I have to make a confession. I have been wrongfully bad-mouthing instant mashed potatoes. For years. Like, since I was six.
It’s true, mashed potatoes have been my favorite food since I was a child. My mom used to make them all the time, and I loved them. I still love them. She would always peel the potatoes, cube them, boil them in salted water, drain them, and whip them with her hand mixer with milk and butter. What’s not to love?
One time when I was six or seven years old, my mom decided that she would try using a box of instant mashed potatoes. Who could blame her? She had three kids, worked, and had to cook dinner for us. The shortcut was a great idea in her mind. I took a scoop on my plate, took a bite, and that was the last non-discriminatory bite of instant mashed potatoes I would ever have. I remember going to restaurants soon after this incident and asking the waitress, “are your mashed potatoes real or made from a mix?” Pretty precocious for a six year old. I’m not six years old any more. But I can very easily discriminate between “real” mashed potatoes and instant ones.
I recently moved to New York City and I am slowly transitioning to having normal kitchen conveniences. For the first two weeks I lived in my apartment I didn’t have silverware, plates, or knives; let alone pots and pans. Slowly but surely I am furnishing my kitchen.
Last night I made chicken Marsala for dinner (I wanted to use a sauce mix, but my grocery store didn’t sell it, so it ended up being from scratch). Generally, chicken Marsala is served with mashed potatoes. However, I don’t have a vegetable peeler or a potato masher. What was I to do? I took a leap of faith.
I bought a box of Betty Crocker® Butter & Herb instant mashed potatoes. The package directions suggest using 1-1/2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of butter to prepare the potatoes. Like I mentioned, it’s a suggestion.
Alex’s Killer Instant Mashed
I don’t know if I am the innovator of this, in fact, it’s probably very unlikely… but here’s how I turned myself into an instant mashed potato believer.
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/8 cup beef or chicken stock
- 1 packet Betty Crocker® instant mashed potatoes
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Bring milk, butter, and stock to a simmer. It’s important not to boil the milk so it doesn’t burn.
- Once the milk mixture is just about to bubble, stir in the potato flakes. Mix until thick and fully combined.
- If you are really ambitions, put in a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for some gooeyness and extra richness.
I guess replacing the water with milk gives the potatoes the richness they are lacking when following the package directions. I even ate these leftover (another idiosyncrasy I have is that I don’t eat leftover mashed potatoes) and they were delicious!