Is it safe to reheat a microwave dinner?

My mom heated a Lean Cuisine dinner in the microwave. I called & brought her a grilled chicken sandwich. She put the Lean Cuisine dinner in the fridge. I assume she let the dinner fully cook first.

She reheated it the next day. Today, she’s got bad diarrhea.

These dinners are just food? Is there any reason they can’t be cooked and put in the fridge for later?

I’d expect they taste better if you don’t reheat. But otherwise is this safe?

Depends on how long it was standing out before she put it in the fridge, as well as how long it stayed at bacteria-friendly temperature while cooling from the temperature it left the microwave at, until it got to fridge temperature. Whether or not food goes bad depends on how much time bacteria have had to grow, and the temperature at which the food is held.

It would surprise me, however, if that were the case with a microwave dinner. It shouldn’t be different from any other cooked food saved as leftovers in the fridge and then reheated later.

I thought the same thing. Food is food. It should be fine in the fridge.

I know you aren’t supposed to thaw a microwave dinner and then cook it. AFAIK my mom did zap it first before putting in the fridge.

The issue there, as I understand it, isn’t so much about food safety* as it is that the cooking instructions are based on the assumption that the dinner is starting at frozen, not at refrigerator temperature or room temperature; if one were to cook a thawed-out microwave dinner according to the instructions, it’d wind up overcooked.

    • though, if one were foolish enough to let it “thaw” for long enough that bacteria could start working at it, then, yes, it’s a food safety issue, too.

If anything, I’d expect a leftover TV dinner to be less likely to be dangerous than leftover fresh food, because most of those things are full of salt and other preservatives.

For that matter, how often does your mom eat TV dinners? High salt content in itself can cause diarrhea in folks not used to it.

My mom eats a lot of lean cuisine and healthy choice dinners. She has for the past few years. She’s gotten too old to stand for very long and cook. Then there’s the cleanup afterwards.

I bring her meals when I can.

I know it’s hard to know for sure which meal is the culprit for a GI problem.

Reheating a microwave dinner is a bit unusual. I can’t recall ever doing it before. I’d probably toss it in the trash if we decided to eat something else.