Weeknight Comfort: Making Mashed Potatoes a Meal

Can mashed potatoes really qualify as a meal by themselves? If you mix in enough other ingredients, we think they certainly can! Mashed potatoes are really just like polenta, rice, or any other starchy side, and they make the perfect foil for just about anything we have in the fridge. Here are a few of our favorites extras!

We realized mashed potatoes could be a meal unto themselves when we got hungry while making a batch of Twice Baked Potatoes. A few bites of the potato mix in our bowl and we were hooked. So simple and easy - why bother with stuffing them back into potato skins?! We just shredded the skins, mixed them in, and called it dinner.

Since then, we've started making Ultimate Mashed Potatoes more regularly. Our favorite is a mix of sausage, caramelized onions, caramelized mushrooms, and a teaspoon or two of smoked paprika. A sprinkle of cheddar on top of the bowl rounds out all the flavors.

We've also made more of a hash using cabbage, leftover ground beef, and a little mustard. We can make a free-form shepherd's pie with the same leftover ground beef by adding peas and carrots instead. Red peppers and artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower, pulled pork and beans - whatever combination of veggies and leftovers we have in the fridge. Get the idea?!

This is rarely a meal that we plan ahead for, but that we can always make if we're lacking inspiration for something else. To make the potatoes a little healthier for these non-special occasion weeknights, we also use yogurt and some of the starchy cooking water instead of butter and cream.

Is this a meal in your house too?

Related: Food Science: Why Mashed Potatoes and Blenders Don't Mix

(Image: Flickr member Brisbane Falling licensed under Creative Commons)