Our “Foodie” Staycation – Smashing Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday morning (or did enjoy yours if you’re ahead of the States).   It is going to be another hot one here in Michigan, temperature at 10:30 a.m. is already 91 degrees (with a “feels like” at 98 degrees) our  expected high today is 99 degrees.  The air is so heavy it really is hard to breath when you go out.

It was so hot yesterday, the air so heavy, Walt decided that we were having dinner out he didn’t want to stand over a hot grill.  We went to Chili’s!!  Yes we did…and it was pretty good and nice and cool.

If you are one of our Michigan readers or in another state that is experiencing temps in the high double digits to triple digits, please remember to check on the elderly and the young.  Don’t let them stay outside for long periods of time, make sure everyone is getting plenty of fluids (not soda or fruit drinks) like water.  Also make sure your pets have ample water and a cool area to retreat to.

And I cannot stress enough!!

  • DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED IN YOUR VEHICLE. 
  • MAKE SURE ALL CAR DOORS ARE LOCKED SO THAT CHILDREN CANNOT ENTER THEM WHEN PLAYING OUTSIDE.
  • DO NOT LEAVE LADDERS IN THE POOL…A TWO YEAR OLD BOY DROWNED YESTERDAY AFTER THE FAMILY WENT INSIDE THE HOUSE AND HE WANDERED BACK OUTSIDE AND UP THE LADDER AND INTO THE POOL, NO ONE REALIZED HE WAS GONE!
  • DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED IN THE POOL – FOR ANY REASON OR ANY LENGTH OF TIME!

Sorry for the little sermon I just get so frustrated by people who don’t think!!  Walt and I have a hand off system with our grandchildren even if it’s in the house we make sure that the other one knows the grandbaby is leaving one of us to go to the other one.  Everyday I read and listen to the news and hear about children drowning, being left in vehicles or found in vehicles that were left open.  It breaks my heart.

Ok, I feel better now….kind of….so back to our foodie adventure!

So I have to say I admire all the bloggers who:

  • Take beautiful photo’s
  • Take professional looking photo’s even though they are not a professional photographer
  • Remember and/or make the time to take a photo’s as they assemble their recipe
  • Maybe aren’t great photographer’s but at least they can take a decent photo’s remember to take photo’s for their blog before it’s too late and the food is gone

I fall into a category all my own…..I can take a decent food photo, a photo that looks like it was taken by someone who said “hey, I need a food photo” and snapped it, unfortunately sometimes I forget to take the photo as I get involved in cooking and baking.

I really thought I took a photo of my Loaded Mashed Potatoes while they were still in the casserole dish.  Sad to say…I did not.  I did though take a photo of our steak with the potatoes so that is the one I will share with you today.  The steak was featured in a previous blog “New York Strip Steak With Red Eye BBQ  Sauce.”

I can never make just a basic mashed potato.  You know, potatoes, butter, milk, salt/pepper.  Ever since I began cooking I have always added American Cheese slices to my mashed potatoes.  I know where I got this desire and idea from….it’s from my childhood, watching my grandmother’s and my mom add american cheese to the potatoes they made for pierogi stuffing.  No milk, just sautéed onions and the cheese.  As a kid I used to love waiting to lick the bowl, almost like kids do with cake batter.

My son John will tell you that my mashed potatoes are the best and he loves it when we have a meal that includes mashed potatoes.  Having said that, John also likes my Cheesy potatoes (also previously posted as “Taters For Tiffany”) and the make ahead mashed potatoes that I made this past Christmas with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, butter and lots of other good stuff.  So I guess it’s safe to say that John just prefers any potatoes his momma makes, confirming that we truly are a meat and potatoes family.

I wanted to serve a potato, other than a baked potato, with the steaks but also wanted to make something that I could prepare ahead of time (earlier in the day) then throw them in the oven to heat right before dinner.  This is not a recipe from any given recipe site, it was created by me adding things that are tasty and things we like.

I will give you a measurement guide but because your taste and volumes will differ, it really is just a guide.  These potatoes really are delicious and I prefer them to a traditional loaded baked potato.

Nancy’s Loaded Mashed Potatoes (Perfect “Made Ahead” Dish)

LOADED MASHED POTATOES

 What You’ll Need

3.5 – 4 lbs.          Potatoes (I used Russet)

1  – 8 oz. bag      Shredded Colby/Monterey Jack Cheese

2 tbsp                 Butter – cubed

8 oz                    Cream Cheese – cubed

1/2 – 3/4 Cup   Ranch Dressing (I used Kraft)

6 Slices              Cooked Bacon – chopped into bits (I don’t like bacon bits in a bottle)

3-4                      Green onion – sliced (including some of the greens)

Directions

  • Cook potatoes until fork inserts easily – drain and place in big bowl
  • Add butter, cream cheese and cheese – Cover with a lid and let melt
  • Add Ranch dressing…start out with a half cup
  • Mash potatoes – adding more Ranch dressing as needed
  • Transfer to a baking dish
  • Sprinkle top with bacon bits
  • Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes (a little longer if you make ahead and refrigerate)
  • Remove from oven, sprinkle green onion over top of potatoes
  • Serve immediately

These potatoes are delicious even reheated if you have any left.  I served them the next morning with eggs over easy, it was an awesome breakfast!!

Go ahead…. play with your food, you’ll be amazed at how creative you can be!!

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