{recipe} 5 recipe ideas for what to do with leftover mashed potatoes

For newer readers, on Tuesdays I used to do a “Garbage Day” post. I’d post new and creative ways to use food items so that they don’t get wasted. Wasted food=wasted money.  This was originally posted in May of 2011, but I getting it out and dusting it off, in case anyone else this week has a ton of leftover mashed potatoes.


twice baked, loaded mashed potatoes
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A easy way to make a second side dish or small meal from leftover mashed potatoes.
Recipe type: American
Cuisine: easy, repurposing
Serves: varies

  • Leftover mashed potatoes
  • milk
  • shredded cheddar
  • bacon bits
  • chives
  • sour cream
  • small, individual serving sized crocks

  1. I spray the crocks with non-stick spray and preheat over to 350.
  2. In a bowl, I remash the potatoes, adding sour cream, butter, cheese and whatever else I want.
  3. Top with cheddar and bacon bits.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20-40 minutes, depending on size of crocks. Everything is already cooked, so you’re just reheating.

First, here’s a crazy idea that I don’t think is so crazy-mashed potato candy (recipe below). Seriously, my Nan used to make this all the time and I loved it. The one catch-the mashed potatoes need to be made with peeled mashed potatoes, and only butter & milk. If you leave the skins on, or add garlic or anything else, then the leftovers can’t be used for this. But it is good, I swear.

I could eat this once or twice a week, I swear!

Second, there are lots of other dishes of the shepherd’s pie nature that you can make. In fact, in the winter months when I’m in “comfort food cooking” mode, I often make extra mashed potatoes with the intent of having a shepherd’s pie dish later in the week. And remember, you can use any meat, or no meat at all, for shepherd’s pie.

Another idea-mashed potato omelettes. Yep. Had them for the first time at a Cheesecake Factory, many years ago. Add a bit of green onion, and yum! You can also add some mustard powder, horseradish, whatever suits you.

Mashed potato pinwheel candy
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This is how my Nan used to make mashed potato candy.
Serves: lots!

  • Leftover mashed potatoes–only if made with butter, salt and pepper with skins off. Won’t work with leftover garlic mashed potatoes and so on.
  • Powdered sugar
  • peanut butter
  • I’m going to try Nutella!

  1. In a bowl, warm up the mashed potatoes so that they are easier to work with. Don’t have to be hot, just not right out of refrigerator.
  2. Mix in powdered sugar until it makes a dough you can work with.
  3. It takes a LOT of powdered sugar.
  4. Once you have a good consistency, chill it so you can work with it.
  5. Roll it out.
  6. Spread peanut butter (or Nutella!) on top.
  7. Roll up and slice.
  8. You may have to go back and refrigerate more, if you can’t work with it. If it’s warm or room temperature, it will be sticky.


There’s also mashed potato pancakes. You can do an internet search for various recipes–I tend to wing it by adding some egg, Bisquick, milk–and onion or garlic powder if these are going to be a side dish for dinner.

Remember, throwing out food is just throwing out money in a different form. Eliminate your waste to save money!

To recap, here are the ideas:

  • Mashed Potato Candy
  • Twice Baked Loaded Mashed Potatoes
  • Mashed Potato Omelette
  • Mashed Potato Pancakes
  • Shepherd’s Pie (maybe make it with turkey!)




2 Meals in 1: Chicken and Potatoes

You will need to add to this meal to make it two in one but it is still so much nicer to have a meal that’s already partially done for you.

Day 1:

Baked chicken
Mashed potatoes
Favorite vegetable

Make 2 extra pieces of chicken, a few extra potatoes, and double the veggie!

After dinner, cut or tear up the chicken and put it in the crockpot.
Throw the mashed potatoes in.
Throw the vegetable in or chop it a little smaller.

If you want the meal ready to go, add -

Chop 1 medium – large onion
Dice 3 cloves garlic
Throw in some fresh or frozen veggies – peas, corn, carrots, celery, beans, green beans, etc.
Add 6 cups water and any seasonings you like.
Stick in the refrigerator overnight or cook overnight on low to reheat tomorrow evening.

Day 2:

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Either cook in the crockpot on low all day or cook through the night and refrigerate for the day.

Serve with a loaf of Italian bread, cornbread, or rolls.


Re-Purposing Food: 2 Meals into 3

Last week with Hurricane Sandy quickly approaching, I decided I would bake and cook in preparation. If for some reason we lost power I wanted food in the house. Obviously I couldn’t make anything that would have to be heated up so I made some pasta to toss with cheese, pepperoni, and balsamic dressing. I also pre-cooked brown rice. At the worst we could have a cold rice salad, tossed with fresh vegetables. We didn’t have a power outage. That is so okay with me. It just means my prep has made my week so much easier.

Over the weekend I had made Broccoli Smoked Cheddar Soup. Use your favorite recipe. There is nothing so special about my recipe or lack there of that will make this not work for you.  Monday we decided to make a hot lunch in case we lost power that afternoon. We baked chicken breast, used some of the pre-cooked rice, and smothered it in mushroom soup. There you have it, two meals.

Last night was a “ugh, what am I making for dinner? I don’t want to cook” kind of night. I went to the fridge to see what was there.

1 chicken breast with approximately 1/2 cup mushroom soup

4-5 cups rice

2 (ish) cups broccoli soup

Mixed them together and heated them through in a 375 degree oven.

chicken and rice

My leftovers are gone but instead of having to make 3 meals from scratch I was able to utilize leftovers to make a stressful day end a bit easier.  This 3 day combo is DEFINITELY going on my meal plan and I am off to see what other meals I can do this with.  This way I can Make meals Monday and Tuesday and have an easy “throw together” on Wednesdays when I work outside the home.

What leftovers would you combine to create a new dish? Feel free to share.



Garbage Day~Reusing & repurposing common household items

Welcome to our Tuesday Garbage Day feature. I haven’t done this in a while. Every Tuesday is my garbage day, so every Tuesday I try to really evaluate what we are throwing in the trash and try to eliminate waste. Whether it’s perfectly good food that just spoiled before we ate it, or perfectly good toys or clothing….throwing out items is like throwing out money, and none of us wants to do that, right? Normally I talk about eating garbage (just kidding) and today it’s about letting my kids play with garbage (again, just kidding, mostly).

My little guy with his tackle box in his “trunk” all ready to go fishing.

Today’s item is a little unusual and at the same time, very ordinary. The other day I posted a deal on Rapala Lures that my husband found. Of course he ordered some and they arrived over the weekend. He sat down with our guys and their tackle boxes and began opening the new lures and re-evaluating the older lures. Several of them had rusty hooks and other faults that meant they could no longer be used. Of course we could just throw them in the trash, right?

No! Instead, my husband got out a pair of wire cutters and cut the hooks off of them, just leaving the body part of the lure. They are now in the boys’ tackle box, and they think they have real lures, just like Daddy!

That got me to thinking….what other typical household items do we just throw out or throw in the recycling bin, when they could possibly be used by kids?

Food & Grocery items: Clean up the packages still in good conditions, and let the kids play house/kitchen/store with them. A “real” cereal box is better than a play one any day.

Shampoo & dish soap bottles: Clean them out and these will make great squirt bottles for the pool or beach.

Tea & china sets: I had a few random tea cups made from real bone china. Yes, they are breakable and yes they have to be used under adult supervision, but these make for a very special tea party for my niece. Much better than the plastic stuff.

Plastic scoops that come with either powdered drink mixes or laundry detergent: We use these for playing in the sand.


Next time you’re throwing an ordinary item away….stop and think? Does it have any other possible uses for your kids for play/pretend? It just might! And what I like, the boys feel like they’ve gotten a new toy and I haven’t spent any money.