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Mashed Potato Heaven

Updated on June 20, 2014

A Natural Comfort Food

One of the things I always looked forward to at Grandma's house was her mashed potatoes (and gravy) followed by a second by her lemon meringue pie, but that's a story for another time.

Mashed potatoes are the quintessential comfort food, and they are generally loved by the whole family. What follows is a basic how-to mashed potato followed by some exciting variations.

Photo of mashed potatoes, copyright Ernesto Andrade, flickr

Basic Mashed Potatoes


6 large baking potatoes

1/3 cup warm milk

1/4 teaspoon garlic or onion powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


Peel the potatoes and cut into one to two inch irregular cubes. Cover with water in a large pot and bring to boil. Let boil for 15 - 20 minutes until potatoes are easily poked with fork but not falling apart. Microwave the milk until warm, not scalding. Add powder and salt to milk, stir. Use strainer to drain water from potato chunks. Return potatoes to warm pot on low heat. Pour milk mixture over potatoes.

In the old days my grandmother used a potato masher and mashed by hand (foodie cooks the world over still swear by this). These days I use a mixer. And I'm not ashamed to say so. The choice is yours. I break up the potatoes by pressing the blender through the potatoes before I turn it on. One of the most important things about making mashed potatoes with a blender is not over or under blending. Under blend and they turn out chunky; over blend and they turn out starchy. Blend the potatoes just until smooth. Cover and set aside until ready. Serve as a side to any meat dish.

Mashed Potato Variations

We don't really consider the potato a vegetable in our house. It's liked too much to fall into that category. Because it is so well liked it makes it a perfect base for hiding other vegetables.

The two at the top of the list are cauliflower and sweet potato. To the above recipe you can get away with adding a half a head of well steamed cauliflower. When I say steamed, I mean steamed until it is mush. Otherwise you'll end up with cauliflower chunks in your potatoes that are impossible to hide. I would also add both the onion and garlic powder instead of the either or.

If you are going to add sweet potatoes then cook them with four to two ratio. The potatoes will be off colour but they won't be over powered by sweet potato. Of course if no one has a problem with sweet potato you swing the ratio the other way!

There are a number of ways to delicately dress up your mashed potatoes. One of our favorites is by adding two finely diced jalapenos. You can add them fresh to the potatoes after mashing or sauté them in a dry non-stick frying pan for two minutes before adding. It looks fabulous too.

And the final method is to add 1 cup of mild cheddar cheese that has been cut into half inch cubes (or smaller) into the mashed mixture and stir quickly. The cheese will warm up while the potatoes are waiting to be served.

Potatoes are an affordable, nutritious and filling side to add to any meal.

Now go get mashing!

How Do You Like Your Mashed Potatoes

How Do You Like Your Mashed Potatoes

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    • ViJuvenate profile image

      ViJuvenate 5 years ago

      I love mashed potatoes. I even keep a box of dried potato flakes for quick cravings when I need something warm, comforting, and delicious. Why are they such an amazing comfort food? Must be an endorphin thing.

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      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Love potatoes... :)