Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mashed Taters

I can't explain why, but every time I think about mashed potatoes, I always think in my head mashed taters. Rest assured when the phrase "mashed taters" runs through my head, there is a STRONG southern twang. I'm weird like that.

Tis the season to make absurd amounts of food to share with friends, family and co-workers! I've made a million different mashed potato recipes over the years but I think from this point forward, I will stick with this super simple and very tasty version. The thing that I like about these mashed potatoes is that they taste really great without gravy but on the other hand the flavor isn't too distinctive so gravy can definitely be a welcome addition.

I have made these twice and both times it was extremely well received. I made them as part of my contribution to the Thanksgiving dinner and again for a holiday potluck. The kids devoured them which is always a good sign. Then at the potluck, a co-worker said she was going back for mashed potatoes because she rarely enjoyed them. I loved hearing that. Well not the part about rarely enjoying them but you know what I mean.

I used Make-Ahead Potatoes from Allrecipes with a few changes. I used 5lbs of red potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, 3 cloves of garlic, salt and butter.

After peeling and dicing the potatoes, I added them to a large pot along with the three garlic cloves. Make sure the garlic skin is removed but leave them whole.

Boil the potatoes and garlic cloves for about twenty minutes or until the potatoes are tender. I generously salt the water to boil the potatoes. I essentially treat them like pasta I guess. I once heard the only time you can truly season pasta is when you boil it. The water should be salty like the sea! Now while I know that flavor can DEFINITELY be added to potatoes after the fact, I like to begin the process of flavor as soon as possible. That's also why I added the cloves of garlic.

When draining the potatoes I reserve some of the water. I'll keep this handy to use to thin out the mashed potatoes if they're a thicker consistency than I prefer. I also removed the three garlic cloves and after mashing them into a paste, I added them to my KitchenAid bowl.

To the garlic paste, I added 8 ounces each of cream cheese and sour cream and 6 tablespoons of butter. Honestly next time I'll probably use only 4 tablespoons of butter. I doubt it would make them taste less tasty and I've saved a smidgen on calories.

I then added the potatoes and 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt. Now I know what you're thinking... but no, that's not a typo. I put 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt into these babies. Listen, I like salt and for me, potatoes have a way of needing salt. So I went bold and used a tablespoon. I'll tell ya what though, not a single person will think these potatoes are over-salted. Trust me.

I used my KitchenAid mixer with the flat beater and thoroughly combined the ingredients. I added about a half cup or so of the potato water to thin the potatoes to the consistency I liked. I also saved the rest of the water in case I need to use some for when I served the potatoes the next day.

Oh man, these potatoes are supposedly better the next day but nothing beats piping hot, freshly beat mashed potatoes. Don't get me wrong, these potatoes were fabulous the next day but right out of that Kitchenaid mixer bowl those potatoes were heaven.

Quick tip on how I served them at the potluck. I popped these potatoes out the morning of the potluck and set them to warm up using a double broiler of sorts. I just took the big pot I used to boil the potatoes, filled it about half way up with water then set the crock pot dish of potatoes on top. I set the stove top to about medium to get the water hot, but not high enough that I couldn't leave it unattended. I was able to go about my morning, getting ready and helping Skywalker out the door and in the meanwhile the potatoes were warming up nice and slow. When it was time to head into work, I simply set the crock pot to warm and didn't change the setting again.

One tip I read was to put a towel or something between the lid and the potatoes so the condensation doesn't water the potatoes down. I used paper towels at work and probably replaced the paper towel every hour until it was time for the potluck. Since this keeps the potatoes from getting soupy it is basically removing moisture from the crock pot so if the potatoes get too thick, use some of the saved potato water.


5 lb bag of red potatoes
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces of sour cream
4-6 tbsp butter
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp of salt


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in potatoes and garlic, and cook until tender but still firm, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove garlic and mash into a paste.
  3. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl, and mix in the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic paste, salt and butter.
  4. Serve immediately or cover, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.
  5. Reheat using double broiler.

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