My apologies for my absence from the blog-o-sphere this last week. I had all these photos uploaded and was ready to blog away. I just had to run a few errands on my day off before I blogged. While I was out, our house was broken into and we were robbed. Right in broad daylight in the middle of an upper middle class neighborhood. If you're saying WOW, or OMG, you are right. To say it set my agenda back for the week would be putting it mildly. It's one of those things you think is never going to happen to you, but it does. It happens all the time, in the nicest of neighborhoods, in the nicest of cities. I Googled "Residential Burglaries" and discovered some shocking statistics. Please educate yourself and rethink your home security. I know we are. Lastly good luck out there and I hope this doesn't happen to any of you!
Now on to cooking. Nothing bad happens in the kitchen! I'm starting the holidays off with a time saving way to make everyone's holiday favorite, Mashed Potatoes. Since I started making mashed potatoes this way, a day or two ahead, it has saved me time and dishes on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And, as an added bonus, they taste out of this world. Super smooth and creamy and rich. Yummy, yum, yum! Aside from tasting awesome, by making them ahead, you can get all the dishes cleaned and put away days ahead and only have to deal with the one baking dish after your holiday meal. This is also a great way to take mashed potatoes to a holiday pot luck. Give 'em a try...
You need the usual mashed potatoes suspects: potatoes (I like Yukon Golds.), cream cheese, sour cream, salt, butter and whole milk (Buttermilk is awesome but I didn't have any, if you do, use it!).
Peel, dice and boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until fork tender. For super smooth mashed potatoes put the potatoes through a potato ricer. If you don't have one just drain the potatoes and put them into a large bowl.
If the cream cheese and butter are cold and hard, microwave them a few seconds to soften them up.
Mix all the ingredients together. If you used a ricer then use a spatula to gently fold everything together. If you didn't, use a potato masher to mash the potatoes and blend everything together.
Put mixture into a oven safe casserole dish. This one is about 3 quarts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or two or three.
When ready, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap and cover with foil. Heat for 30-45 minutes until heated through. This dish was deep and it took about an hour. I've used a 9x13 pyrex in the past and being not as deep, it took about 30 minutes to heat through. Alternately you can use the microwave. (See the recipe below.)
Top with homemade turkey gravy and you've got just about the best darn mashed potatoes you've ever tasted. Best part is that you already washed and put away all the dishes a day or two ago.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
5 lbs. potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled until fork tender
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. sour cream
1 t. salt, more or less to taste
4 T. butter, softened
1/3 C. whole milk or buttermilk
Mix all ingredients together until fluffy. Season to taste. Place in an oven safe casserole, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To heat in the oven: Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove wrap and cover dish with foil. Bake for 30-45 minutes until heated through.
To heat in the microwave: Vent plastic wrap slightly. Microwave on 1/2 power for 15 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and stir. Microwave again at 1/2 power, 5 minutes at a time, until heated through.