“Homemade” Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

How to turn two potatoes into a side dish that feeds nine people (a Valentine’s weekend miracle)

Problem: I needed to make a side dish for a Valentine’s weekend potluck dinner with the girls… with no ingredients in the house to cook. (My lack of car on campus makes it a hell of a challenge to cook anything remotely fresh and delicious unless I plan at least two weeks in advance.)
So, you might ask, what exactly did you have in the house? And in such case I would respond: two potatoes, butter, four cups of Parmesan cheese, a half of a sack of apples, a tub of plain yogurt, and some milk. Not too appetizing of a dish, right there…
Solution: After a quick run to CVS with Mary (the chef genius), I remedied the situation. I scanned the South Crouse Avenue store’s short aisle of food and found a store-brand box of instant mashed potatoes. With the right touch and mix of ingredients, I could make these potatoes a little classier than your typical side from a cardboard box.



2 potatoes
1 box instant mashed potatoes
2/3 cup butter
3¼ cups 2% milk
1½ cups Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons basil seasoning
1½ tablespoons garlic powder

First, wash and cube your two potatoes. (If you prefer, you can peel the skins off at this time, but I like the skins in my potatoes.) Then stick them into a pot, fill with water until the potatoes are covered, and boil. Leave boiling on the stove for 15-20 minutes.
Spoon the potato chunks out of the pot and into a smaller mixing bowl. Here, it’s ideal to use a potato masher to break apart and soften the chunks of potato. I, however, used the backside of an ice cream scoop to cream my potatoes.


Make the full box of instant mashed potatoes. (Mine specified it served 20 people.) To do so, bring 3½ cups of water plus your butter and a dash of salt to a boil. Pour in the potato mix and stir to coat all of the flakes.
Toss your real potatoes on top and keep stirring. Add Parmesan cheese to taste (I achieved a light flavor with 1½ cups), and mix in 2 tablespoons of basil seasoning so that the potatoes are speckled evenly. Add garlic powder and salt to your liking.

Mashed potatoes

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