Mashed Potato Makeover

What a wonderful weekend full of sunshine, family, friends and food! Thanksgiving truly was a great holiday celebration and the first official start of the season. After this traditional food feast in my family, it is a free for all to plan weekends up until New Year’s Day to get our fill of delicious food and loads of fun.
With the colourful leaves on the trees and the crisp morning air, October is such a beautiful month full of wonderful things. With all this buzzing around my head I did take a minute to ponder on the Thanksgiving meal I had just shared with my family. We were a total of 16 in the end, as a few couldn’t make it, and it was so much fun. I really do love cooking for large crowds and the best part of sharing time with all of them over the course of the dinner and dessert. I think that the most popular question of the day was “What are you going to do with the leftovers?” My response was “Not sure yet”.
I didn’t really have that many leftovers except for the large quantity of mashed potatoes. It’s just easy enough to peel a whole bag when you’re peeling don’t you think? Even easier when it’s your husband doing the peeling! None the less, mashed potatoes are a lovely leftover and I do plan on them as parts of other meals during the week. They are wonderful additions to soups, as fillings, pot pies or topping shepherds pie. There was some discussion about making some croquettes or potato pancakes but I had to make something most of the family would enjoy and cover us for another dinner. All was well because I had a night to sleep on it.
So Monday rolls around and now I have had my turkey fill and I know that those mashed potatoes are in the refrigerator waiting for me. Oh I could use them for hash browns for breakfast? Nope didn’t feel like that. So I thought about it some more and remembered I had some ground beef in the freezer, out it came to thaw in the fridge during the day while we had sneaked away to my mom and dad’s for a holiday ham lunch. Luckily no mashed potatoes!
So upon our return home I got to work-meatloaf! Not just any meatloaf but a potato topped meatloaf and it had to have sauce. Meatloaf is a big favourite at our house although I didn’t grow up myself eating it, I do enjoy it now and realize how easy it is to put together and have a delicious tasty meal.
In my kitchen, the true testing is when the kids taste things and if they like it or not. I was hoping for a hit with this dish. I didn’t want to make just a “loaf” but muffin shaped meatloaf is a popular menu item around here so that was how it began. But these were going to be jumbo size not just regular muffin size. I went on the hunt for the jumbo muffin pan-only 6 in the pan, perfect-we need 5!
I snatched the mashed potatoes from the fridge and used 2 cups (500 mL) for this recipe so I used up quite a big portion of the leftovers-there was still enough for another batch if needed. My mashed potatoes had been mashed with love by my husband with butter, milk and salt to taste to create a creamy pile of comfort. When mashed potatoes sit overnight in the refrigerator they do get a bit dry so I knew I would have to add a bit of liquid to them for the recipe.
I love these kinds of recipes, when I put something in the oven (the meatloaves) and then make a sauce on the stove. It makes for a comfort food meal that most crave and it’s easy to do.
They were easy to lift out of the pan and place on the plate and then I had spooned the sauce on the plate while others poured some over top of the meatloaf-everyone had a different way of plating food up. While my potatoes stayed atop my meat, others had fallen slightly while my son wiped off his to the side to have his “side dish” literally on the side of his plate. In the end it was a hit with 60% of my household, which is good for something somewhat new. But in the end let me just say I was glad I still had some leftover mashed potatoes to heat up and enjoy on their own as well, because sometimes simple is best and reheating a plate of leftover turkey and mashed potatoes does hit the spot after Thanksgiving dinner, when you’re 5 and under. Check out my website for some other leftover ideas for your turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. If you have already run out of them, remember there is always Christmas or just pick up a turkey anytime and roast it. Those leftovers are tasty even when it’s not a holiday meal.

Mashed Potato Topped Jumbo Meatloaves

Jumbo muffin pans have 6 cup in them. You can use a 12 cup muffin pan and get smaller meatloaves if you like.

Makes 6 servings.

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Half yellow pepper, diced
1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano leaves
½ tsp (2 mL) dried thyme leaves
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup (125 mL) beef broth
1/3 cup (75 mL) seasoned dry breadcrumbs
¼ cup (50 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch each salt and pepper
1 lb (500 g) lean ground beef
2 cups (500 mL) leftover mashed potatoes

Mushroom Sauce:
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
1 pkg (8 oz) button mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ tsp (2 mL) dried thyme leaves
Pinch each salt and pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) all purpose flour
½ cup (125 mL) each beef broth and 18 % table cream

In a bowl, mash together potatoes and ¼ cup (50 mL) of the broth; set aside.

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter and cook shallots, garlic, pepper, oregano and thyme for about 3 minutes or until softened. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine egg, remaining broth, breadcrumbs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add beef and shallot mixture and mix with your hands until well combined.

Divide mixture among 6 lightly sprayed jumbo muffin tins and press down slightly to flatten. Top each with about 1/3 cup (75 mL) of the mashed potatoes. Bake in centre of 375 F (190 C) oven for about 35 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches an internal temperature of 160 F (75 C) and is no longer pink inside.

Mushroom Sauce: Meanwhile, return skillet to medium high heat and melt butter. Cook mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Stir in flour and cook, for 1 minute. Pour in broth and cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve with meatloaves.


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