We are smack dab in the middle of the holiday season and it is making me feel a little crazy because it seems like just yesterday I was decorating last year’s Christmas tree and here it is up and ready to go again! I know everyone always has those “time really flew by” and “it seems like just yesterday” conversations this time of year… but it is SO true. Does that mean I’m getting old? Ugh no. Not ready for that yet!
Anyhoo… when I was home, enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving meal with my family, I looked down at my plate and realized that I had taken about 3 bites of turkey and eaten about 3 pounds of side dishes. I always used to wonder how vegetarians managed to enjoy a food based holiday such as Thanksgiving. But then it hit me. It’s all about the side dishes. So much flavor. So much variety. So many vegetables and carbs and fat. So much happiness on my plate!
Following this grand realization, I collected a few of my favorite side dishes to share this week. Hopefully you’ll find one or two that you’d like to add to your holiday menu! Today we start with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Roasted garlic is the perfect way to punch up the flavor of literally anything, but especially potatoes! The roasting process turns garlic into sweet, soft, mushy amaziness that is absolutely perfect to mash into your potatoes. I like using red skinned potatoes because, hey, you don’t have to peel ’em and I think the color adds some festive flare! I served these guys at my Marathon Dinner last month and they all but disappeared.
- 2.5 lbs red skin potatoes
- 1 head of garlic
- olive oil
- 4 Tbs butter
- 1/4 – 1/2 c half & half
- 1-2 tsp salt
- Potato Masher or Handheld Mixer
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the very top off of a head of garlic to expose the cloves, but don’t worry about peeling away all of the paper. Place the garlic on a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and then wrap the foil into a loose envelope around the garlic. Place in the oven and allow the garlic to roast for 45min-1 hour. You will know it is done because the cloves will turn much darker in color, will be very soft, as well as very fragrant. Allow the garlic to cool a bit, then use a spoon to scoop the cloves out of the head. Mash them together in a bowl and set aside.
Wash and quarter the potatoes, then put them in a large pot and cover with water. Cover the pot and place on the stove top over high heat. Starting the potatoes in cold water actually allows them to cook more evenly, or so I hear. Anyways, that’s how I do it. Bring the water to a boil and allow the potatoes to cook for another ten minutes (longer if needed) or until fork tender. Once cooked through, immediately drain the potatoes in a large colander and return to the hot pot. Add the butter and garlic, and begin mashing with a hand masher or a handheld mixer. Slowly add in the half & half while mashing until the desired creaminess is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve hot.
This isn’t exactly a recipe, just an easy spin on a classic.
Check back all week for more great holiday side dishes!!