It’s a winter wonderland in Kansas! It started snowing last night and isn’t expected to stop until tomorrow morning. Not only do we have snow, but we have freeeeeezing temperatures. It’s not expected to get into the 30s until Friday and a couple nights this week might get down to negative temperatures. Yowsa.
The snow and cold temperatures have really got me focused on comfort food. I have to admit, January is not my favorite month. The holidays are over, it’s really cold and I’m very busy at work. 😦 So it’s comfort food that gets me through!
Last night’s dinner involved mashed potatoes and as I was chopping, boiling and whipping I thought I should do as post on homemade mashed potatoes. Because there was once a time when the only mashed potatoes I made came from flakes in a box. A kind friend showed me how to make homemade mashed potatoes and I’ve never gone back.
Mashed potatoes are very easy to make from scratch. First you need some potatoes. Pretty much any kind will work, so get what’s on sale. I just have some plain russet potatoes on hand, so that’s what I used last night. I’ve also used red potatoes and yukon gold potatoes.
How many potatoes you need depends on how much mashed potatoes you want to end up with. I used four medium potatoes which was enough for two large servings for Benzo and I for dinner and two regular servings for lunch today. I like leftovers so I always overshoot the amount rather than not have enough.
Here’s the basic process I use:
Step One: Wash potatoes. Peel if desired. I always leave the peels on. Peel or no peel is really a taste preference. And possibly a time preference if you are trying to get dinner on the table fast.
Step Two: Chop potatoes into approximately 1 inch chunks. It doesn’t have to be exact though because you’re just going to mash ’em all up at the end. Place chopped potatoes into a pot.
Step Three: Add water to the pot just until potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil.
Step Four: Boil potatoes until fork tender. The amount of time will depend on the amount of potatoes. I never usually time them, just check them every so often. Last night it took about 15-20 minutes. In the picture you can see I’m sticking a fork into the potato to see how soft it is. But be careful doing this as the steam can be hot on your hand.
Step Five: Once potatoes are tender enough, drain and either return to the pot or put in a bowl.
Step Six: Mash up the potatoes with a potato masher or a fork. Mash them up until they are good and mashed.
Step Seven: If desired add milk and butter to the potatoes and stir to combine. Mash again with the masher if needed. You can also reserve some of the potato boiling water and use that instead of milk and butter to save calories. I use unsweetened almond milk and Earth Balance and stir them up with a wooden spoon. I add the milk a little bit at a time until I get the desired consistency.
I don’t mind lumps in my mashed potatoes, but if you like them smooth you might want to use your mixer at this point to whip the potatoes to a smoother consistency.
You can also get creative with mashed potatoes by stirring in different things. Garlic and cream cheese are a good combination.
Serve mashed potatoes immediately after mixing. I find that they cool down pretty quick. Probably the addition of the cold milk and butter.
That’s it! Seriously so easy I promise. You won’t want to use instant potato flakes ever again!
So how do you like your mashed potatoes? Milk and butter? Salt? Peel or no peel? Lumps or smooth? Do you do anything different than I do?