Mashed potatoes are the side dish of the Gods. There are just so many ways that you can use them with your meals and they instantly power up any dinner.
For many people, mashed potatoes are just a quick way to add a side dish to meals. However, they can also be used as a topping and can replace some of the high carb, low fiber options. You see, potatoes are one of the best carbs to eat. They’re starchy, so they leave you feeling full quickly.
If you make mashed potatoes with milk and butter, you also get some calcium and healthy fats to your dinner. Here’s a look at the best ways they power up any dinner.
Mash Your Vegetables into Them
Many people complain that mashed potatoes don’t have much flavor. Well, it’s time to look at the quickest way to add flavor without any hassle at all. This method also offers extra nutrients and extra food without very many extra calories.
You can mash in some of your vegetables with your potatoes. This is popular with Swede, turnip, or carrot. However, you can mash in absolutely anything that you want. The best option is to find a root vegetable or two that will add to the flavor of the potatoes, whether you use milk or not to create a creamy mixture.
The potatoes and vegetables will need to be soft. It’s best to use a hand masher for them, but you can also put them in the blender to get rid of the chunky elements. Just watch out for the potatoes going too runny!
If you don’t fancy mashing up your vegetables, you can always chop them up and mix them in that way. This is great for onions, kale, spinach, and other vegetables that don’t tend to mash that well.
Throw in Some Herbs and Spices
Don’t forget about the herbs and spices that you have available. Paprika is becoming a popular option in many houses, and it is powerful for mashed potatoes. You just need a pinch to get the taste.
The downside with paprika is that your potatoes will turn a reddish color. The same applies if you add turmeric – you’ll get an orangey color to your potatoes. They can work well with sweet potatoes instead if you just want something a little different.
Garlic powder, onion powder, and chives are other popular options to add into your mashed potatoes. You can even add them all in to get a world of flavors that gel together.
Try out a few options. Mash your potatoes first and then start adding the spices. Dried is perfectly fine, but you can use fresh if you really want to. Fresh is good when you have chives or parsley, as you’ll get a stronger taste.
Make Them Creamier with the Right Liquid
You’ll need to use some liquid to prevent your potatoes from being too dry. Most people will use milk, but you don’t need to. There are other options, including Greek yogurt, cream cheese, and even olive oil.
Look out for the liquid ingredients that will add nutrients to your meal. Olive oil will put the healthy fats into your system to help keep your bad cholesterol levels down. Greek yogurt and cream cheese tend to have less fat with their dairy compared to milk. They can also create creamier substances with the potatoes.
Don’t forget that you can throw the herbs and spices in from above. You can also use various vegetables with the liquid ingredients to create aside dish that’s full of worldly goodness.
Work the liquids in that will go with your main dish. For example, Greek yogurt could be perfect for potatoes with a Mexican style, while truffle oil will work with Italian dishes and with fish.
Chop Up Bacon and Ham to Throw In
Who said that you could only add vegetables to your potatoes? While carrots and turnips are great for adding more nutrients, sometimes you want something full of protein. You want your favorite meats.
It’s time to chop up some bacon or ham and add that to your potatoes. Don’t forget to sauté the meat before you add it in because there isn’t a way to cook it afterward. You will also need to mash the potatoes first and then add the meat into the mix.
You can add the meat to mixed vegetables if you want, too. This could create an easily portable meal when you desperately need a tasty dinner on the go.
Use Your Potatoes as a Topping
You don’t just have to eat mashed potatoes on the side. The lightness of the potatoes makes it the perfect topping option for pies, stews, and other meals.
Many people will opt for a mashed potato topping because it’s healthier than pastry. While both are full of carbs, the potatoes are full of starchy carbs that will leave you feeling fuller for longer. You’ll be able to eat less without feeling like you’ve missed out on anything.
You also won’t need to use up as much potato as you would with pastry. There’s no need to faff around to cover up the whole main dish, and you don’t need to worry about the bottom of the pie. That’s left open, so you consume fewer calories than you would have done if you’d have had pastry instead.
Don’t forget to add some spices or herbs to your topping. This way you create a delicious topping that everyone will eat. Nobody will miss the pastry that you’ve avoided.
Create Potato Cakes for Your Main Dish
When you want something vegetarian, or you just prefer something new for dinner, it’s time to make up some potato cakes. You can make these up with fresh or leftover mash, making it an excellent way to avoid food going to waste.
Don’t forget to add plenty of vegetables to the mix for filling and nutritious potato cakes. Throw in the likes of chorizo, ham, black pudding and more to create something different every time you make potato cakes. Your family will always be excited and request this for their next meal.
You’ll need a little bit of flour to combine your potato cakes. There are some ingredients that you can sub out for the flour if you can’t have the gluten.
Add a bit of oil to the pan, and shallow fry them until they’re browned on each side. While potatoes would usually make a side dish, these make your main. So, you’ll need to add some vegetables, eggs, and other small items in to create a full dinner.
Replace Flour with Potato for Creamy Pancakes
Pancakes are a popular food to make up, but they tend to be bad for you. They’re full of flour and milk, which means fat and empty carbs. Is it not the best of mixtures, right?
Well, how about you get rid of the flour. You can use potatoes instead. Yes, this does mean you’re still adding carbs to the mix, but you’re not getting the wrong types of carbs. Normal all-purpose flour tends to break down in the body quickly. You don’t get any nutrition from it. Potatoes have the fibre-filled carbs, so you’re helping to regulate your digestive system while filling yourself up.
Don’t forget to add some crispy bacon and some eggs on the side. You can also add some fresh fruit to make sure you get every food group in one meal.
The potatoes work for all types of flour-based ingredients. You can also make waffles and even cakes with them. They’ll power up your dinner by powering up your dessert.
Thicken Up Your Gravy
You won’t need a lot of potato for this. In fact, if you use too much, you will end up with a clumpy and gooey mess. You want to add a small amount to the granules or to the stock to help add a creamy layer that is easily mixed in and dissolved.
The best way of making just the right potatoes is by blending them up with your liquid agent. Milk or butter will work better, but others have found success with some oils.
Really, you’re adding in something that is the same consistency as corn flour. Work in a little of the mashed potato at a time until you get the consistency of gravy or sauce that you would prefer.
Makeup Gnocchi with a Sauce
The Italians use up mashed potato in the best way. Rather than adding them as a side dish, they become the main meal through gnocchi. It’s like having potato pasta, which tends to be healthier since you get the starchy, fibre-filled carbs to keep you fuller for longer and regulate your blood sugar levels.
You’ll want to make sure you have smooth and creamy mashed potatoes for this. If there are any lumps at all, they will appear in your cooked gnocchi balls. Use some yogurt with the potatoes in a blender to get the best consistency.
It is possible to use up your leftover mashed potato for dinner. Reheat your potatoes so that you have a warm potato to work with. This just helps to create better-tasting gnocchi bites.
Finish off the dish with a sauce of your choice. Tomato-based sauces are popular for those watching their waistline. If you want something creamy to work with the potatoes, you can also opt for cheese or yogurt based sauce.
Use Potatoes in Your Soup
Again, you don’t just have to use potatoes on the side. Like with gravies, they can be used to thicken up your soup. This is when you’ll get away with adding larger spoonfuls since the idea isn’t to make the potatoes dissolve into the liquid.
The potatoes become an extra element to the soup. Yes, there is some similarity to a side dish with them, but they sit in the middle, almost like a mountain surrounded by water – in this case, soup.
Leak and Potato soups or other vegetable soups work better with the potato addition. They don’t add too much starch to a dish already filled with protein.
Make Your Own Croquettes
There are high chances that you’ve used potato croquettes as a side dish now and then. You’ll buy them premade from the store because they tend to be easier to make.
Well, it’s time to use up your leftover potatoes and power up any dinner with them. In fact, you can use them as the main dish in your dinner and use up all the rest of your roast dinner leftovers.
Smooth out the mashed potatoes on a piece of parchment paper and fill with your fillings. Try some finely chopped meats and mashed or finely chopped vegetables. Roll your mashed potato around the ingredients, as you would with a tortilla roll or pastry. Now you can fry them lightly to brown them all over.
There are so many filling options. Cream cheese and jamon are two others that are commonly used in homemade potato croquettes.
Make Up a Kofta
In the north of India, kofta has become a popular dinner. You don’t need to add any hot spices if you don’t want. It’s all about finding something unique to enjoy when you have time to cook.
Koftas are fried potatoes with fillings. It’s completely up to you what you put in the middle, but they tend to work better with plenty of nuts and cheeses. You can make vegan-friendly ones by using cheese substitutes instead.
Make your own nut sauces or use nut butter to finish off the dish.
How Will You Power Up Your Dinner with Mashed Potatoes?
Now it’s time for you to decide what you’ll do. There are just so many ways that you can use potatoes, whether you’re making them fresh or want a way to use up the leftovers.
Some of the options above you’ve likely had in the past. In fact, you probably mash up vegetables or use the potatoes as a pie topping on a regular basis. These are relatively easy, and you don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen getting them right.
The ones towards the bottom of the list are used less frequently. They take the time to get used to – it took me three dinner attempts to make gnocchi just right – but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to make the dishes in no time at all. And your family will love to try something unique.