For a family-friendly Thanksgiving dinner, the sides matter. A lot.
Because if the mashed potatoes aren't truly wonderful, you're going to have some seriously upset children at the table. Which is to say, this isn't the time to experiment by spiking them with blue cheese or a 50-50 ratio of garlic to potato, or to test whether mashed cauliflower really does taste just like the real thing.
This is the time to make wonderfully fluffy, buttery, salty, peppery, delicious mashed potatoes.
By the same token, if you want those green beans and carrots to go anywhere near the children's mouths, you might consider a bit of enticement. To help you, we've come up with a kid-pleasing but adult-friendly sweet-and-sour glaze. And if that doesn't work, you can always threaten to withhold dessert...
BUTTERY MASHED POTATOES
Start to finish: 45 minutes
4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and halved
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Ground white pepper
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover by about 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until very tender but not falling apart.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 F.
When the potatoes are just tender, drain them and spread them in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Return the potatoes to the saucepan. Add the butter, half-and-half, mustard and garlic powder. Mash the potatoes until smooth, then season with salt and white pepper.
Nutrition information per serving: 220 calories; 80 calories from fat (36 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 25 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 3 g protein; 220 mg sodium.