Posts Tagged ‘leftovers’

Mashed potato latkes

November 30, 2013

Every year when Hanukkah comes around, I pick a night to make latkes and a brisket. And every year, I swear I will not only make latkes for Hanukkah.

Similarly, a lot of people go crazy about selecting, preparing and serving a turkey for Thanksgiving and never think about it again the rest of the year.

This year, with Thanksgiving falling on the first day of the Feast of Lights, I was concerned about when I might make my latkes. Even with a scaled back crowd attending dinner this year, I knew realistically we wouldn’t be done with the leftovers until at least half-way through Hanukkah.

The first night after Thanksgiving, we finished up the leftover ravioli and sauce and meatballs and sausage. On Saturday night, we set our sights on some turkey, the end of the dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes.


Why not repurpose those leftover mashed potatoes into latkes. I could still spoon some of the gravy over them. Or top them with cranberry sauce.  Of course a dollop of sour cream is always nice.

What a great idea! And so easy to do.  They turned out great! Crisp exterior with a fluffy interior. 

The convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah that occurred this year won’t happen again for 70,000 years.

Don’t wait that long to try this recipe. mplatkes

Mashed Potato Latkes

  •          Leftover mashed potatoes (approximately 2 cups) at room temperature
  •          1 large egg
  •          ½ to 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  •          Vegetable oil

In a large bowl, sprinkle about ¼ cup of the flour over the potatoes.  Add the egg and work into the flour and potatoes. Add just enough additional flour to form a cohesive dough that is just stiff enough to be workable. Don’t overdo it.

Pour oil into a 10 or 12 inch skillet (cast iron is perfect for this) to a depth of about ½ an inch. Heat the oil over a medium flame until it sizzles when a small piece of the dough is dropped into it. (About 7 minutes).

Grease a ¼ cup measuring cup with Pam or a similar spray oil. Fill with the dough mixture and drop into the hot oil. Flatten the dough slightly with a spoon. Do this three more times. Do not overcrowd the pan.  Cook until browned, four to five minutes, flip and cook for another four or five minutes.

Remove the latkes from the skillet and set on paper towel lined platter to drain. Cover to keep them warm. You may want to lightly salt and pepper them to taste. Repeat until you have used up the dough.  Serve warm with sour cream and applesauce (or the Thanksgiving leftovers).

Makes 8 – 10 potato pancakes.


Leftovers again?

February 9, 2010

From meatloaf and mashed potatoes into comforting Cottage Pie

Last weekend’s blizzard* had us cooking up a storm of our own.  We used the opportunity to work through and turnover the stores in the pantry and freezer.

On Saturday night, we had meatloaf and mashed potatoes and green beans (from a can…what can I say?!?!).  There was a decent amount of all three leftover.

Tonight, on the eve of the next storm, I decided to turn Saturday’s leftovers into a quick Cottage Pie. 

I set the leftovers on the counter and eyeballed the amounts of each.  Where I was pretty sure I could make the meat and beans comfortably fill an 8″ by 8″ baking dish, I wasn’t as confident that the mashed potatoes could be stretched far enough to adequately cover the filling.  Rummaging around in the cabinets, I found two individual sized covered casseroles that would work nicely.

Since the reheated meatloaf might be a little dry, I decided to add a little moisture to the mix.

I made up a cup of beef bouillon (we always keep a jars of bouillon base on hand…beef, chicken, and usually vegetable and lobster as well) and set it aside.

In a small pan, I sautéed about 1/3 of a cup of diced carrots in a tablespoon of olive oil.  After about six minutes, I sprinkled two teaspoons of all purpose flour over the carrots.  Reducing the flame to med low, I continued to stir as the flour coated the carrots, absorbed the oil and cooked just until it took on a little color.  Then I added about a 1/4 cup of the beef broth to the pot and whisked it in. Once it started to thicken, I turned the heat to low and let it simmer slowly.

Turning my attention to the meat, I crumbled the remaining meatloaf into a bowl.  Then I added the left over green beans and mixed it in.  Next, I removed the pan with the carrots and now thickened sauce from the stove and stirred the contents into the meat and beans mixture.  It looked like it could use just a little bit more moisture so I stirred in another two or three ounces of the beef broth…just until the mixture glistened.

The two individual casseroles, I sprayed with a little PAM , and then spooned the divided meat mixture into them.

I took the mashed potatoes and spread half of it over the meat mixture in each of the dishes. 

The casseroles were covered and placed on a baking sheet…just in case of any spillovers…and placed in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  At the end of that time, the covers were removed and the dishes placed under the broiler for about 5 minutes, just until the mashed potatoes started to brown a little bit.

Out they came…two individual cottage pies, made from leftovers in less than an hour.

*In the United States, the National Weather Service defines a blizzard as sustained winds or frequent gusts reaching or exceeding 35 mph (56 km/h) which lead to blowing snow and cause visibilities of ¼ mile (or 400 m) or less, lasting for at least 3 hours. Temperature is not taken into consideration when issuing a blizzard warning, but the nature of these storms is such that cold air is often present when the other criteria are met.[1] Temperatures are generally below 0 °C (32 °F).
I don’t believe that here in Trenton it technically ever reached blizzard status as defined by the National Weather Service, but it was a decent amount of snow accompanied by some strong winds.

Leftovers, Pt. 2: Mashed Potatoes = Gnocchi

November 29, 2009

It’s the Sunday night after Thanksgiving and we’ve done a decent job of working through the leftovers from the big feast.  We still had some meatballs, sausage and tomato sauce leftover from the ravioli we served.  And we had still has some mashed potatoes on hand as well.

Wanting to take a break from the turkey, dressing, cranberry rut I opted for a little culinary alchemy and turned the mashed potatoes into gnocchi. It was a good call and a delicious dinner.

Here’s what I did:

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (approximate)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of grated pecorino romano (optional)

Bring three quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.  Salt the water and turn down to a slow boil.

In a bowl, mix the beaten eggs with the mashed potatoes and the cheese if using. Add the flour in 1/2 cup increments and work in until you get a soft, but not sticky dough. (you may not use all two cups…tonight I only needed about 1 and 3/4 cups).

Pinch off a ball of dough a little larger than a golf ball and roll out on the counter until you have a “snake” about 3/4″ in diameter.  Using a table knife, cut the snake into dumplings 1″ long.  Take a fork and sit it on the counter with the end of the tines pointing up.  Place one of the dumplings in the bow of the fork.  Applying just enough downward pressure to create ridges on the underside and a depression on the top.  At the same time, flick your finger and roll the dumpling off the end of the fork. (This is the tricky part…but it’s easier than it sounds and you’ll get the hang of it by time you’ve worked through all of the dough).

When you’ve turned all the dough into gnocchi, add them to the pot of water.  Stir gently to prevent sticking.  When all the gnocchi float to the top, cook for another minute or two (you can pull one out and taste for doneness).  Remove from water with a spider or strainer and toss in a warm bowl with the sauce of your choice.

There aren’t many better ways to use up leftovers.

Leftovers, Pt. 1: What’s on your sandwich?

November 29, 2009

Six of us were having (a non-turkey) dinner Saturday night and discussing Thanksgiving leftovers.

All were pretty much in agreement that no matter how much was consumed at the T-day table, the day wasn’t complete until a turkey sandwich was constructed and consumed. But what constituted the perfect sandwich was another matter.

For me, the sandwich had to have both white and dark meat; on buttered bread that was then slathered with mayonnaise. My earliest memories are of the sandwich being constructed on two slices of the mainstream Wonder-type grocery store bread.  As I got older, I would look for something more substantial to build the sandwich on.  Rye if there was some in the house, or a couple of slices of italian bread left over from the ravioli portion of the meal.  Some years, torpedo rolls or (better yet) snowflake* rolls purchased in advance for this purpose were employed in the production of the postprandial sandwich. Now days, the sandwich is built with two slices of homemade, rustic bread.

No matter what breadstuffs were employed as bookends, the contents of my sandwich was always the same, turkey, butter, mayo.  I thought, in my youthful ignorance, that was the only acceptable recipe for a turkey sandwich made from Thanksgiving leftovers.

As noted in my post about cranberry sauce, I was in college when I was introduced to the basic turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce added.  Interesting…it adds a touch of sweet and sour to the classic combination.  But I wasn’t giving up my standard.

Some folks, I have come to find out, add a helping of leftover dressing to their sandwich, either with or without the cranberry sauce.  I have to admit, I haven’t tried this.  I love our traditional sausage and mushroom dressing and will heat up a helping to have on the side with my turkey sandwich. 

The idea of adding what is essentially a savory bread pudding to the contents of a sandwich seems, even to me, a bit of overkill.

Then again, Thanksgiving does celebrate bounty/encourage gluttony, so why not?

*For those not familiar, the snowflake roll is a soft dinner roll similar to the common hamburger bun but dusted generously with flour for the “snowflake” effect.  Delightfully messy and quite a tasty conveyance for all manner of hand meals (aka sandwiches).

Making ends meet

October 30, 2009

It’s been a hectic week. 

Sunday through Wednesday, I was off on a trip to Montauk, NY with the guys.  We ostensibly went to fish for striped bass and bluefish.  Truthfully, the conversation and camaraderie are the real attractions. 

And the food.

One of the hallmarks of this annual trip has been the outrageously wonderful things we do with the catch of the day.  I hope to get to posting some of those dishes soon.

Meanwhile, back at work yesterday and today, I have been playing some serious “catch-up” (not catsup as in Heinz) in the office.  Both days, I didn’t leave my desk until about two in the afternoon and only then because I had to run to make a deposit at the bank.

Today, I also ran home for a quick bite of lunch.  You see, I only live a few blocks from the office I work in and the company’s bank has a branch that completes a neat little three-block triangle.

I was trying to think of something available at home for a quick, satisfying bite as I left the bank.  In my mind I was running through the inventory of items

I knew were available to me at home when inspiration struck.

I had taken a couple of bacon ends to Montauk with me with the intent of dicing them up, frying them off and then tossing with some fresh, late season green beans for dinner one night.  As the successive waves of provisions were loaded into the fridge at the borrowed house, the bacon got lost in the shuffle, only to be found when we were packing everything up to return home. 

Also in the fridge was a piece of bleu cheese…two different kinds, actually.  A piece of gorgonzola and a piece of stilton; the former had been served with cocktails one evening and the latter with honey as dessert.  Somehow, I had inherited them both when we broke camp.

There was a rustic country loaf I had baked sitting, untouched on the counter.

Suddenly, I had a plan.

Upon entering the house, I made straight for the kitchen.  The cheese and the bacon were retrieved from the icebox.  A small frying pan was placed on the stove over a medium flame and in went the pork.

With the pork fat slowly rendering out of the bacon, I turned to the bread and cut off the heel far enough in to get then carve off two sandwich size slices. (I confess I ate the heel with a hunk of the bleu cheese).

After turning the bacon over in the pan, I cut two very thin portions of the cheese and laid one each on the slices of bread.

At this point, the aroma of the sizzling bacon roused the dogs from their afternoon nap.  Kirby had gone out into the backyard to patrol for squirrels, but Jackson stayed in the kitchen to supervise me.  His diligence rewarded with a taste of the cheese.

When the bacon ends were fully cooked, I removed them to a cutting board and broke them down into bite-sized pieces.  Placing the bacon on top of the cheese on one piece of bread, I inverted the remaining cheese adorned slice on top and pressed down!

bacon bleu

Sandwich of bacon and bleu cheese

Voila!  Bacon and bleu cheese sandwich.

(Just don’t tell my physician, ok?)