reheat the sauce, and cover it loosely with a piece of waxed paper to keep it from popping and making a mess in the nuke.

Your meal sounds lovely! If you have any leftover, you can send some my way!
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Old 05-06-2006, 08:05 PM   #13
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Constance, you are so sweet! You are always invited to my house! Should be lots of fun -looking forward to it.
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Old 05-08-2006, 04:03 PM   #14
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The food turned out great - thanks for you help! I mixed all ingredients in the pot for the gravy on Saturday and kept in the fridge. I made the meatballs and kept them seperate as well as the sausage. I cooked and stuffed the shells and put the trays in the fridge. Sunday morning I put the gravy on the stove and added the meat. Late that afternoon I spooned the sauce over the shells, cooked, topped with mozzarella and there you go. I guess everything was really good because I ended up with hardly any leftovers - just enough for tonight but I was hoping for enough to freeze for another day. I guess that is a good thing. Thanks everybody!
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Old 05-08-2006, 04:29 PM   #15
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That's a compliment to your cooking, Michele. How many did you feed?
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Old 05-08-2006, 04:36 PM   #16
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Why don't you just put the sauce over the shells and bake it all for an hour.
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Old 05-08-2006, 05:46 PM   #17
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Contance, I fed 15 people. I got the thumbs up from my cousin's husband, who moved here from Italy 8 years ago. It was quite tasty - lots of appetizers, wines, cheeses, and desserts, too.

Gretchen, I poured the sauce on the shells then cooked for about 1/2 hour - 15 minutes and then added mozzarella for another, hmm, 20 minutes. I stuffed the shells the day before - before the sauce was cooked. They held up fine in the fridge. Nice time saver.
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