I have now made mashed potatoes twice in my life. (Hey, there’s a reason this blog is about learning to cook! I’d never even boiled spaghetti noodles until right around the time I started this website.) The first time I made mashed potatoes, I just kind of winged it, and ended up with light and fluffy mashed potatoes with almost no flavor at all. The second time, I consulted an expert– The Pioneer Woman. I’m always drooling over her recipes and pictures, but with the exception of my first lasagna, I never actually get around to making the things I see.
Her Creamy Mashed Potatoes seemed like just the ticket though. I was right! They were fairly labor intensive, and even though I managed to mess them up, they were still delicious. I’m not sure how committed I am to using a potato masher rather than beaters in the future, but they definitely were good!
5lbs of potatoes, softened butter, softened cream cheese, half and half, season salt, and pepper
Start by peeling 5lbs of potatoes. As you can see, I got lazy by the end of the bag of potatoes because I was tired of peeling, but it turned out fine. Rinse the potatoes, and cut them into halves or quarters so they’re all roughly the same size.
PW instructs that the potatoes should be added to a pot of simmering water, and boiled for at least 30 minutes… or until they’re fork tender. You stick a fork into the potato, and if it goes in without resistance, the potatoes are done.
Drain the potatoes, and return them to the pan over low heat. (Man, I’m not doing so well on the step by step pictures here am I?) Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes until they are mostly mashed and most of the steam has escaped. Then you get to add the good stuff.
First, slice in the butter that you’ve been softening. PW said she used 1 1/2 sticks for 5 lbs of butter, and I’m a good sheep, so that’s what I did too.
Then add 8 oz. of softened cream cheese. Sorry about the picture quality… I’m not sure where my flash went here.
Now, pretend like there is a picture here of me adding 1/2 cup of half and half and that I didn’t forget this step. It would have helped me out greatly, and probably would’ve helped the potatoes reach that super creamy consistency they were supposed to have but didn’t quite attain.
Mash in the butter, cream cheese, and half and half until it’s all incorporated.
Now it’s time to season… I started with 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry’s season salt and bumped it up to a full teaspoon.
Same thing with the pepper– started with 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and ended up with a teaspoon.
Stir or mash the seasoning in. When you’re satisfied with how it tastes…
Butter a casserole dish. This is my 2qt, 8×8 Pyrex dish and it was just barely large enough.
Squeeze all your potatoes into the casserole dish.
Slice some butter onto the top.
Cover with foil. And here’s the best part… at this point, you can stick it in the fridge and leave it there for a day or two! I used my mashed potatoes a little later the same day, but imagine how much it would come in handy to have these ready to go in the oven and reheat for holiday gatherings rather than trying to mash them while you’re getting everything else ready.
When you’re ready to use them, they go in the oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until they’re heated through. If they’ve been in the fridge a couple days, PW suggests taking them out of the fridge about an hour before you want to put them in the oven so the middle isn’t quite as cold.