These keeper project recipes have nothing to do with healthy eating or "test" recipes. These are tested, go to recipes that are our standards. These recipes are for our boys who are adults now with their own families. Our sons are cooks too and many times they just throw things together, but when they want something, they will call Big Spazz or I. Well one day we will not be here to call, so before they need it, I am compiling this. Because of my grandmother and my mother-in-law, I know too well the speed in which a person can go from cooking to not cooking. They are not all the best thing we have ever had, but many of these that are my go to recipes are convenient, fast, easy and good. I love being in the kitchen, I do not love standing over the stove, so keep that in mind.
Before we talk recipe, let me talk about tools. Now that I am living with my oldest son and our daughter in law when I am in Honolulu, and caring for my mother-in-law when I am in Hilo, I have two kitchens with three women's kitchen tools. Here is what I know so far: there are certain tools that I need and will carry with me when I can. All kitchens must have a Swingline brand can opener, and the heavy duty one is preferable to the cheaper one. Spending whatever it takes to buy a simple Swingline can opener is a must. Above is another one. It is an old stainless steel vegetable peeler. I like it because it fits my hand well. It is light, it is comfortable in my palm even if I have small hands. With this peeler, I can peel the whole bag of potatoes without thinking about it.
The second must have tool is my mother-in-law's but it is mine now. It is a potato masher. There is nothing fancy or unique about the design, but it gets the job done. You could put it in a ricer for fluffy potatoes, but we like the texture of lumps. If it is too smooth, people will assume that you made potato flakes.
Third is not a tool. It is butter. As I get older, I do not handle butter and fat well without my gall bladder. However, if a recipe calls for butter, do not use margarine. Ever.
Make Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes
I like this mashed potatoes because I peel the potatoes ahead of time and I can make it when I am not busy and bake it right before.
- 5 lbs. Russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
- 3/4 c. butter
- 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 - 3/4 c. half and half
- garlic salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Cut peeled potatoes so that they are about the same size for more even cooking. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 30-35 minutes. You know they're cooked when a fork can go through the potato.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander. When the potatoes are drained, return it to the pot set on low and mash potatoes, allowing the steam to release.
- Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks butter, cream cheese and 1/2 cup of half and half. Mash, Add salt and pepper, taste and add more half and half if necessary.
- Butter a shallow casserole dish and put potatoes in. You may refrigerate it covered with plastic wrap and take it out a few hours before to get it back to room temperature.
- Put a few pats of butter on top (picture above) and bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until warmed through.