Potatoes are a staple item on most Christmas dinner menus. Here are 10 ways to shake up this traditional Christmas dinner side dish.
1) Basic Mashed Potatoes may seem like an obvious choice for Christmas dinner, but if you haven’t made your Christmas dinner potatoes this way in a long time it may be a refreshing change from other potato side dishes with a heavier flavor.
2) Garlic Mashed Potatoes are a quick and easy way to kick up the flavor of regular mashed potatoes without having to spend a fortune. Just toss a few cloves of oiled and salted garlic in your oven for 10 minutes while the turkey, ham, or roast is baking and add it to your normal mashed potatoes recipe in the mashing step and you get a simple but delightful Christmas dinner side dish.
3) Mashed Potatoes with Carrots or Parsnips are flavorful way to add a little color to your Christmas dinner potatoes. Boil, steam, or bake the carrots and parsnips along with the potatoes and proceed as you normally would for regular mashed potatoes. It’s as easy as that!
4) Kreztin is an old variation on ideas 2 & 3. For each large potato you cook add in half a large carrot, half of a large parsnip, and 2 roasted cloves of garlic. Mash them the same way you would for basic mashed potatoes, adding butter, milk, or whatever you prefer to use. This Christmas dinner potato recipe is so rich in flavor you’ll find yourself using very little gravy on them, if you use any at all!
5) A Basic Baked Potato is another no-brainer, yet so few people think of it as an option for Christmas dinner. The reason for that is that when we think of baked potatoes we think of the fact that they’re one of the most unhealthy foods we can possibly eat. The truth is, while potatoes are high in starch, it isn’t the potato that’s so bad for us. It’s all of the things we put on them that are unhealthy.
When we serve baked potatoes for Christmas dinner, however, we don’t need to put out all of those unhealthy toppings. The table will already be loaded down with flavorful foods and toppings. We put out butter for rolls and breads, and don’t forget that there will be gravy. The benefits of serving baked potatoes for Christmas dinner is that they are naturally portion controlled, and each guest can decide what they will, or will not add to them.
6) A Twice Baked Potato requires more effort than a basic baked potato but it offers you, as the cook, more control over what your guests are eating. Simply bake the potatoes as normal, then let them cool enough to handle. Carefully cut them in half and scoop out the middles. Mash and mix the middles with the seasonings or additives of your choice, then pipe or heap them back into their skins for a quick second baking. If seasoned properly, a twice baked potato won’t require any gravy or additional butter or salt at the table.
7) Twice Baked Potato with Sweet Potato Filling is a great way to shake up the idea of the twice baked potato for Christmas dinner! Following the same steps as you would for a regular twice baked potato, also steam and mash 1/3 the weight in skinned sweet potatoes. This not only offers the flavor and color benefits of the sweet potatoes, but also the nutritional benefits.
Another really nice thing about this recipe idea is that it combines two traditional Christmas dinner flavors into one, which can also reduce the number of side dishes or recipes you have to make.
8) Garlic Roasted Potatoes are a healthy and flavorful alternative to mashed or baked potatoes. Skin and cube your potatoes, then toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt, minced garlic, and pepper to taste (optional). Bake on a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet, flipping the potatoes halfway through the baking, and serve in bowl. The garlic will roast along with the potatoes, adding a wonderful taste that will reduce your guests’ desire to add anything else.
9) Herb Roasted Potatoes work along the same principle as garlic roasted potatoes, but with a twist. Before tossing the potatoes with olive oil you first flavor the oil with fresh herbs, like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. You can do this ahead of time by putting your herbs and oil into a bottle a few weeks before you intend to use them, Or, you can use a hand mixer or blender to puree the herbs into the oil then strain it if working at the last minute. Using the second option will bruise the olive oil, which will slightly change it’s flavor, but not by enough to make a huge difference as long as you do it within minutes before adding it to your potatoes.
10) Potato Pancakes are another idea for simplicity and portion control. Topped with an attractive green bean medley they can also be a very elegant way to serve a more formal, pre-plated Christmas dinner. The rule of thumb for potato pancakes is to add one egg per cup of prepared potato mash. You can use basically any mashed potato recipe you would use to make very stiff mashed potatoes. 1/2 of a cup of prepared potato pancake batter per pancake usually yields a decent sized potato pancake.
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