Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lighten Up... Healthy Garlic Basil Mashed Potatoes

There is something special about mashed potatoes.  For many of us they remind us of holidays, family, and are the ultimate comfort food.  The only setback... most are full of heavy cream and about a pound of butter and that just doesn't make me feel good.  So last night when I opened the pantry and noticed I needed to use up the potatoes, I decided to experiment.  My mission: to create a lightened up version of mashed potatoes that wouldn't make me feel like I spent a days worth of calories in one side dish.  The end result?  Garlic mashed potatoes with fresh basil.  The hardest part... making sure they hit the spot and were as satisfying as those Thanksgiving potatoes.  

Red, yukon, russet, fingerling... potatoes in themselves are very nutritious and can complement all types of meals.  One small potato (about the size of a woman's fist) is ~100 calories and is full of vitamins and minerals.  (They are extremely high in Potatssium).  So where did they get their bad rep?  I blame french fries, homefries cooked in bacon fat, and the fatty toppings that so many of us think belong on a potato.  You know what I'm talking about; sour cream, butter, mayonnaise, cheese sauce...  The truth is, it doesn't take much to make a potato taste good.  Just a dash of fresh or dried spices and some olive oil and you're good to go.  So, there is no need to fear the potato.  

By the way... I don't really use recipes when I cook, unless I am baking. These are all rough estimates of what I believe I added to make my recipe!  

"Lighter" Garlic Basil Mashed Potatoes
Serves 6

4 large yukon gold potatoes
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 Tablespoons of light margarine
3/4 cup skim milk
1 tsp powdered garlic
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Slice potatoes into quarters and add to the boiling water.  Cook 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.  Drain off the water and add margarine and milk.  Using an electric beater beat until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix completely.  If your potatoes seem dry add a few teaspoons of olive oil and milk until it is at a good consistency.  

Nutrition Facts: ~115 calories, 3 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fat, 50 mg sodium, 3 g fiber

Aim for a balanced meal:  Serve these potatoes with a lean protein and make half of your plate veggies!!!

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