Mom’s Famous (Skinny) Mashed Potatoes, and What to do With Carrot Peels
Let’s get that second part of the post title over with. This is what I do with most of my veggie odds-and-ends:
My dogs are closet vegetarians. We have even conducted tests where I hold a piece of meat in one hand and a vegetable in the other, and they 99% of the time go for the veg. It’s awesome.
Obviously not all dogs can get down with the same “human” foods, but mine have been on a semi-home-cooked diet since they were pups. My pitbull was the runt of the litter and it took weeks for her sight and hearing to develop after we had gotten her. It was immediately evident that she was very sensitive to cleaning supplies, dust, and eventually we figured out that she was allergic to most commercial dog foods.
She had frequent ear infections, rashes, and stomach upset. I brought her to my regular vet, who (bless her heart) gave me two options. First was to begin my little pup on a lifetime regimen of antihistamines, ear drops, and STEROIDS. I just stared at her blankly. When you’re holding a tiny 8 pound pitbull in your hands (the cutest puppies on the planet), it is hard to fathom pumping it full of drugs.
Second option–and this restored my faith in the “medical” community somewhat–was to begin her on a lifetime regimen of healthy whole foods incorporated with some special dry food to provide her with a well-rounded diet.
So through trial and error over the next few years, I found that my little girl not only tolerates but LOVES poached chicken, turkey, the occasional bits of steak, veggies in any form (but especially potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, spinach, peas, and broccoli), fruits like apples and bananas, and whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice.
After a few weeks on a semi-homemade diet, her rashes had disappeared and her ear infections cleared up with no meds. Her coat filled back in and she has been in perfect health for the last 7 years.
And when she hears me in the kitchen prepping and chopping carrots, she goes wild! I always keep a bag of baby carrots in the fridge to reward the dogs, and they adore frozen peas and green beans as snacks in the summer.
Another day I’ll share her favorite dinner recipe–a combination of chicken broth, veggies, whole grains, and eggs.
Anywho. That was supposed to be one sentence, but turned into a novel.
Let’s talk ‘taters now.
My mom has been making mashed potatoes this way since I was a little kid. When I was in elementary school, we had a Thanksgiving potluck every year in the classroom and my teachers always insisted my mom bring this dish. In fact, she was the only one allowed to bring mashed potatoes.
They are naturally low-fat, but you wouldn’t know by eating them. When you describe to people that they’re made without butter or cream or even milk, they make this face, like you just told them they’ll be eating kindergarten paste. But once they try them, they’re all believers! I’m not a hater of fatty things (because, duh, fat is delicious), but I would rather “eat skinny” wherever possible since fat tends to upset my stomach. I say if something tastes just as good without all that cream and butter (you still don’t believe me, I know), why bother throwing it in?
I know mashed potatoes can be a hot topic of debate. Everyone has their own preferences. I was recently at a dinner party, helping a friend cook, when her boyfriend walked in and began a huge argument about how she prepared her mashed ‘taters. He insisted she wasn’t “doing it right,” and she kept saying “This is how I’ve always made them.” And then he got his mother on the phone, put her on speaker, and added a third party to the argument. And then she got her mother on the phone and the kitchen erupted in a totally MILF-y cat fight. I just remained silent and kept stirring the greens.
In my opinion, all mashed potatoes are good mashed potatoes. Then again, I’m creepily obsessed with potatoes.
My mother always has mashed these by hand, but you can make them with a hand mixer, or even in your Kitchen Aid. On busy weeknights, I make these guys and just mash with a fork. When your potatoes are cooked thoroughly, it doesn’t take much work.
Seasonings are added to taste, and the result is a flavorful, creamy, low-fat dish full of comfort. I should mention here that my mother would never in a million years make mashed potatoes with CARROTS. I told her I do this now and she grimaced like she’s never grimaced. “Why would you DO that?” she said. But they are so so delicious this way; the carrots just add another layer of flavor (and of course something healthy). I ended up making my mother a pot of these just to convince her and she said they were “Pretty damn good!” Obviously you can omit the carrots!
Here’s how to make them:
Boil some cubed russet potatoes, and a few chopped carrots if you want to be cool. Note to self: potato/carrot boiling water looks gross.
Once everything’s nice and tender, drain the water and return to pot. Start with a generous dollop of sour cream and start mashing.
Once everything’s mashed, taste and add more sour cream if needed, then season with salt, pepper, and just a pinch of garlic powder.
And then get your nom on.
Mom’s Famous (Skinny) Mashed Potatoes
Makes about 3 cups
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ pieces
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped into a few pieces (optional)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream (you can totally use low-fat)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- a pinch of garlic powder
1. Place potatoes and carrots (if using) in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork, 15-30 minutes.
2. Drain well and return to pot (or transfer to a mixing bowl or Kitchen Aid). Add 1/4 cup sour cream. Mash with a fork or potato masher, or mix with a beater or your stand mixer’s paddle attachment until you’ve almost reached your favorite potato consistency.
3. Taste and add more sour cream if needed, and season with the salt, pepper, and garlic to taste. Continue mashing, or just stir to combine. Serve warm.