Monday, April 17, 2017

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! Our Lord's Resurrection is the high point of Christian history, and the celebration of it is the most wonderful day in our church calendar, isn't it?

But for moms and other family caretakers, Easter Sunday can mean a LOT of work. A special day at church, followed by a dinner to celebrate the wonder of the season.

Not to mention the task of getting everyone dressed up in their finest!

Long ago, I learned the secret to making these demanding days work. You have to have two tools at your fingertips:

1) Learn how to plan ahead.

2) Learn how to prepare.

Planning ahead is simple - as long as you understand the logistics of what you need to accomplish. For this Easter Sunday, we had committed to providing four breakfast casseroles for the annual brunch at church, and then after church the family (all adults) were coming to our house for a turkey dinner with the fixings.

So I made my list and started preparing by doing my grocery shopping on Friday morning.

Saturday afternoon, I started to prep the ingredients for the items that needed to be cooked on Sunday morning.

On Sunday, before church, I baked the casseroles. Then before we walked out the door, I put our turkey dinner in the oven.

But what about the mashed potatoes? A turkey dinner just isn't a turkey dinner without mashed potatoes!

Here's my secret: I made the potatoes on Saturday afternoon.

YES! Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

serves 8-12
Good for special dinners or potlucks!

5 pounds potatoes
8 ounce package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons butter

Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through and ready to mash.

Meanwhile, cut the cream cheese into cubes, and place in your mixing bowl along with the butter.

When the potatoes are cooked (you want them slightly overcooked), drain them well, and put them in your mixing bowl.

Let them sit in there for a few minutes to melt the butter and cream cheese, and then whip. But be careful! You only want to whip them for a short time - maybe one minute - because you don't want it to become a starchy lump!

Now is the fun part. You can refrigerate the potatoes for up to three days (how is that for make-ahead sweetness?), but you need to find a good container.

If you have room for it, you could put the potatoes straight into your crock pot and stick that in the fridge. 

Or you can do like I do - I love those crock pot liners, so I put the potatoes in the lined crock pot, then close the liner, remove it, and stick that in the fridge.

Or you can put it in a separate bowl, and then put it in your crock pot in the morning.

However you decide to keep it refrigerated, don't forget to put the potatoes in the crock pot about five hours before you want to eat them.

I like to put a couple more Tablespoons of butter on top, and then set it on low. Now I can forget about the potatoes until the big meal! 

And what does that give me? Peace of mind and more time chatting with the family. Priceless!

What is your favorite food to make ahead?

Don't forget to pre-order Naomi's Hope!


  1. Ruthy, this is BRILLIANT! I'll be doing this at our next holiday meal!!

    Sounds like you had a wonderful day! Our Easter was fantastic. All the kids were home, plus my mom was able to join us.

    1. All the kids AND your mom? You had a wonderful day! There is nothing more precious than time spent together, is there?

      And I'll forgive you for mistaking me for Ruthy. I'll just bask in the glow. :)

    2. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.... Jan, you are the sweetest thing! I love it! :)

      Missy, I love you, too!!!

  2. Wow -- fancy schmancy mashed potatoes!!! And what a brilliant idea to make them ahead and heat them up in the crockpot! How did you think if doing that?

    Being a vegetarian, making ahead can be a bit tricky. Our family holiday standby is Tofu Stir Fry. (I can hear you groaning!) It's a lot of prep work so we've started to do the chopping and dicing of veggies ahead of the big day. Plus my daughter whips up her yummy sauces ahead of time. We even cube the tofu. So the day of it's just marinating the tofu for a bit and tossing stuff into the pan to heat up. Oh and cooking up the rice. But we use a rice cooker for that so that's easy peasy.

    But this year we cheated and went to our favourite vegetarian restaurant. Had the best tofu burgers ever!!!! And such decadent veggie dishes. And the desserts were to die for. We all took skinny slices of different things and shared around. Easiest holiday dinner ever. LOL

    1. I'm not groaning about your tofu stir fry, but just don't make me eat it!!! :)

      Prepping the veggies is a time-consuming chore, so doing all that work ahead of time is the best way to do it. They stay nice and fresh in the fridge until you need them, and you have more time to spend with family instead of in the kitchen. Win/win!

      But your alternative this year (I won't call it a cheat!) sounds great, too. I have to admit, when I perused the restaurant ads for Easter brunch on Saturday morning, I was tempted to go that route... (but don't tell my family!)

      And the recipe idea? It's from my favorite Crock Pot cookbook - "Fix-It and Forget-It." I changed a couple things in the recipe to fit my family's tastes, but it's basically the same. That cookbook is my go-to for slow cooker recipes.

    2. Kav, the restaurant idea ROCKS! I love going out now and again, just to not have to cook... to have food brought to me! YOWZA!!! :)

      I'm a big fan of that, darling!

  3. I must try this! And I must buy some of those Crock Pot bags. This is such a smart, smart idea.... and I've never been able to make reheated potatoes taste quite right, but there are only so many hours in a day... and I'm a fan of trying this!

    I've got a couple of grandkids who are now MASHED POTATO LOVERS.... so this is clutch, Jan. Thank you for the great idea!

  4. I an so craving mashed potatoes right now!!!!!!

    Easter was a bit unusual around here. Daughter number one is in Africa, I've been under the weather with this cold/allergy/bronchitis mess, hubby wanted Chicken soup - hello chicken soup for Easter????

    Not your typical Easter here.

  5. Jan, what kind of mixer is that?? Never seen one like it before. I have my old fashioned hand-held one I use or I also have the metal hand masher thingie. Never thought about making these up ahead! I'll have to try doing that here soon :-) I need more crockpot ideas as I love make ahead meals I can just stick in there in the morning and have a home-cooked meal in the evening! So easy.