What can you do with those leftover potatoes—besides simply reheating them?
If you’ve ever had leftover French fries, mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes, you probably realized that after being reheated, they lose something in terms of appeal. They often don’t reheat evenly or become dry and starchy.
But don’t toss them out—instead of wasting food or forcing yourself to eat a mediocre side, repurpose those leftovers into a new, delicious meal.
For instance, any potato, be it baked, fried, boiled, or mashed, can be made into an omelet, Spanish tortilla, frittata, or strata—all basically the same thing with a different name.
Butter or oil the inside of a casserole pan, then spread out your leftover mashed potatoes evenly in the pan. Or, if your leftover potatoes are baked or fried, chop them into small cubes and spread evenly in the pan. Mix in an amount of beaten eggs equal to that of the potatoes. Shredded cheese and chopped vegetables can also be added. Mix well and bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes.
Here are some more simple suggestions for using what leftovers you have.
Bake them again—and I’m not talking about simply re-baking them. Instead, turn them into twice-baked potatoes. Cut each baked potato in half, if not halved already. Scoop out the potato from the skin, put it in a mixing bowl, and mix it with your favorite cheese and a little bit of sour cream until it becomes mushy in consistency. Scoop the mixture back into the skin and place the potato halves in a toaster oven or under a broiler for about 10 minutes, or until slightly golden.
Another option is to scoop out the cooked insides and make them into a potato salad. For the leftover skins, fill them with shredded cheddar cheese, scallions, and bacon bits, and bake in a conventional oven for about 15 minutes at 275 degrees F for crispy loaded potato skins.
These can be transformed into a cream of potato soup. Place the leftovers in a pot, combine them with whole milk or heavy cream, and mix until it reaches the desired consistency. Mix in some finely chopped precooked bacon, ham, or pork belly and some scallions, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Mashed potatoes can also be transformed into gnocchi or potato pancakes.
Fries can be reheated, but they are tricky. If heated too thoroughly, they can become dry and too crunchy, and if not heated sufficiently, they become limp and take on a displeasing starchiness.
I’ve had a lot of success with reheating French fries in a cast iron pan on medium-high heat, but without adding any oil. Heat the fries for three to five minutes. They will start to expel the oil they were originally fried in, causing them to refry themselves. Stir or toss the fries occasionally for about 15 minutes and they should be near original quality.