Steak was requested for dinner so we were talking about what we could make as a side dish. We stumbled on Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs. This appealed to Little Chef A because she loves cheese in her mashed potatoes, if there isn’t gravy.
This recipe calls for 4 pounds of potatoes. That would make way too much for my family. We we are not fans of leftovers because we usually forget to use them! To solve the problem of wasting food later, and taking up room in the fridge I try to only make what we eat in one meal. We had to figure out how many potatoes is 2 pounds (since we are cutting the recipe in half). I looked up online and found “On average, 1 lb. of white potatoes = 3 med. potatoes = 3 cups grated potatoes = 2 cups cubed potatoes = 1-3/4 cup mashed.” Therefore, Little Chef A chose out 6 medium potatoes to peel. “I’m going slow, trying not to cut myself.” I had to show her which part of the potato peeler actually cuts. “Ahhh!” she said as the second potato slipped out of her hand into the garbage can! She decided she was going to hold on tight so that didn’t happen again. (The potato stayed in the garbage and she got a new one.)
After the third potato went into the garbage as well, we got out the other potato peeler. Little Chef A thought it was a lot easier because the “blade is not going sideways.” No other potatoes slipped into the garbage using this peeler.
I thought Little Chef A might be strong enough to use the mandolin by herself to slice the potatoes. It would be a lot faster and safer then using a knife. However, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. She had a hard time applying enough force to move the guard up and down to cut. It quite often got stuck on the blade. She was getting pretty frustrated so I ended up putting my hand on top of hers and doing it together.
I had her get a fork and test the doneness. The potatoes were drained which scared her, not the potatoes but the steam! She poured the potatoes into the collander just fine, but didn’t know the hot steam billows upward and right in her face.
After that scare the potatoes were returned to the same pot to mash. “It’s harder then I thought.” she said. I had to explain pressing all the way down to the bottom of the pan, not just to smash the top layer of potatoes.
Next, the milk and the melted butter were added.
After stirring a bit the parmesan and mozzarella cheese was also added along with salt and pepper.
The potatoes were then put in the sprayed baking dish with my assistance. The pot was too heavy too lift and pour and scoop out. That is a complicated maneuver that we will need to work on building up those muscles. Instead of using bread crumbs that we did not have Little Chef A mixed panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese together. The mixture was then put on top of the potatoes. Since this was prepared a few hours ahead of time Little Chef A put in covered in the refrigerator until it was time to cook. The Little Chefs enjoyed this recipe.
For my review, I was completely wrong about this being easy. It seemed with every step there were additional problems. None were because of the recipe, I believe the problems came from her lack of experience. I do love this recipe because it can be made ahead of time. Cooking with kids takes A LOT of time and patience. Dinner is not frequently on the table at what used to be our standard time. We are ALWAYS eating late these days. For a recipe to be prepared ahead of time and can be popped in the oven to cook is wonderful for those days you need dinner to be on time.
Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs
Giada De Laurentiis
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs
Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return the potatoes to the same pot and mash well. Mix in the milk and melted butter. Mix in the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Stir the bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the mashed potatoes. Recipe can be prepared up to this point 6 hours ahead of time; cover and chill.
Bake, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.