Mashed Potato Bar Will Steal the Show at Thanksgiving

mashed potatoesTurkey or Tofurky, pie or cake, there are plenty of dishes that can be debated when it comes to a Thanksgiving feast. But there is one item that is just a given -- potatoes. Warm, comforting, and satisfying, mashed potatoes are a must-have at any Thanksgiving celebration ... or at least any one I want to attend.

There are so many ways to serve them up, it can be a bit stressful trying to decide upon the perfect recipe. But there's an easy way to stop the stress -- just make more. There's no reason to limit your guests to a single spud choice, wow them with a whole spectrum of spuds with your own mashed potato bar. Here are five varieties with which to stock your bar:

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1. Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Simple, but flavorful, this basic recipe from Alton Brown is my all-time favorite. I up the garlic a little bit, but love the hint of Parmesan cheese and simplicity of this dish.

3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 ounces grated Parmesan

Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.

Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

2. Smoky & Cheesy Buttermilk Baked Mashed Potatoes The smoked paprika in these give them a richness that blends perfectly with the cheese and creaminess of the potatoes.  

3. Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Orange Juice Don't forget the sweet spuds. Full of nutritional benefits, they are delicious and provide a colorful pop amidst the white stuff. There's a great step-by-step video at eHow if you like the visual assistance as well.

4. Fried Bacon Mashed Potatoes Leave it to Paula Deen to come up with this decadent dish. I love that it's served inside a loaf of bread -- more carbs!

5. Spicy Mashed Potatoes Turn up the heat a little with this recipe that contains goat cheese and jalapenos. Yum!

What's your favorite way to serve mashed potatoes?


Image via Glory Foods/Flickr

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