Step away from the flakes!
This is one of the simplest things to make. Even the flavored ones like Butter and Herb and Garlic are just one extra step. It's not really a recipe, more of a format. Once you get that down you can do it in your sleep. I am a box-to-real-thing convert, so I know of what I speak.
- Start by taking approx 1 1/2 potatoes for each person depending on their appetite.
- You can either peel them and cut them into about 4-6 pieces or just scrub them good and cut them into more like 10 pieces. If you leave the peel on you need to cut them smaller so the peel isn't in too big 'a hunks.
- Put them in a pot (I use a 3 qt and can make enough to feed 6-8 people in that size pot, no need to drag out a huge one). Cover them with cold water and a hearty pinch of salt. Put them on high, bring to a boil and turn down, cover.
- This is the hard part (the waiting). This part will take about 15-20 minutes give or take. You want to take them off when you can pierce them with a fork and they kind of just break. If you cook them too long they will be watery (I can share a recipe to fix those also because I did it the other night when my youngest was having a meltdown).
- Drain and start mashing. You can use a potato masher or if you don't have one even a pastry cutter will work. They don't have to be perfectly mashed, a few chunks are good.
- Add butter and canned evaporated milk, if you are worried about fat content use the canned Skim Milk, it is still very creamy. Not an exact science, just whatever you like. If it's a full 3 qt pan I will had 1/2 stick butter and most of a can of milk. You can always add more. Just do it to taste along with salt (and pepper if you like).
DONE! You made mashed potatoes. If you follow this format you really can't mess them up. The other night mine were watery so I threw them in a Pyrex pan and topped with cheese and baked for about 20 minutes. I already had the oven going and we were waiting on our chicken to finish. The kids actually liked them better than regular mashed potatoes. I was afraid they were ruined and they requested I "ruin" them again.
If you like the garlic mashed potatoes, this is really simple. In the last 3-4 minutes of boiling throw in about 3 cloves of garlic. This will be mild even though it sounds like a lot, it might be the boiling. Then when you smash them up they will break up right into the potatoes, this is a very easy variation.
I also like to experiment with different spices in my cabinet. Greek Seasoning is one of my favorites spices on the planet. It's a combo of garlic, oregano, salt and some other yummy stuff. It is fabulous on chicken and really good in mashed potatoes.
If you like a twice baked potato but don't want to take the 90 minutes it takes to make them you can leave out some of the milk, add sour cream, handful of grated cheese, bacon bits and green onions or chives.
Please, try this! Your family will love you for it! It's oh so yummy and really not that hard!