5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes
I have been making my own mashed potatoes from scratch since I learned how to boil water. Like most people, I can tell the difference between authentic mashed potatoes, made from fresh spuds, and the dehydrated “flakes” that come in a box. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use them, however. After being gifted a large supply of the instant stuff, I went in search of acceptable ways to use them. The results were surprisingly delicious!
Soup Thickener or Gravy
Formally a fan of flour or corn starch, I have started trying a dab of instant potato in my thicker cream soups and white gravies. My favorite use is, not surprisingly, potato soup. You can also make a mean corn chowder or white chili with just the right thickness that only instant potatoes can provide. Experiment with different amounts to get just the right effect.
This small Italian delicacy literally means “lump.” This is perfect, since it is usually made with potatoes. Several reputable gnocchi fans have reported substituting the potatoes with their dehydrated cousins. Use the recipe below, and serve with your favorite red sauce.
1 cup instant mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
8 teaspoons butter, clarified
1 cup romano cheese, grated
3 cups flour
Prepare instant potatoes as directed on package.
Combine potato with eggs and salt and whip until fluffy.
Add ricotta cheese, butter, Romano cheese and flour.
Knead until smooth.
Shape into 1/2" rolls and cut into 1" lengths.
Make impression with thumb in each piece, then lightly dust with flour.
Drop into boiling salted water and cook only until they rise to the surface.
Drain and serve!
(Note: Before cooking, gnocchi may be flash frozen on a cookie sheet, then placed in plastic bag in freezer.)
Delicious and full of carbs, a good potato bread is priceless. Make it yourself and be the envy of all your friends. It’s not too difficult, and you can throw in some of those instant potatoes for good measure. Try this recipe if it’s your first time.
Meatloaves and Meatballs
I have always loved preparing little meatloaves, and traditionally they are made with bread crumbs, rice, or oatmeal. Have you ever tried instant potatoes, instead? It makes meatloaf with a very consistent texture that is great for fancier variations. Simply substitute the potatoes cup for cup, and prepare as usual. (For some kickin’ meatloaf ideas, see my other article.)
While not really a “batter,” my favorite way to fry pork chops, fish, chicken or even vegetables involves the coveted instant mashed potato. Mix 1 cup instant potato with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper. After dipping your meat in an egg wash, butter, or oil, dip into the potato mixture. Fry lightly in your favorite oil, and you will have a light and crispy coating in no time!
What? There is a way to eat instant potatoes that tastes like the real thing? Apparently so. This handy trick came to me from an article by Maggie Hardy.
“Use twice-diluted sweetened condensed milk in place of the water that's called for in the recipe on the package. Then, use once-diluted evaporated milk for the milk ingredient. Reduce the milk ingredient by 1/4 and make up the difference by using chicken broth. (Example: if the package calls for 1 cup of milk, replace that with 3/4 cup of once-diluted SCM and 1/4 cup of chicken broth.) Add your butter, salt, pepper and any other seasonings and you won't be able to tell the instant potatoes from the real thing.”
Can’t wait to try it, Maggie!
It appears that instant potatoes are useful. They also have a long shelf-life, and can be an inexpensive alternative in areas where fresh potatoes are scarce (or worse, green). How do you use your speedy spuds?