I'm on the record as saying Thanksgiving leftover recipes are a bit silly. Most Thanksgiving leftovers are perfectly good reheated. I don't need too many ways to eat leftover stuffing, for instance; straight out of the dish is generally quite good enough (although pan-frying as a reheating method is pretty sublime).
But there are a few opportunities to not just use up leftovers, but to make something wholly new and delicious out of them. Mashed potatoes often aren't as good reheated as they were fresh, and as I had a mound of them left over, here's what I made: Crispy, creamy, cheesy mashed potato puffs.
These are a quick-as-a-snap breakfast side dish or appetizer. People love them — they are bite-sized and yummy, warm and creamy inside and crispy on the outside. I mean, it doesn't get any better than that!
I have used a Lift-and-Serve pan with 12 little rectangles in it, and I've used mini muffin pans. You could also use regular muffin pans, but the baking time should be increased by about 10 minutes in that case.
Mashed Potato Puffs
12 to 24 puffs, depending the size of the pan used
2 cups mashed potatoes
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup grated cheese such as Parmesan or Gruyere, divided
1/4 cup minced chives
1/4 cup diced cooked bacon or ham, optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Sour cream, to serve
Heat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease the cups of a mini-muffin tin.
Whisk together the mashed potatoes, the eggs, 3/4 cup of cheese, the chives, and ham. Season, if necessary, with salt and pepper. The seasoning will depend on how seasoned your mashed potatoes were to begin with.
Mound a spoonful of the mixture in each muffin cup. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potato cups are set, browned on top, and hot through. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a spoon or knife to gently release them from the pan. Serve immediately with dollops of sour cream, if desired.
You can bake these and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To reheat and re-crisp: arrange the puffs on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes (depending on size).
I assume these also freeze well, but I haven't experimented with this yet myself. If I froze them, I would thaw overnight in the refrigerator then follow the reheating instructions above.
More Flavoring Ideas for Mashed Potato Puffs
Loaded Baked Potato: Cheddar cheese, cooked bacon, chopped green onions, served with sour cream and chives
Curried Potato Puffs: 1 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste), chopped red onion, chopped jalapeño pepper, served with yogurt and cucumber.