How to Elevate Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of the simplest side dishes to make. It is a fantastic accompaniment to both meat and fish dishes and is a popular dinnertime choice in many homes. Not only do most people know how to make mashed potatoes, it is a good choice for people who have a limited budget. However, most people do not want to eat the same things over and over again, so it makes sense to change the way that you serve up this accompaniment if you can. Here are some ideas for elevating mashed potatoes. 

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

Although I am sure that most people already know how to make mashed potatoes, I am just adding brief instructions for the benefit of those who don’t.

  1. Wash and peel potatoes then cut into quarters.
  2. Put in a pan and cover with water, add a little salt.
  3. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Cook until potatoes are soft enough to easily push fork prongs into.
  5. Drain potatoes thoroughly before returning to a pan and putting over a low heat.
  6. Add a large knob of butter, a dash of milk, and season with pepper.
  7. Use a potato masher to make the mashed potatoes.
  8. For really creamy and smooth potatoes, you can then whisk with a whisk or a fork if you wish.

Adding Flavours

Cheesy mash– This is something my children love and is really easy to make just by adding grated cheese and stirring through.

Horseradish mash– This variation works best with dishes such as steak, roast beef dinners, or steak pie. Just add a few heaped tablespoons of horseradish to the mashed potatoes and stir through.

Mustard mash– There are several variations of this depending on which type of mustard you use. Just add three to four teaspoons of wither English, French, wholegrain, or Dijon mustard. This works well with both beef and ham dishes.

Herby mash– Add two teaspoons of dried mixed herbs or a herb that complements the rest of the meal, i.e. rosemary goes well with lamb, parsley is great with fish dishes etc.

Garlic mash– This works well with most meals but don’t just add raw garlic to the mash. Instead of adding a knob of butter to the mashed potatoes, melt it in a pan over a medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent the butter from burning and then add crushed garlic. Cook for a few minutes before transferring the garlic butter to the mashed potatoes and stirring through.

Onion mash- Similarly, you can add finely chopped onion or spring onions (scallions) to mash if you cook them in the butter first and then transfer.

Other Things to Make with Mashed Potatoes

Princess potatoes- Make the mashed potatoes and then use a piping bag to create swirls of mashed potato on a greased or lined baking tray. Cook in the oven on a high heat until the edges of the potatoes are turning golden and crispy.

Tuna fishcakessee the recipe.

 Bubble and squeaksee the recipe.

Corned beef fritterssee the recipe.

These are just some ideas for completely transforming mashed potatoes into a new dish with different flavors. If you have any other ways of adding flavor to your mashed potatoes or ways of creating a dish with them, then feel free to add your ideas into the comments box below.

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RECIPE: Easy Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce

tomato and basil sauce

Italian food is a favourite in my house and I enjoy cooking this cuisine because it consists of simple ingredients and flavours. Italian food is also usually really quick and easy to make and well-suited to those who are cooking on a budget. One of the easiest things to make is pasta in a tomato and basil sauce. This is something that you can also liven up by adding a vast range of ingredients to this basic dish. Making your own sauce for the pasta is simple and far more delicious than anything you can buy out of a jar. Here is an easy recipe for tomato and basil pasta sauce.

Ingredients for Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce

  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • A handful of fresh basil, torn
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the crushed garlic and cook for one minute.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, and sugar to the pan. 
  4. Increase the heat to bring the tomato sauce to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes.
  6. Add the torn basil and season with salt and black pepper.
  7. Cook for another two minutes and then stir into cooked, drained pasta.

 

RECIPE: Easy Tomato, Courgette, and Bell Pepper Soup

tomato soup

Even a culinary novice can whip together a soup as they are one of the easiest dishes to make. This tomato, courgette, and bell pepper soup is quick and simple to make and is perfect as either a starter or a family meal served with bread or croutons. It is also equally as suitable as a warming dish in the winter months or as a refreshing dish during summer. This soup is also cheap to make, packed full of nutrients, and a great vegetarian option. Here is how to make tomato, courgette, and bell pepper soup. 

Ingredients for Tomato, Courgette and Bell Pepper Soup

  • 3 medium courgettes (zucchini)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Handful fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Sour cream or creme fraiche for serving
  • Olive oil for cooking

How to Make Tomato, Courgette and Bell Pepper Soup

  1. Chop the onions, peppers, and courgettes then crush the garlic.
  2. Heat some olive oil over a medium heat in a large pan.
  3. Add the chopped onions and peppers and cook until softened.
  4. Add the crushed garlic and chopped courgettes.
  5. Sprinkle over the vegetable stock cubes and add enough boiled water over the vegetables to cover. 
  6. Bring to a simmer and then add the tinned tomatoes.
  7. Season the soup with salt and black pepper to taste.
  8. Take most of the fresh basil and roughly tear before adding to the pan. Save some basil as a garnish for the top of the soup.
  9. Cook the soup for 20 minutes then remove from heat and leave to cool for a while.
  10. Blend the soup, with either a blender or a hand blender, to your preferred consistency. 
  11. Serve into soup bowls and add a swirl of either soured cream of creme fraiche and a sprig of basil.
  12. Serve the soup alone or with croutons or warm crusty bread. 

Tips

Tomatoes- Use fresh tomatoes if you prefer.

Garlic– the garlic is optional and just adds an extra level of flavour. If you are not a fan of garlic, leave this ingredient out. 

Spice it up- If you are a fan of spice, it is simple to add some spiciness to this dish. Either add a chopped chilli or some paprika to the dish; both work well.

Peppers- You can add any colour you like. I only use one red and one yellow for the colour.