Holiday Leftovers

Every year around the holidays I try out new ways to utilize leftovers. Sometimes I get really fancy and sometimes I find small variations on classics such as soup or sandwiches. This year, my favorite leftover dish by far was this potato pancake. It’s super simple. All one has to do to make this dish is mix some bacon and diced gouda with mashed potatoes, coat with flour, and pan fry with oil. Top your pancake with a poached or fried egg because you can and that’s it! Leftover magic.

Let’s talk about mashed potatoes…

Everyone has their own distinct way of making mashed potatoes whether it is simply adding milk, butter, and salt (which is always good) or adding a variety of different dairy and fat. When I make mashed potatoes for a potluck or dinner party and I’m not trying to be health conscious, I like to add a variety of things. First, I make toasted garlic and strain out the garlic pieces which can be used on or in something else or as a garnish unless I know I’m making the potatoes for a bunch of garlic lovers. I like to add the garlic butter, cream cheese, sour cream, half and half, and salt to taste. It is important of course to be somewhat conservative in the total amount of these ingredients you add so that your potatoes do not end up too runny. You can always add more of whichever ingredient you like. Lastly, my hands down favorite way to “mash” the potatoes (Russetts in particular) is to put them through a ricer. Ricers are relatively inexpensive and come in a variety of forms. Essentially, they push whatever you are working with through small holes to create rice-like pieces. Once you have put your boiled potatoes through a ricer, it is just a matter of stirring the potatoes with the rest of the ingredients. At times, when I am working with a red or gold potato and I want skin and/or chunks in the end product, I will just bust out a good old-fashioned masher. The only thing I am not super fond of is using a automated blender or mixer to make “mashed” potatoes. I feel like they end up gummy. Let me know your favorite way to make mashed potatoes, I’d love to hear about it.

Giada’s Picatta

Almost every savory recipe I follow I think to myself, “I’m not going to include that” or “I’m going to add this” or “Next time, I would change this.” I’m sure a lot of you are the same and that’s part of the fun of cooking. However, I followed the chicken picatta recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis exactly and I would not have changed one thing. This recipe is awesome. It was perfectly acidic and pan-frying chicken in some olive oil and butter is one of my favorite ways to cook chicken breast quickly and flavorfully. I made mashed potatoes instead of pasta to go with the chicken for no particular reason other than I was feeling like eating mashed potatoes. It paired very well.

Click here to view Giada’s picatta recipe