Anybody out there remember how to do the mashed potato? Okay, I admit to being old enough to remember music from the 60's that referred to a dance called the mashed potato, but I have no idea about how to do the dance itself. That said, this post really isn't about a dance at all. It's about the side dish!
Years ago when I had just graduated college (the first time around) and I was in between apartments, I stayed with my friend Kathy for a couple of days. One night she fixed real honest-to-goodness mashed potatoes. No offense to my mom, but we mostly had mashed potatoes that started as white flakes out of a brown box when I was growing up. It could be that Mommy dear at some point in time did make us real mashed potatoes from scratch and my siblings and I complained that we liked the stuff out of the box better. I don't remember, but it could have happened. I have a couple of kids of my own now who have such warped taste. At any rate, Kathy was flabbergasted that I would think of eating mashed potatoes out of a brown cardboard box when "real" mashed potatoes were so easy to make.
Fast forward to this past Sunday night. My son's friend "T" joined us for church Sunday evening. On the way home we were talking about "what's for dinner?" It was already late so I was thinking of quick and easy. T mentioned that he love potatoes in any form or fashion. That got me to thinking about mashed potatoes to go with chicken tenders, cream gravy and mixed vegetables with broccoli thrown in for good measure. Here's the recipe I came up with with ingredients I had on hand:
3 large baking potatoes
2 quarts water (give or take...enough to cover the cut up potatoes)
1 T. Salt
2 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat neufchatel)
2 T. butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk
salt & pepper to taste
Scrub and peel potatoes. Cut into eighths. Rinse in cold water. Place in large pot with enough water to cover potatoes. Add 1 tablespoon salt.
Bring potatoes to a boil. Reduce heat to med-high and cook for 10-12 minutes until potatoes are soft but not mushy. Turn off stove.
Drain potatoes and return to pot. Return pot to warm burner and cover with a lid. The residual heat will help "dry" any excess moisture from the potatoes.
Add cream cheese, butter or margarine and 1/2 cup milk to pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
**Remember you boiled the potatoes in salted water when adding additional seasoning to taste**
Beat with mixer or mash by hand with a potato masher until all ingredients are well-incorporated.
Yields about 6 servings of fluffy, flavorful goodness known as mashed potatoes!
Add some fresh chives, bacon bits and shredded cheese after whipping up the potatoes for "fully loaded mashed potatoes"!
Bon Apetit, mis amigos...until next time!