No-Boil Mashed Potatoes & Potato and Herb Rolls

Today’s delicious dish – No-Boil Mashed Potatoes

My family loves mashed potatoes, but (though I hate to admit it) sometimes I don’t make mashed potatoes just because it seems like a lot of work and time to boil a big pot of water, peel and chop potatoes, and cook them until tender.  So I decided to find a new way.

First I tried microwaving the potatoes until they were soft.  That was an adequate technique, but the potato skins became thick and hard and dry, and the potatoes sometimes dried out too.  Nonetheless, it was easy to scoop the flesh out and proceed to make mashed potatoes.

Then I thought of wrapping them up in parchment paper as a way to keep the moisture inside.  This works beautifully, and an added benefit is that the skins slip off very easily, although the hot potatoes have to be handled with care.  I think this is the easiest and best way to make mashed potatoes.  If you had, for some reason, a shortage of stove burners, or if you didn’t have a stovetop at all, this method would allow you to make yummy homemade mashed potatoes.

Waxed paper will also work to cook potatoes this way, but I prefer parchment paper because I think it does a better job of containing steam and keeping the potatoes moist.  Don’t use plastic wrap – the cooking time is long enough that plastic wrap might melt, and there are concerns about components of the plastic leaching into food.

If you aren’t worried about calories and fat, you can substitute whole milk for 2% milk.  And if you are trying to limit fat, feel free to substitute fat-free milk for 2% milk.  If you don’t want to use sour cream, it may be omitted – just use an extra 1/4 cup milk in its place.  I think the sour cream adds a tangy richness, so I encourage you to try it.  If you would rather use fresh parsley for this dish, substitute about 3 Tablespoons of fresh minced parsley in place of 1 Tablespoon of dried parsley flakes.

No-Boil Mashed Potatoes

  • 5-6 russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Wrap each potato in a piece of parchment paper to make a cylinder.  Twist ends to seal packet.  Small potatoes can be made into packets of 2 potatoes.  Microwave 15 minutes and let stand 10 minutes.  Potatoes should be very soft.  If they are not, microwave for another 2 minutes and let stand until cool enough to handle.  Carefully unwrap potatoes, strip off potato skins, cut potatoes into large hunks, and place in mixing bowl.

Microwave milk until hot (about 1 1/2 minutes).   Add hot milk, butter, pepper, salt, and parsley flakes to potatoes in mixing bowl.  Beat together to make mashed potatoes.  Beat in sour cream until completely combined.  Taste for salt and pepper and correct, if necessary.  Keep warm until ready to serve.

Makes about 5 1/3 cups mashed potatoes, or 8 servings (each about 2/3 cup)

Nutritional information (per serving): 210 calories, 9.5 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 3 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams sugars, 2 gram fiber, 25 milligrams cholesterol, 501 milligrams sodium

 Cost per serving:   50 cents

 Preparation time: 40 minutes


What happens next?

It is hard to imagine that there could possibly be such a thing as too much mashed potatoes.  They are a lovely leftover with any number of meats and vegetables, and I have been known to eat mashed potatoes by themselves for a meal.  Mashed potatoes will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator, and they can be frozen too.  When thawed, there may be some separation of the liquid and solid components, but that disappears after a good stir.

I usually put aside a serving of these flavorful No-Boil Mashed Potatoes to use in the following dinner roll recipe.  The mashed potatoes contribute to a spongy, squeezy texture inside the rolls, and impart a subtle potato flavor.


Another day’s delicious dish – Potato and Herb Rolls

I adore homemade breads so much that I don’t mind the time and work required to make them.  A crusty homemade roll with butter is definitely my idea of food bliss!

For many years, I was very intimidated about the idea of making yeast dough; it seemed like alchemy.  Then my good friend Kim taught me all about yeast breads by letting me assist her in making them.  Later I got a good stand mixer, which allowed me to not have to deal with the sticky and messy phase of the dough.  Now I don’t hesitate to make yeast breads – all that is really required is a warm place for the dough to rise and more time than you might think you will need.

In this recipe, the liquid part of the dough includes a serving of leftover No-Boil Mashed Potatoes and a good amount of dried herbs.  These rustic rolls are crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, with a nice herby aroma and flavor.  They are fairly firm and flat, and can be easily sliced open to make wonderful little sandwich buns.

If you prefer rolls that have a larger proportion of soft insides, divide the dough into 9 pieces and bake the rolls in a buttered 8” x 8” pan.  The rolls will be tall and squishy soft.

As always, feel free to use whole or fat-free milk in place of 2%.  If you don’t have honey, you can substitute regular granulated sugar.  If you don’t want to use wheat germ, you can substitute the same amount of whole wheat flour – and if you don’t have whole wheat flour, just increase the all-purpose flour by that amount.  If you don’t have all the dried seasonings, you can leave one or two out, but should consider increasing the amount of those you do have.  The parsley flakes don’t contribute a lot of flavor, but they do add lovely green specks to the rolls, so they are worth using.  And if you like, you can skip all the seasonings and make plain potato rolls – you will need to add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the liquid mixture.

If you don’t have a serving of No-Boil Mashed Potatoes saved, you can still make this recipe.  Mix up about 2/3 cup of instant mashed potatoes according to the package directions, adding a Tablespoon each of butter, milk, and sour cream, and a teaspoon of dried parsley flakes.  Allow to stand for a few minutes, and then proceed with the recipe.

Potato and Herb Rolls

  • 1 serving (about 2/3 cup) No Boil Mashed Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 package (a scant Tablespoon) yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm (almost hot) water
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Place No Boil Mashed Potatoes, milk, honey, and seasonings in a microwave-safe bowl.    Cover and microwave 2 minutes.  Whisk together until completely combined.  Set aside, uncovered.

In a small bowl, whisk together yeast and warm water, scrape down bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes.

In mixing bowl, beat together yeast mixture, wheat germ, egg, mashed potato mixture, and 1 cup flour until completely combined.  Scrape down bowl.

If using a mixer, switch to dough hook.  Add 1 more cup of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, kneading well after each.  Knead in remaining 1 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to make a smooth, stretchy dough that is not too sticky.  If more flour is needed, add it one Tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.

Place dough in a large lightly-greased bowl and cover with lightly greased waxed paper.  Cover waxed paper with a towel and put the bowl in a warm place.  Allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours (the dough should double in volume).  Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and smash it flat.  Form dough into a long cylinder and divide into 12 equal pieces.

Use butter to grease a 9” x 13” baking pan.  Shape each piece of dough into a ball as follows:  pat lightly with flour; press flat; pull edges toward center to form a ball; cup dough ball in palm of hand; move around dough ball, stretching and pulling edges toward center, keeping a smooth rounded top on the dough ball; roll top surface across counter to smooth it out.  Pat dough lightly with flour if it becomes sticky as you work with it.  Arrange dough balls in buttered pan, smooth side up, in a 3 by 4 design, leaving equal amounts of space between dough balls and from edges of pan.

Allow rolls to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.  Turn on oven to 375 degrees and bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, until tops are nicely browned.  Turn out of pan and separate rolls.

Makes 12 rolls.

Nutritional information (per roll):  185 calories, 3 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 5 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams sugars, 1 grams fiber, 21 milligrams cholesterol, 110 milligrams sodium

 Cost per roll:   25 cents  

 Preparation time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

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