Waste Not – Potatoes

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and if you’re family is like mine, you’re going to have a glut of leftovers come Black Friday.  No matter how well you plan ahead, that just seems to be the case!   When I was growing up, all the leftover dressing, gravy and turkey at my mamaw’s house got thrown into a big casserole with a few fresh ingredients and called “Company’s Coming Casserole”….which I loathed entirely but ate it because my mama and mamaw said so.  I think living through war-time rationing, the Depression and the 1970s inflation crisis lead women to be super frugal with leftovers even as they were more willing to spend large amounts of money on a feast.  Looking back, it was a bit paradoxical on their part, but that’s what makes the “good old days” so fascinating.

Now I don’t mind eating holiday leftovers, but they can’t look like leftovers, savvy?  My children seem to be of the same mind; they’ll eat leftovers as long as they don’t look like what they ate for dinner yesterday.  In my house, creativity is the name of the game when it comes to leftover food!  So in that spirit, let’s reinvent some of our Thanksgiving leftovers into something everyone will look forward to.  Ma Ingalls would absolutely approve!

Invariably, we have leftover potatoes sitting around on Black Friday, so I’d like to offer you an easy way to use them up, starting first with those mashed potatoes.   Tater cakes have long been a favorite of my kids and it’s a great way to use that last cup or two of mashed potatoes.  It’s difficult to give you an exact recipe for tater cakes because the amount of flour necessary will depend on the consistency of your leftovers.



Here’s roughly what you need for potato cakes:

2 cups of cold, leftover mashed potatoes

1 egg

1 c of flour

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1/4 c diced onion

salt and pepper to taste

1t chives

A sleeve of crushed club crackers, crushed potato chips, bread crumbs, almond flour or something along those lines—optional but delicious and highly recommended!

To make your tater cakes, combine the mashed potatoes, egg, cheese and herbs and begin to slowly incorporate the flour.  You’re adding enough flour to create a batter that looks and feels a bit like a  cookie dough.  It’s going to be very soft, but it’s more manageable than the plain mashed potatoes.  Place the crackers/chips/crumbs onto a plate and carefully spoon approximately 1/4 cup of the mashed potato mixture onto the crumbs.  Using your fingers, thoroughly cover the mixture with crumbs and then flatten gently into a patty.  It’s going to be soft, so very carefully transfer the patty to a med/high pan with olive oil and panfry until the egg in the patty begins to set up and the crumbs brown up.  Gently flip and fry the other side as well.  Carefully place the fried patty on a paper lined plate and keep warm.  As they cool, they’ll set up firmer and will taste amazing!  Use them as a side or a main dish.

Okay, now if you have leftover boiled/baked potatoes, I have a recipe that may be just a bit outside of your comfort zone, but try it nonetheless!  My Mamaw and Aunt Vicky ran a candy store out of her summer kitchen and potato candy was a perennial favorite!  I won’t lie to you, it’s cloyingly sweet but there’s actually a bit of nutrition hidden under all the sugar, so I don’t mind making it once or twice a year.  And once or twice a year is typically plenty to satisfy everyone!

Here’s what you need for potato candy:

1 small potato, baked or boiled, peeled and cooled completely

2T of milk

1t vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1-16oz bag of powdered confectioner’s sugar + extra for dusting

1/2-1 cup peanut butter

Using a mixer, mash potato, milk, salt and vanilla extract til smooth and runny, then slowly incorporate the bag (yes, it may take the entire bag, give or take!) of powdered sugar into the potato mixture until you have a sugar cookie-like dough.  It may take less powdered sugar depending on the size of your tater, so just work slowly, incorporating the sugar a cup or two at a time.  Sprinkle powdered sugar liberally onto a dough board, countertop or parchment paper, add the dough and roll into a large rectangle.  Spread the peanut butter thinly (1/8-1/4 thick) to cover and then carefully roll the dough jelly-roll style.  Wrap in foil or parchment paper and refrigerate until completely cold and then slice into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices.  A single 1/4 inch slice will generally satisfy the worst sweet tooth!

Next week, I’ll have a few more Waste Not ideas for your Thanksgiving leftovers, but I’m curious if you have any amazing leftover ideas to share with the class??


Posted to Simple Life Mom Homestead Blog Hop


  1. Our first Thanksgiving leftover is hot browns! I had never heard of hot browns before moving to southern Indiana, but Google that for a great story. You’ll need thick slices of bread (Texas toast or something like it), leftover turkey, sliced tomatoes, bacon, and cheese sauce. (Hubby’s mom uses cheddar cheese soup but I prefer to make my own like I would for mac & cheese.). Fry bacon lightly. . Toast the bread, then place on greased or w/ parchment paper cookie sheet. Top bread with turkey, tomato, bacon, and cheese sauce. Put under broiler until bread corners are golden and bacon is crisp. Remove and enjoy!

    1. Oh my word! It’s like a turkey hot shot married a BLT and had a hot brown for a baby lol! That sounds amazing and I’m seriously questioning my decision to live a low carb life right now!

Comments are closed.