What to do with Leftover Mashed Potatoes?

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found
— Calvin Trillin

Lamb and Lenti Shepherd's Pie

To be perfectly honest I have always had an upturned nose πŸ‘ƒ to Leftover's.  Maybe because it always made me think of the spaghetti sauce in the fridge that was turning green that often just had a bit of scraping done before it was served again.  Or maybe it's because pizza that most people love cold and leftover always has a rubber in the mouth feel for my palate. πŸ‘…  And then their is always the "You're just a snob"  πŸ˜because the rest of the world loves all things on day two.  

It is an unsettling thing being the only person at a dinner table who has no interest in taking that super yummy plate of food home but knowing in my heart of hearts I just don't want to look at it the next day.  Can you imagine if I ever went to this New York Restaurant?  I would be the only person saying, Thanks but I will skip the  le gourmet doggie bag.  Yikes.  Who came up with the term doggie bag anyway?  It screams at me "this is food for my dog or for me?"  So when presented with...



Gray matter...

it doesn't appeal.  I have even known myself to take something home from someone's home because of, yep you got it, peer pressure.  Knowing in my heart of hearts that I won't eat it, touch it, open it, or go near it until I have that weekly let's make sure the refrigerator is clean day.  

Therefore, if you, like me  know full well that the cold lumpy white glob of mashed potatoes is gonna hit the trash in a week this post is for you.  I am helping you face the fear, confront the elephant, take on the tiger...okay, I have run out of metaphors.

As much as I hate leftovers, I hate wasting food as well.  Hungry people around the world always need to be fed so throwing out healthy food tugs on my heart as it should no doubt.  Overcoming the leftover battle as become the Great War in our house.  Except when I have company who love taking leftovers home...I usually push that one first. πŸ˜‰  

The overwhelming urge to eat "new food" has made my strategy for preparation begin to change.  I don't come from a culinary background of making patΓ© so this new resolve to "use up all the food" as had me experimenting in the kitchen.

Admittedly a friend of mine who is vegetarian made something similar to this Shepherd's Pie and didn't of course use meat so I went from memory on what I remembered and added my favorite meat lamb.  Beef can be substituted but if you have access to ground lamb it's a favorite in our house.

 So here goes:  Leftovers made Lovely!  

And if you make it the mashed potatoes from scratch and don't use leftovers don't worry, your secret is safe with me. πŸ˜‰


Serves 4-6

Ingredients for Shepherd's Pie

Mashed Potatoes:

  •  1 pound Russet potatoes peeled and chopped (if you are not using leftover mashed potatoes)
  • 3 oz Butter cubed
  • 1 oz Cream, Half and Half or Buttermilk
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 cup dried lentils (soak in water for at least 30 min)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 onion 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Lamb or Beef:

  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 red bell pepper diced and seeds removed
  • 1 yellow or white onion diced
  • 1 carrot peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 Tbsp fresh chopped mint 
  • 3 Tbsp fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3 Tbsp fresh chopped dill

How to make Mashed Potatoes instructions (Unless using leftovers) :

Step 1

Rinse potatoes under cold running water agitating in a pan and draining until water runs clear and is not cloudy. This helps decrease any extra starch which will make them gummy. Don't skip this step!

Step 2

Cover potatoes with cold water in a pot and bring to a simmer.  Cook until tender with a fork, usually about 10 minutes.

Step 3

Have butter chopped up into cubes and cream at room temp.  Drain potatoes. Using a potato ricer push potatoes through ricer and place back in warm pot. Add butter and cream to potatoes and stir just until incorporated.  Add Salt and White Pepper if you have it to taste.  Set aside.

How to Make Lentils:

Step 1:

After soaking lentil, place in pot with 2 cups of water or chicken broth, 1 bay leaf and half of an onion and 1 tsp of olive oil.  Bring to a boil then, simmer lentils for 15 minutes or until tender but not falling apart.  

Step 2:

Remove  lentils from stovetop to stop cooking.

How to Make Lamb:

Step 1:

While lentils are cooking, add 1/4 tsp of baking soda and 1 Tbsp water to pound of lamb or beef and blend with your hand and let sit in a separate bowl. Preheat broiler  oven to High.

Step 2:

Using a large saute pan heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and then saute chopped onions, carrots for five minutes or until translucent.  Make sure to salt vegetables with a pinch of kosher salt.  Next add garlic and saute for about 30 sec to 1 minute until smell is released but don't burn the garlic. Add lamb and break up lamb into small pieces in the pan.  While cooking add cumin and coriander.  Cook lamb until just slightly pink.  Add lentils to mixture and if any extra liquid from lentils add up to 2 Tbsp but no more. Remove from heat and fold in fresh herbs of mint, dill and parsley.

Step  3:

Place warm lamb/beef and lentil dish on the bottom of a 8x10 pan and spread over the entire pan covering the bottom of the pan.  While still hot place mashed potatoes over the lentil and lamb or beef filling and spread using a flat spatula until lamb filling is covered evenly and smoothly.

Step 3

Add an X to the top of the middle of the potatoes allowing the lamb/beef filling to heat if using cold mashed potatoes.  Cook in center of oven under the broiler until mashed potatoes are lightly browned and lamb/beef filling is warm.  Approx. 8-10 minutes.


Enjoy and remember you saved yourself some time, some money, and  without a doubt made your momma proud!πŸ˜˜πŸ˜‰


  • Meat blended with the baking soda will not add flavor but cuts cooking time and creates less liquid so that meat is not being steamed. 
  • Garlic mashed potatoes will work well with this as well.
  • It is okay to use mashed potatoes that have not been put through a ricer, it may just not look as smooth but will still taste delicious.
  • If you have a large flat bottom steel pan this works even better than a casserole pan as it heats the bottom filling nicely as shown in the photo below.
  • ENJOY with a bottle of Light Red wine such as a Barbera from Italy πŸ·πŸ˜‹
Red Wine and Comforting Shepherd's Pie

Red Wine and Comforting Shepherd's Pie