It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is in just three days. I know, I know, I say this every year, but it just keeps sneaking up on me! Of course, the weather here in my neck of the woods is partially to blame: except for a handful of storms over the past week, this fall has been extremely mild. It’s hard to feel like Turkey Day is right around the corner when you’re forever in shorts and flip flops.
I also blame the election. Whether you were obsessing over every article and meme that showed up on your news feed, or just obsessed with it being over, it consumed us all, and definitely threw off my internal holiday clock. I’m not used to being so incensed so close to a day filled with my favorite thing in the world: a table full of delicious food made by me mum.
But it’s almost here, folks. And if you haven’t already done so, that means it’s time to seriously contemplate what to put on that table for your family and guests on Thursday. I’ve been contemplating such deliciousness 24/7 since the election ended, making up for lost time that should have been spent dreaming of my mom’s candied orange yams, and how the sweet syrup accidentally ends up mixed in with my turkey & stuffing, and how flippin’ delicious that combination can be…
Focus, Kimberly, FOCUS.
Longtime readers know by now that I love, love, LOVE Thanksgiving sides. Don’t get me wrong – I look forward to that turkey just as much as the next person (in fact, I don’t think I have turkey any other time of year. I should fix that), but what good is a bird without its trusty sidekicks? Stuffing, potatoes, salads, green bean casseroles, yams… the list goes on and on and on, and to me, every single one of these sides is ESSENTIAL.
Because of my horrendous decision-making capabilities, however, I have a hard time choosing my favorite Thanksgiving side. Stuffing is fabulous; my mom’s candied orange yams are a work of art; and even my trusty Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad has swiftly become another must-have over the past couple years. They’re all so delicious in their own right, but even more incredible when they come together to make the most perfect meal of the year.
But what’s this? It looks like I might have missed one. Yep… there, nestled quietly among the glitz and glamour of the garlicky buttered peas and that sumptuous cranberry sauce, is the “forgotten” side. The one that can get overlooked when you’re spooning dollops of this and that onto your plate.
Mashed potatoes, and I love them very, very much.
Now, this isn’t a Thanksgiving-only kind of thing. With most Americans eating over 125 pounds of potatoes per year, chances are some of those spuds come in mashed form. And why not? They’re comforting, they’re filling, they’re ever-so-delicious – they’re just perfect. And they’re so cost-effective! Even with food prices skyrocketing all over the place potatoes are still fairly inexpensive; along with their versatility, they make for perfect bare bones eating.
But sometimes all that rich, velvety goodness can come with a lot of added fat & calories from delicious things like cream and butter and cheese. With the amount of damage I can do to a Thanksgiving spread, it’s good to have options that are slightly less evil than their richer counterparts.
You’ll notice that these look quite different from the usual Thanksgiving offering. They’re lighter, have skins and greens floating in them – definitely not the creamy, rich-looking mashed potatoes so many of us adore. But they’re still 100% delicious and if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself turning to these more often than not, because they’re so different. Made with zero dairy, these mashed potatoes get their flavor from chicken or veggie broth, garlic, and plenty of tasty scallions. And while cream and butter and all that other good stuff is wicked awesome, sometimes they mask the taste of the actual potato. I like the way potatoes taste when they’re mostly naked. This is a good way to enjoy that flavor without having something completely bland.
So… what’s with the skins?
Skins are awesome! I love chomping on potato skins whenever possible, and I don’t mean just the sports bar kind. They’re packed with nutrition (the most nutritious part of the potato, mind you), and help you get in some extra fiber. And again, with everything that’ll be going into one’s tum in a couple days, it’s nice to have all the help you can get. Combined with the slightly crunch scallions, and you have some fun texture to enjoy as well.
In the end, you’ll probably end up adding a bit of butter before digging into these (I know I do), but don’t feel too badly about it. There’s a big difference between a small pat of butter and a small pat of butter on top of uber-rich and creamy mashed potatoes. I enjoy these the most with homemade chicken or turkey gravy, which is fantastic, considering I’ll have the greatest turkey gravy on Earth in less than 72 hours. But again, these aren’t just for Thanksgiving, so put ‘em on regular rotation! They go great with just about any meat or veggie.
And did I mention they’re only about $0.75/serving? Oh, mashed potatoes, I love you so…
Skin-ny Scallion Mashed Potatoes (makes about 6-8 servings; average cost per serving: $0.75)
To get perfectly cooked potatoes, be sure to chop them as uniformly as possible. This way they’ll cook evenly and you won’t have partially cooked chunks to contend with. Also, be sure to save the broth once the potatoes are done cooking. The leftover starch can act as a thickening agent for gravies or thick soups.
3 lbs Russet potatoes
5-6 c chicken or vegetable broth (homemade or store bought both work fine)
1 t finely chopped garlic
1/3 c chopped scallions
Salt & pepper
1. Rinse and scrub the potatoes well, then pat dry. Resist the urge to peel, cut into 1″ chunks, then place in a large saucepan. Pour in the broth (just enough to cover the potatoes) and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
2. Reduce heat slightly to maintain a rolling boil, and cook until they’re fork-tender. When finished cooking, remove potatoes from heat and drain off all but 1-2 tablespoons of broth.
3. Mash the potatoes to your desired consistency, adding reserved broth as needed for a smoother result. Add the chopped garlic & scallions, a bit of salt & pepper (if needed), and stir until completely combined. Serve with the rest of your awesome dinner spread, and enjoy!