Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Mashed Potatoes – the original homemade comfort food - easy to make and so simple to vary. Try a mashed sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving or cheesy twice-baked potatoes to add interest to any meal. Serve plain with melted butter, gravy or spice up with fresh garlic or onion.

Here is an easy basic recipe for fail-proof mashed potatoes (check this link for more mashed potatoes recipes). The addition of cream cheese, though optional, adds extra creaminess and richness to this ever-popular side dish.

Basic Mashed Potato Recipe
6 servings

8 medium white potatoes
3 T. butter or margarine
1/4 cup cream cheese (not fat free)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk

Wash the potatoes. Peel and slice potatoes and put into a large pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes thoroughly. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat until potatoes are simmering. Cook about 30 minutes until thoroughly done.

Using a colander, drain the potatoes. Place hot, drained potatoes into a large mixing bowl.

Into a pot add the butter or margarine, milk and cream cheese. Slowly heat, stirring constantly to keep from scorching on the bottom, until the butter/margarine and cream cheese has melted. Do not bring to a hard boil, just a slow simmer. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm while preparing the potatoes.

Using an electric mixer, beat slowly to break up the potatoes. Increase mixer speed and beat on medium-high until potatoes are thick and mashed. Slowly add the hot liquid mixture to the mashed potatoes while continually mixing. Once all liquid has been added, season to taste with salt and pepper and continue to beat on high until potatoes are smooth and fluffy. If potatoes are too stiff, add a little more hot milk until the desired consistency is reached.

Transfer prepared mashed potatoes to a microwavable-safe serving dish with a lid. Prior to serving heat in microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes with lid on.

An alternate method to keep warm is to place the mashed potatoes in the top pan of a double boiler (with lid on) while water simmers in the bottom pan of the double boiler.

Variations and extra tips
Thinly chop 1/4 cup onion and sauté in 1 T. butter or margarine. Stir into mashed potatoes. (May also add 1/4 cup crisp, crumbled bacon.)

Try using fresh sweet potatoes. Follow the basic recipe but eliminate the salt and pepper and substitute 1/2 cup maple syrup for the milk. Stir 1/4 cup brown sugar into the hot liquid mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle top with crushed pecans prior to serving.

Cook baking potatoes in the oven (400 degrees for 1 hour) until done. Cut in half longwise. Scoop out the pulp to use in the basic recipe. Scoop the finished mixture back into baked potato skins (sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the top of each potato half) and pop back into a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes to brown the top, being careful not to let them burn.