Got Thanksgiving leftovers? Ha! Of course you do. Silly question. I have to admit that one of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving is coming up with new ways to use all the leftovers. Because let’s be real, it’s tradition to make more food than it’s humanly possible to consume in one sitting, and I do not like letting food go to waste. So this year I’m partnering with Borden® Cheese to show how a little cheese can transform your leftovers into a delicious new meal. Which is easy because cheese makes everything better, ammiright? Anyway, I used my leftover mashed potatoes, some Borden cheddar shreds, and a couple other ingredients to make these fun lil’ Baked Broccoli Cheddar Tots.
And let me just say that if you don’t have the patience to make a bunch of cute little tots, you can totally shape the mashed potato mixture into patties instead, then fry them up really fast in a frying pan. Either way the creamy cheese, mashed potatoes, and chopped broccoli are a match made in leftover heaven. It’s almost like a twice baked potato turned into little bites (or cakes).
Big thanks to Borden® for supporting my work by sponsoring this post. All thoughts and words contained in this post are my own.
Baked Broccoli Cheddar Tots
Baked Broccoli Cheddar Tots
These Baked Broccoli Cheddar Tots are a fun, easy, and delicious way to turn leftover mashed potatoes into a new meal.
Allow the broccoli florets to thaw, then chop them into very small pieces. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the chilled leftover mashed potatoes in a large bowl, along with the chopped broccoli, cheddar shreds, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt. Stir until everything is evenly combined. Taste the mixture and adjust the salt or spices if needed.
Briefly whisk the egg in a small bowl, then add it to the mashed potato mixture. Stir until it is fully incorporated into the mashed potatoes. Using your hands, take about one to one and a half tablespoons of the potato mixture at a time and roll them into small tots. The mixture will be wet, but not very sticky. You may need to rinse your hands once or twice during the process. The mixture should make 50-60 tots.
Once rolled, bake the tots for 35 minutes, rolling them twice throughout to achieve even browning (roll at 15 minutes, then at 25 minutes). Use a fork to help you roll each tot over. Serve the tots immediately after baking.
Freeze Your Cheese
People always ask how I get such good prices, and the answer is that I take advantage of sales when I see them. And when it’s a brand I like, oh boy, I really take advantage. I use a lot of generics, but there are a few brands whose quality really has won me over. Borden® is one of those brands (which is why I was happy to partner with them on this project). Not only is the quality noticeably better than my store’s generic brand, but they manage to keep their prices reasonable. More importantly, their dairy is supplied by the Dairy Farmers of America, which is a co-op of more than 8,000 family-owned farms who are dedicated to producing quality products in an ethical and sustainable manner. And that is important to me. I’m trying to “vote” with my dollars more these days and support companies with ethical practices. So, when I saw they were on sale for $1.88 per 8oz. package, I started plucking them off the shelf like apples off a tree. LOL
Seriously, even the Gouda was on sale!! Did I go overboard? Nahhh, especially since I don’t need to eat it all right away. Four out of five of those packages went straight into my freezer. YES, you can freeze cheese! Get that cheese while the sale is on, store it in the freezer, then you’ll have it handy when you need it later. The plastic packaging is pretty heavy duty, so I don’t normally add any extra wrapping, I just toss the bag or block straight into the freezer. To thaw, transfer the cheese to your fridge the day before you plan to use it. I’ve never had any issues with condensation upon thawing. Frozen block cheese can be slightly more crumbly after thawing, though, so it’s not as good for making slices. I’ve even added frozen shreds straight to recipes before, since they thaw very quickly. Plus, it’s such a nice surprise to find an unexpected bag of cheese in the freezer. #cheeselove
Okay, cheese-freezing lesson over. Now back to the recipe…
Step by Step Photos
First, allow 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli florets to thaw. You can speed this up by using your microwave. Once thawed, chop the broccoli into very fine pieces. This 1/2 lb. broccoli ended up being about 2 cups once chopped.
Add the chopped broccoli to a large bowl along with 3 cups chilled leftover mashed potatoes, 1 cup Borden finely shredded mild cheddar, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp smoked paprika.
Stir those ingredients until they are evenly mixed.
Lightly whisk one large egg in a small bowl, then pour it into the mashed potato mixture. Stir until the egg is incorporated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Use your hands to roll 1-1.5 Tbsp of the mashed potato mixture into little tot shapes. To do this I rolled the piece between my palms like I was making a play dough snake, then pressed on the top and bottom with my thumb and forefinger to flatten the ends.
Place the shaped tots on the prepared baking sheet. Spritz them lightly with non-stick spray to help brown the tops. Bake for 35 minutes, rolling the tots over once at 15 minutes, then again at 25 minutes to make sure they brown evenly. They will be soft upon the first turn/roll, so roll carefully. I found a fork to be more useful than a spatula because it could fit between the tots.
The tots may flatten a bit as they bake (the mixture will be soft and the eggs make them poof a bit). I also pressed down on the tots slightly after rolling to help make them round again.
After baking for 35 minutes and rolling twice, they should be browned on most sides. Serve them immediately while warm.
And of course, serve the Baked Broccoli Cheddar Tots with a little ketchup for dipping. ;)