Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 MA's Make Ahead Irish Mashed Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving 2012 MA's Make Ahead Irish Mashed Potato Casserole

Mashed potatoes made decadent with cream cheese, roasted garlic, and sour cream. Make them ahead of time, and reheat in the oven or the slow cooker. Great for holiday potlucks, kids having dental work, or just because this is such a great recipe. Thanks, MA!
New photo for 2014! Fresh off the camera from *my* Thanksgiving plate.
In my humble opinion, the best American meal--bar none--is Thanksgiving.  Between November 2010 and February 2011 I made a full-on traditional American Thanksgiving meal three times.  The first time was, no surprise, the 3rd Thursday in November.  The second time was on Christmas day, and if I had my Danish sister-in-law as my sous chef, I would do that whole deal again in a heartbeat (she made it so easy for me!).  The third event was after my spouse returned from a deployment, when I was stuffing him full of all his favorite dishes night after night.

Making a Thanksgiving meal from farm-fresh CSA share ingredients?  I got this.

The first year we joined a CSA there was not much produce left by the time Thanksgiving rolled around.  This was due to the combination of my inexperience in making the most of my CSA vegetables and the fact that the CSA ended the beginning of October.  The second year was much better (see photo) partly because we joined a different CSA with a longer season, partly because my spouse was deployed (different deployment) so we had lots more produce, and partly due to my discovery of food blogs on the internet.  Thanks, Alanna!  That year we planned to spend Thanksgiving at the beach in a rented condo.  I didn't know what all I'd have to work with in the kitchen, so I pre-made a lot of dishes at home.  Here's how it turned out
Yes, I know the colors are crazy.  This was at a beach condo.
As you can see, for me Thanksgiving is all about the sides.  The more side dishes, the better as far as I am concerned!  This year I will again have A Veggie Venture's World's Best Green Bean Casserole. I think it's the only time my kids will eat a mushroom!  The open bag of wild rice in the pantry and the corn I put up from the farm share will combine in Pioneer Woman's Fresh Corn with Wild Rice.  The sweet potatoes from the farm share, and the Swiss chard from my garden--stems, too!--will become Smitten Kitchen's Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin.  My put up packages of onions, celery, carrots, peppers and squash will go into cornbread stuffing.  And I will make MA's Make Ahead Irish Mashed Potato Casserole.  These are my known sides.  But my CSA farmers are delivering the final Fall share two days before Thanksgiving, so there will be some last-minute additions to this list.

The only problem with so many sides is this:  how do you cook them all at the same time?  The recipe I'm sharing is useful because it is made the day before and can be cooked in the oven or the slow cooker, depending on which suits your needs at the time.  It travels well to holiday functions (you can even put the chilled contents into a gallon size zip top bag for transport, then transfer into a crock pot for reheating once you reach work). You can also customize these potatoes any way you like--add bacon, chives, cheese, more garlic . . . whatever you like to make it your own.
I remembered the garlic, salt, and pepper!
Potatoes-see the stick of butter hiding in the bottom left photo?
A clove of roasted garlic is peeping out from under cream cheese.

NOTE:  I created this recipe to be gluten free through my choice of ingredients. Check labels to confirm that your products are also gluten free. Good sources for determining that your products are gluten free can be found here:

MA's Make Ahead Irish Mashed Potato Casserole

adapted from  The Helping Hands Cookbook


  • 5 pounds potatoes (from the farm share, or Yukon golds preferred if you're buying)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 8 Tablespoons) butter or buttery spread
  • 1 box (8 oz) cream cheese, nearing room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 240 ml) sour cream
  • 1 clove roasted garlic (or minced garlic)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • paprika
  • freshly ground pepper


  1. Cut potatoes into large chunks.  I don't peel them though I acknowledge that this means the peels can sometimes get trapped in the masher.  
  2. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 15-20 minutes for me.  Drain, return to pan, and add a stick of butter to potatoes in hot pan.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and roasted garlic together.  Add sour cream, salt, and a few grinds of pepper.  Beat well.  
  4. Stir the now-melted butter into the potatoes, and add a portion of buttery potatoes to the cream cheese/sour cream.  Beat together.  Continue adding more potatoes until you've beaten about 2/3 to 3/4 of the potatoes.  Stir in the remaining potatoes (so you get big lumps! always good in mashed potatoes, not so good in gravy).

If you're going to bake this:

  1. Transfer the potatoes to a 2.5 quart casserole (my oval French White works great).  Sprinkle with paprika.  
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.  
  3. On serving day, remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  4. Bake for  45 minutes or until thoroughly heated. (On Thanksgiving, I take this out of the fridge about about 30 minutes before the turkey comes out and bake it while the turkey is resting and then being carved.)

If you're going to slow cook this:

  1. Transfer to a lidded container or gallon-size zip top bag and refrigerate overnight.  
  2. In the morning, place in a slow cooker crock and heat on Low at least 4 and up to 8 hours. (On Thanksgiving, I take the lid off right before the turkey comes out so that any condensation on the top is dried out by serving time.)

I don't want to say how many actual servings this makes.  The number is shockingly low.  Other people who can't eat their age in pounds of mashed potatoes may get more servings from this. My family licks the beaters on this one!

Time to start clearing out my crisper so I can fit the turkey in there to brine it (try it! saves room in the rest of the fridge!).

What's on your schedule, if you're celebrating Thanksgiving soon?


  1. This looks great, and I love the slow cooker option. I agree that Thanksgiving is all about sides. I'll have to check out that swiss chard and sweet potato dish - maybe my children will tolerate the chard if I sneak it in with their beloved sweet potatoes.

    1. Annemarie, I grew up in the 'burbs eating Swiss chard that we grew in our backyard garden. My mom sautéed it and squirted a little vinegar on top just before serving. As a kid, I must have barely tolerated it. But the first time I got chard in my farm share I (picture this with movie special effects) zoomed back to childhood and had to recreate that simple chard dish.

      Fast forward to present day (more movie special effects). My kids barely tolerate it, but I have hope for their future selves.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Yes! Thanksgiving is all about the sides! Cream cheese, sour cream, and butter? Triple yum!

    1. Christin, I just bought all the ingredients for round 2 of this (round 1 prepared last month is pictured above). My spouse will take it to work later this week. Then I'll do it again next week for real! Good thing I'm still Blitzing!
      Thanks for stopping by!

    2. As a vegetarian, I'm all about the sides, so you are a woman after my own heart (even in Crocs!!). And anything with potatoes, sign me up please.
      So what time will Thanksgiving dinner be served next week? Should I dress up for the occasion? ;)
      I was a veggie eating maniac this summer so I didn't put up anything from the CSA. Also, I don't know how to put things up, so I'll definitely be looking to you for guidance next summer. It's amazing what we can learn from each other.

    3. Meghan, it's funny. Thanksgiving is less than a week away and I have most of what I need for sides, but no turkey. Yet. Nor do I even know who all will be around our table, but probably 2-3 pm is a fine time to show up. ;)
      Last night my spouse and I were debating about ham vs turkey. Other than the gravy factor, I think I'd rather deal with the fallout from a ham bone than a turkey carcass. We may just change it up this year. Thanks for making me feel good that my blog can appeal to vegetarians as well as omnivores!

  3. This is my favorite way to make mashed potatoes!! As a single woman, I have found that you can make a batch, and freeze them into smaller portions. You can also top with some shredded cheddar cheese, just before serving.

    1. Teresa,
      I've never tried to freeze them. Thank you for letting me know it works!
      I think shredded cheese is an awesome idea.
      I appreciate your comments!

  4. Kirsten, potatoes are an absolute must at most dinners in my house (Irish-American husband's decree:), so this recipe is a definite keeper for me. Thanks for stopping by our Happy Holidays Link Party - be sure to join us again this week (beginning on Saturday at 7 pm ET) and every week through the holidays.

    1. Laura,
      Your spouse is a wise one!
      Thanks for hosting!