~by Texas Homesteader ~
Several weeks ago I found myself with an abundance of potatoes and realized there was no way RancherMan & I could eat them all before they went bad.
So I went into high-gear preservation mode & dehydrated many of them. And some of them went into the freezer.
But I’ve found RancherMan’s absolute FAVORITE way to eat leftover mashed potatoes – POTATO CAKES!
Freezing Excess Fresh Potatoes
Most of the potatoes were cooked and frozen for future meals. When I freeze potatoes I cook and mash them but add nothing else. No salt, pepper, milk or butter – just cooked mashed potatoes.
I typically section them in sandwich bags into serving-sized portions & freeze them into individual bricks.
To use them I’ll pull a brick of frozen mashed potatoes out of the freezer the night before and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. (The thawed mashed potatoes usually release quite a bit of water. That potato water is not wasted but usually added to my weekly endless soup pot.)
The now-thawed and drained mashed potatoes are often enjoyed for supper that night by simply heating them and adding salt & pepper, a small pat of butter and maybe a light splash of milk.
Neither RancherMan nor I can tell a difference in these potatoes and the potatoes I’ve cooked fresh & mashed. So it’s a great way to reduce food waste if you’re not going to be able to go through that whole bag of potatoes before they go bad.
Using Leftover Mashed Potatoes
Now we don’t often eat fried foods but I view it as I view anything else in our healthy diet – moderation in all things. So occasionally I’ll make RancherMan a batch of potato cakes – or some folks call them potato pancakes. They’re super easy to whip up.
I pull out those leftover cold mashed potatoes and if they were previously frozen I’ll thaw & drain the water from them. Then into a bowl the potatoes go.
I’ll add an egg and some minced veggies like onion or garlic or maybe bell pepper. It all depends on what I have on hand needing to be used. But I always mince them up small since diced veggies wouldn’t really have time to cook in these potato cakes.
Then I’ll add salt & pepper and enough fine bread crumbs to make the mixture thick enough for me to roll into small 1.5″ – 2″ balls.
I like to have another saucer of breadcrumbs set aside to coat the potato cakes one final time before frying them.
Cooking The Potato Cakes
Here’s how I cook them: I take out my cast-iron skillet and add enough Bacon Grease to cover the bottom, about the same quantity of oil as if I were making french fries I suppose. Then I turn the stove to medium heat.
When the oil is hot I take a potato ball and roll it in my reserved bread crumbs, pressing it gently into a thick patty & being sure to coat all sides. This is an optional step but I like the crust it adds to my potato cakes.
Then I take that patty and drop it into the hot grease. I continue to make up the remaining potato cakes in the same manner.
After a short time I gently flip the potato cakes to brown the other side. Then I serve ’em up as a side dish with our supper.
They’re crispy on the outside and soft and savory on the inside. We LOVE them.
Since potato cakes are made from leftover mashed potatoes it’s a very inexpensive way to remake a leftover item into something new & delicious. Planned Leftovers, y’all!
As I mentioned earlier it’s so easy to change ’em up each time to either use what you already have or to flavor them to go with your meal.
Sometimes I add shredded cheese or chopped chives to the mixture. And sometimes I season them with Italian or Mexican spices to go with our main-dish theme. And I’ve been known to make white gravy & ladle over them too. It’s very flexible and a very forgiving recipe.
Keep in mind that the potatoes need to be cold to make them easier to handle. And the potato cakes are slightly fragile going into the skillet.
I sidestep that by doing a final roll in breadcrumbs to coat the outside, as well as making sure the oil is already hot before placing the potato cakes in the skillet. That helps to crisp the crust on the outside quickly and eases the flipping too.
Making potato cakes from leftover mashed potatoes is such an easy way to make my handsome RancherMan happy at suppertime.
You know I simply CAN’T follow a recipe and am guilty of amending it each & every time I make it. And you don’t have to either.
Add whatever seasonings your family likes and mince a few fresh veggies to mix in & add flavor too if you want!
But here’s the base recipe I start with:
Use cold leftover mashed potatoes and remake them into potato cakes. Soft and creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside. A delicious way to eliminate leftover food waste. #TexasHomesteader
- Cold Leftover Mashed Potatoes (about 2 cups)
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs or more if needed to make a thick potato mixture
- Minced Onion, Bell Pepper, and/or Garlic To Taste, (optional)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Additional Breadcrumbs for Coating
Into cold leftover mashed potatoes mix one egg and some minced onion, bell pepper and/or garlic into potatoes. Season with salt & pepper and then mix in enough breadcrumbs to make the mixture thick enough to roll into approximately 1.5" - 2" balls. Set aside about another 1/4 cup breadcrumbs if desired for coating.
Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of your skillet and heat at medium until hot. Take each ball of potato and roll in reserved breadcrumbs to coat, mashing ball into a thick patty and place patty into hot oil. Cook about 3-4 minutes each side or until brown. Serve hot.
New Meals Remade With Leftovers
- Planned Leftovers: Easy Slow-Cooker Pork Roast
- How To Quickly Shred Leftover Roast
- Fast Food: Remaking Leftover Steak & Veggies
- Leftover Mashed Potatoes Into Potato Cakes
- Leftover Biscuit Dough? Make Cinnamon Rolls!
- Hearty Stew – Quickest Planned Leftover Meal Of All
- Pulled Pork Enchiladas From Leftover Roast
- Planned Leftovers: Carnitas Tacos From Pork Roast
- Leftover Meatloaf Made Into Quesadillas
- Leftover Chicken & Zucchini Noodles with Herb Bombs
- Chicken Tortilla Soup From Leftovers
- Homemade Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy
- Chicken & Dumplings Using Leftover Chicken
- Leftover Chicken Into Quick Chicken Fried Rice
- Using It ALL – The Art Of Eliminating Leftover Food
- Leftover Navy Beans Into Delicious HUMMUS!
- Leftover Turkey & Dressing Into Patties
- Homemade Meals Every Day – The EASY Way!
…and MUCH MORE!
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