My first experience with pre made mashed potatoes was back in 2004 after I closed my small restaurant and went to work in the food department of a small grocery store that was selling daily soups and lunches and hot food to go which was exactly what I had attempted to do. For a lot of reasons I was forced to close and they played a part in it. I thought if they helped put me out of business maybe I should take my cooking skills and work for them.
Since I boiled potatoes and mashed them fresh to a rich creaminess like home made I figured they would as well. Nope. They had a supplier that sold the mashed potatoes in a bag, frozen, and you steamed them (bag and all) in a huge pot of water. My first thought was that they could not be any good at all. I was wrong. They were pretty good.
Then in the last few years I found a consumer size pre made potato and other potato products called Simply Potatoes® Products. Generally they cost around $3.69 for a 28 oz. container. They are marked down to a reasonable price of $2.50 and are perfect for what I want to make for dinner. The whole container is enough for four people.
Another plus for our dinner tonight is that our IGA store in town has offered us a FREE rotisserie chicken based on our points. SCORE. The nice head of orange cauliflower on sale for $2.99 will be the side vegetable. I am excited for this slightly different potato side dish.
I am using 8 ounce ramekin dishes which is a perfect serving size.
- 28 oz. pkg. pre made mashed potatoes (OR your left-over mashed)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3 tbsp. softened butter + 2 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 tbsp. half and half or heavy cream
- 1/4 cup crushed panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + 1 tbsp. for the topping
- 1 tbsp. dried chives
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooking spray
- Preheat your oven to 375°.
- Spray the ramekins with cooking spray.
- Put the potatoes in a large bowl and smash around with a large spoon. Microwave for 2 - 4 minutes.
- Next add into the potatoes the sour cream and softened butter with the chives and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Mix well to incorporate.
- In a separate bowl combined the crushed panko bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and the melted butter. Mix well. This is your topping.
- Fill each ramekin with the potato mixture to the top of the dish and smooth with a small spatula or butter knife. Add the topping. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes until hot and the crumb topping is golden brown. If you make these earlier in the day keep them refrigerated until you are ready to bake.
- Serve along side any protein: poultry, fish, beef or pork, lamb or veal.