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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
mashed potatoes

Making a Mouthful of Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes are the epitome of comfort food. They can accompany most any type of meat, are often a side dish next to scrambled eggs, and can even be thrown on top of a shepherd's pie. They are uniquely delicious in all their different ways of preparation: baked, boiled and mashed, deep fried, pan-fried, oven roasted and grilled. But it's often the mashed potato that brings the most comfort to people. When I was a kid, fried chicken and mashed potatoes were an everyday, after-church Sunday dinner. Apart from every Sunday, mashed potatoes would also be included in most holiday meals. But the potatoes that were cooked in my house were always instant potatoes. Now who came blame my full-time working mother for using dehydrated potatoes that can be reconstituted in a matter of minutes? Not me; with a busy household of my own I can see the value in a quick meal.

However, I've come to realize that making "real" mashed potatoes isn't as daunting as it seems. And with the technology of a microwave, they can even be whipped up within 10 minutes! But what about all that peeling you say? Don't do it...or at least not for every potato! Not only will it save time, but you'll also get more nutrients by leaving the peels on. And although potatoes have gotten a bad rap for being starchy, there is no reason to exclude them from the diet (unless you have kidney disease and your doctor or dietitian has told you to limit potatoes). As a matter of fact, potatoes are a great source of potassium and when the peels are left on, they can also be a source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and iron.

Most any type of potato will work for mashed potatoes, but I prefer a yellow or Yukon Gold potato. It's slightly sweet and the yellow color looks buttery and velvety so it doesn't require much butter, which can pack on the fat and calories. Using skim milk instead of whole still does the job and makes for a healthier version of mashed potatoes. Check out this quick video on how to make them! And for a quick version, try this microwave recipe.

Easy Mashed Potatoes (Printable PDF)

1 lb. or 4 medium potatoes (yellow, red or Russet)

1-2 Tablespoons butter or margarine

½ cup Non-fat milk or to taste

1 pinch salt and pepper

Optional: 1 clove minced garlic, fresh chopped chives to taste

Wash potatoes and peel if desired. Cut potatoes into quarters and place in a large microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Using a potato masher (not an electric mixer) mash potatoes until there are no lumps or desired consistency. Add butter or margarine. Warm milk in microwave for 10-15 seconds. Gradually add to mashed potatoes. Add seasonings and continue to stir/mash until desired consistency.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutritional analysis per serving (using 2 Tablespoons butter): 160 Calories, 4 grams fat, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 95 milligrams sodium, 28 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams dietary fiber, 4 grams protein

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