I know the following statement sounds terribly naive, but even in my almost thirty something years of life, I still sometimes feel so ‘at aw’ that the weather in one part of the country, state, or even city can be one way and in another part be 100 times different.
Like if I jump in my car and drive just twenty minutes or two hours can see totally different weather phenomenons. Or hop on an airplane and fly that same amount of time and reach a climate 30 degrees different. (Except in the summer, when everywhere you go is just plan hot!)
So yesterday I felt terribly guilty that here in Texas we are having the most beautiful, absolutely gorgeous fall weather (seriously I was running around as giddy as can be); because up until this past weekend, we have been in like the 80’s while the rest of the world was embracing glorious fall like weather!
But I felt guilty, because while I was as happy as can be because we finally felt like fall, horrible hurricane Sandy was wreaking havoc on the northeast. And I hope with the greatest of hope, that everyone up there is safe and that recovery and rebuilding is as quick as possible. (Growing up near the Texas gulf coast, I know how scary those storms can be.) I will be keeping you all in my thoughts.
For today’s recipe, I am sharing my first recipe to revamp those Thanksgiving leftovers! Smashed taters are a super popular Thanksgiving side dish (check out yesterday’s recipe for a new version); but if you are like us, you always make WAY more than you need. Not only that, sometimes after a day or two in the fridge those smashed taters can get dried out and then no one wants them.
But don’t throw those taters out! Make tater tots instead!
If you have leftover mashed potatoes just lying around, homemade tater tots are so easy, not to mention to die for!
The recipe below is for homemade tater tots, but two ways. The traditional frying them in hot oil until crispy and golden version; and a lighter version, baking them until hot and lightly golden (in case you have after.Thanksgiving.I.ate.too.much.guilt.).
Of course the deep fried tater tots tasted just like the tater tots you get at the local drive in, only like better because they are homemade. But the baked ones totally worked out too (which made me so happy), they just weren’t *as* crispy as the fried ones and lacked that lovely greasy flavor and texture. : )
So if you want to enjoy tater tots guilt free, go for the baked version. And well, if eating tater tots doesn’t make you feel guilty at all, go for the gold, err fried version!
Homemade Tater Tots – Two Ways
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 15-20 minutes Makes: approximately 40 tater tots
3 cups leftover cold mashed potatoes
1/2 cup flour
1 ¼ cups panko bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper
Vegetable oil (as needed)
In a large bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, eggs and flour. Stir to combine.
In a separate bowl combine panko bread crumbs, salt and black pepper.
Shape approximately one tablespoon of the potato mixture into a tater tot shape. Roll tater tot in the panko bread crumbs. Place on a baking sheet or plate. Continue with the remainder of the potatoes.
To deep fry:
Heat about one to two inches of oil in a heavy duty skillet over medium-high heat (If you have a thermometer, you want the oil at about 350 degrees F.). Test the oil by dropping one tater tot in the oil. The oil is ready if the tater tot begins to ‘sizzle’ and create bubbles in the oil.
Cook tater tot for about 2-3 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown. Adjust temperature as needed, if tater tots begin cooking too fast or become too dark in color. Remove cooked tater tot from the oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Serve immediately.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray foil with cooking spray.
Arrange prepared tater tots on prepared baking sheet, making sure not to over crowd the baking sheet. Spray tops of tater tots with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Taste and Tell