Probably the best mashed potatoes that I have ever eaten in my life, and trust me on this--I've had A LOT of mashed potatoes in my life, were made by Swannie Stanczyk (pronounced stanzick) at Mayfair church in Oklahoma City. I don't know what she did to those babies, but let me tell you...they were delicious! She always brought them in the same pot, wrapped in gold towels to keep them warm. I could sit down with this pot of mashed potatoes and eat the whole thing.
Loaded mashed potatoes are a close second to Swannie's, I love these potatoes. The picture to the right is courtesy of the McCormick website and very close to what my casserole looks like, only I put a lot more cheese on top and chives, other than that you have the casserole I make.
For the football banquet I used a great trick my Mom taught me in using instant potatoes, before you hit the ground and run out of the house screaming, calm down and hear me out. I didn't feel like peeling, chopping, boiling, and mashing 60 pounds of potatoes for this casserole. I only had one day to do everything and it would have taken...well forever to get this task done. Here's the trick: use instant potatoes made according to package directions using chicken stock/broth instead of water. I ONLY do this for this casserole, if I were making just mashed potatoes as a side...I would have peeled. Assuming you would not need 60 pounds of loaded mashed potatoes, this recipe reflects the home version, using peeled and mashed potatoes.
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
4 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled, diced, boiled, and mashed
1 cup Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon cracked pepper
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 cup crumbled bacon (that's about 12 slices cooked and crumbled)
2 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons parsley
In a medium bowl, add 1 cup of cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup bacon, mix and set aside. Add potatoes to a large mixing bowl, or use the pot in which you boiled the potatoes, mash or use a mixer to mix potatoes. Add butter and sour cream, mixing to incorporate. Add salt, pepper, and cheese, stir to combine. Add green onions and bacon, stir again. Taste adjust seasoning to liking. Place in a lightly sprayed 9x13 casserole. Smooth evenly. Top with reserved bacon and cheese. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with parsley before serving.
You can make the potato mixture a day ahead, or two, and keep in the fridge until the day of. You would place the casserole in your cold oven so the pan can come to temp with your oven, then top with the cheese mixture and bake.
If you use the instant potato route, use one whole box of potatoes (maybe two, you need to yield 12 servings) and make according to package directions using chicken broth/stock instead of water.
These are so good and so easy. The football players really, really liked them incidentally.