Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mashed Potato Makeover! A Healthier and Prettier Thanksgiving Side Dish from Cleo Coyle

Beautiful, Nutritious, and Tres Tasty! :)
Cleo Coyle's pretty Autumn Potatoes

BUT FIRST, I HAVE SOME SWEET NEWS - Holiday Grind, which was a Top-9 national mystery bestseller in hardcover last year, is now a Top-4 mystery bestseller in paperback for TWO WEEKS in a row. :) 

I just got the word last night from my wonderful editor Wendy McCurdy. Even more exciting: Holiday Grind has moved up a bigger national list. It is now the 18th bestselling title of all paperbacks sold in the Barnes and Noble stores throughout the country. So I have got to take a moment to send... 

What is your MUST-HAVE
side dish at Thanksgiving?

Join the discussion in the
comments section below... 

Congrats to PAM of Oklahoma
for leaving a comment and
winning my Tuesday
latte cup giveaway!
BIG THANKS to my Coffeehouse Mystery readers (old and new), and the kind reviewers who took the time to read, review, or post a blog about my holiday book.

AND a HUGE thank you shout-out must go to my fellow, very talented crime-writing cooks on this blog for their generous support: Krista, Elizabeth, Avery, Julie, Jenn: You babes are the best! ~ Cleo

...and now back to our regularly scheduled recipe post. :)

For some people, Thanksgiving Dinner simply isn't complete without one or two (or more!) favorite side dishes. 
Cleo Coyle, counting down the
days to cranberry sauce while
writing her next Coffeehouse

My favorite side dish is cranberry sauce. (Okay, so it's technically a condiment, but to me it's a major player.) Baby, without cranberry sauce, it ain't Thanksgiving Dinner.

As for my husband, Marc, he's a mashed potatoes man. Turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes are what absolutely define his Thanksgiving meal.

Given Marc's feelings, you can imagine the stress one year when we were so crazed and busy that we forgot to buy potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner. The horror! The horror!

We did have a few potatoes in the kitchen but not enough to serve at table. Marc came up with the solution, garlic-carrot mashed potatoes. They were beautiful, a spectacular golden-orange fall color, and they were delicious in the extreme.

Not carrot-tasting, at all, by the way, just creamy, buttery, and garlicky. These autumnal taters were so darn flavorful that this recipe has become our all-time favorite way to make mashed potatoes.

What I also love about this recipe is its proportions. Can anyone not remember this?

   3 Potatoes - white is best or Yukon gold (not russets!)
+ 3 Carrots
+ 3 Cloves Garlic
+ 3 Tablespoons Butter (or Margarine)

= 3 Cups of Autumn-colored Mashed Potatoes! (Enough to serve 4)

Of course, a great added bonus here are the health benefits from the garlic and the carrots (more fiber and vitamins). No milk or cream, so it can be made Vegan or Kosher by switching the butter for margarine.

Now let's get this side dish
cooking party started!


To get this recipe in a PDF document than you can print, save, or share, click here.


3 medium white potatoes,
scrubbed, skins on
(about one pound)

White potatoes are best for creamy, smooth, delicious tasting mashed potatoes. Yukon gold will work, as well. But do not use russet potatoes, the results will not be as appealing.

3 large carrots,
peeled and diced
(about 8 ounces)

3 Cloves Garlic
3 Tablespoons butter
(or margarine)

1 tsp. salt and
salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Prepare the vegetables -
Peel and dice the carrots into one-half inch rings. Cut the potatoes into sections about one-half inch thick, halving the sections again if too large. Peel
and chop the garlic. 

Step 2: Start by boiling carrots alone - Carrots take longer to cook than potatoes so you're going to give them a head start. Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Add the peeled and diced carrots, return to boil for 8 minutes, uncovered.

Step 3: Add the potatoes and garlic - After adding these ingredients, return the pot to a boil and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, uncovered, or until potatoes and carrots are soft enough to mash. 

Step 4: Drain well - Pour the cooked veggies and garlic into a strainer and make sure water is well drained. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add butter or margarine and mash. We use a traditional hand-masher. Then, for a creamy finish, we whisk briskly with a fork until smooth (about 30 seconds). Salt and pepper to taste. (You can also go techno and use a hand-stick or immersion blender or throw everything into a food processor.)

We still use a hand masher. But a
hand stick (aka immersion) blender will
work great, too.

Our secret to making roughly mashed potatoes into
smoothly whipped is a vigorous 30-second beating,
in a deep bowl with a simple fork.

Yes. A simple fork.
And now we're ready to...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

A Coffeehouse Mystery

The TOP-9 national
bestseller in hardcover
is now a
TOP-4 national bestseller
in paperback!!!!

To get more of my recipes,
win free coffee, or learn

about me and my Coffeehouse Mysteries, visit my *virtual* coffeehouse at:


“Fun and gripping…” —The Huffington Post

“Some of the most vibrant characters I've ever read. Coyle also is a master of misdirection and red herrings. I challenge any reader to figure out whodunit before Coyle reveals all.”
Mystery Scene

Krista's Christmas
Cookie Contest

Krista Davis is celebrating the upcoming release
of her new holiday mystery, The Diva Cooks a Goose.

She's holding a delicious contest!
Send Krista your favorite cookie recipe
Krista at KristaDavis dot com and you might win!

Find out more
clicking here


  1. I would have to agree w cranberry being my favorite guest at the Thanksgiving table... followed closely by a green bean casserole!

  2. Sweet potatoes glazed with brown sugar and butter. NO MARSHMALLOWS!

  3. This looks a lot like Dutch hutspot!

    I agree with Linda... sweet potatoes with NO marshmallows *L*

  4. Congratulations!

    As a happy coincidence, Carin just posted my favorite holiday side on my blog: Waldorf Salad. http://www.momfoodproject.com/2010/11/16/waldorf-salad/

  5. This looks fantastic, Cleo! I just love the autumn color of these potatoes and the idea of combining them with carrots. Yum!

  6. I have to say mine is the cornbread stuffing. Cleo you always have such nice pictures to make us all hungry :). I will have to try this recipe looks good.

  7. Congrats Cleo!

    My must have side dish are baked macaroni and cheese and jellied cranberry sauce.

  8. Green bean casserole, of course!

  9. Woo-hoo!! Congrats, Cleo!! You are rocking it out and I'm so excited for you! Keep that great news coming! Woo-hoo again!
    I can just hear your excitement and joy in your post today - even when you're talking about your delicious and gorgeous potatoes, your energy level is *way* up - as it should be! Congrats, well deserved, and way to go!

    Love the recipe and pics, btw. I will have to try this. Lots of all our favorite ingredients.

  10. I love dressing, with sausage and raisins or dried cranberries. I think the only time my family didn't eat all of the dressing leftovers was when I put fresh cranberries in and it turned out way too sour. So much for that experiment!

  11. Sweet Potato Casserole is what I'm asked to bring time & time again. Here's the recipe, no marshmallows!!:

    3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
    1 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup melted butter


    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/3 cup flour
    1/2 cup melted butter
    1 cup chopped pecans

    Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.

    I never come home with leftovers!


    Pam Fulk

  12. Wow - that recipe looks yummy!

    My favorite side is the stuffing. For years my mother made her milk cracker stuffing and everyone loved it. However, Royal Lunch discontinued to make the crackers and we have had to use the seasoned breadcrumb instead. Just isn't the same :( But, stuffing is stuffing and always good.

  13. Cleo - I had the sweet potato casserole comment, forgot to sign in when I posted it.


  14. I have two: pumpkin pie is #1 and green beans with pancetta bits is my #2. It is not Thanksgiving unless I have those 2 side dishes. Angie

  15. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, but pumpkin scones in my opinion would be perfect :)

  16. Love the autumn potato recipe and I'm going to try it this Thanksgiving. My husband must have green bean casserole at Thanksgiving (I think it's because he wants the extra fried onions left over after I make the casserole.) For me it has to be some sort of mashed potatoes.

  17. Sausage and cornbread stuffing. My sister makes it and I love it.

  18. Mmm...Five-Cup Salad for me. Easy-peasy: 1 cup each: Drained mandarin oranges, drained crushed pineapple, shredded coconut, mini-marshmallows, folded gently into 1 cup of sour cream. Chill for at least an hour (if you can wait that long) :D

  19. Cornbread and scallion stuffing. Preferably with my friend Terry's gravy recipe.