Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Project Mashed Potatoes

Well, after the success of last week's Brussels sprouts experiment, I said to my self, "self, you should do this with mashed potatoes".  So, last night, I made three kinds of mashed potatoes, you know, for research and the good of the blog.  Not because I was sad and wanted to eat a ton of carbs to make myself feel better, because I would never do that.  Anywho...I made three kinds of potatoes.  One with roasted garlic, one with herb cheese, and one with cheddar and bacon.  Unfortunately, since exactly half of my Thanksgiving guests are vegetarian and an additional person doesn't eat bacon, I'm thinking the bacon ones are out.  Those were mostly just for me, I've been meaning to give my health insurance a serious test, and a heart attack seemed like a decent way to do so.

So, I really think the hardest part of making mashed potatoes is the amount of time it takes to boil them.  Especially when you're making 6 pounds of potatoes.  So, very first, chop the potatoes into roughly equal sized pieces.  Drop them into the biggest pot you have (mine is actually just big enough - perhaps it's time to invest in a lobster pot?), then cover with cold water, until the water is about an inch over the potatoes, and put on to boil.  You can peel them first if you like, but I actually prefer to keep the skins.  And if you're less lazy than I am and bought loose potatoes, instead of pre-washed, you should probably scrub them a little bit.

While this is happening, prepare the roasted garlic.  I've always roasted garlic in the skins, but allrecipes told me that you can just peel them and cover them.  It was SO much easier, so I see a lot of roasted garlic in my future (sorry co-workers).

Peel a few cloves of garlic, and put into an oven safe container.  Drizzle with olive oil, cover with foil, and roast at 350 for about 40 minutes, until soft.  I did these in the toaster oven, because I had bigger plans for my oven...


Growing up, my mom and dad always made bacon in the microwave, which is super easy and fast.  But, I'm a rebel and don't have one of those, so I have to figure out alternate ways to cook it.  I have tried on the stove, but the splattering grease is a definite downfall.  So, I now cook it in the oven.  It's really easy, and if you remember to tin foil the pan, clean up is amazing.

Cover a pan with tin foil, then put a cooling rack on top.  This way, the grease will drip down and you don't have to turn it halfway through.  Then put into a COLD oven and turn the oven on to 375.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until the bacon is your desired level of crispy.  Keep in mind that it will crisp up a little more after you take it out, so err on the side of caution.

Now that the toppings are in order, it is likely that the potatoes are ready.  You know they're done when you poke them with a fork and they kind of fall apart. 

Drain them and either return them to the pot or put into smaller bowls.  Since I was making several kinds, I split them up, although if I was going to do this again, I would actually mash them all at once and then split them up.  Live and learn.

For the roasted garlic ones, you will need:
Roasted Garlic
1/2 - 3/4 cup of milk
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper

Put it all in a bowl and mash.  Start with only 1/2 cup of milk and add more if you think you need it.  This is totally a matter of personal preference - I like my potatoes chunkier, so I didn't use as much milk.

For the Herb Cheese ones, you will need:

1/2 container of herb cheese - I used Alouette
1/2 cup milk
Salt and Pepper

Put it all in a bowl and mash.  You probably don't need as much milk, because the cheese is pretty soft and will thin the potatoes out some.

For the Loaded Baked Potato ones, you will need:
6 slices cooked bacon
1/2 -3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper

Say it with me - put it all in a bowl and mash.  If I made these again, I'd add more cheese.

Overall, I think that the herb cheese was my favorite.  I just love that stuff so much.  However, they were all really good.  The roasted garlic flavor was really pronounced in the roasted garlic ones, which I loved.  I know that not everyone is into garlic, and if you're one of those people, these probably aren't for you.  Also, good luck with the vampires.  The loaded baked potato was good, because there was bacon, but it wasn't anything super special, they're just regular, good potatoes.

I'm super excited to make the herb garlic cheese potatoes for Thanksgiving, alongside about a million other things.  I think that for the big day, I will make them in the crock pot, to free up a little bit of oven/stove space.

Question of the Day: 

What is your favorite Thanksgiving side? 


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