parmesan garlic smashed potatoes

Guess what? It’s Saturday afternoon, and I’m off work early today! I’ve been working every day straight since November 1st, but today I was able to leave work in time to enjoy a bit of the gorgeous late fall sunshine and 75 degree weather we’re having here in North Florida.

Even though my work is crazy right now, and I won’t have a full day off for another week, I’m really very happy. I’m working with some great people – residents and medical students – who are proving to be fantastic young doctors. We’ve been doing lots of serious work, and the hours are long, but I’ve loved every minute of it.

Plus, they let me talk food with them. How great is that?

Last week I baked up a batch of Jennie’s chocolate chip cookies for my team. The cookies really don’t take all that much time to make and are SO much better than store-bought cookie dough. I think the bribe was successful. They let me go home early today. See? It worked.

One of them asked me last night about the first thing I planned to cook when I had my first day off. I was stumped. I have stacks of food magazines sitting around, waiting to be flipped through and pages torn out or earmarked. Even with all that inspiration lying around, I didn’t have a recipe in mind. And then I realized that it’s almost Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving! The thing about working for 19 days straight (13 so far) is that the time just flies by. It was just Halloween last I checked.

Time to put on my Thanksgiving Thinking Cap and come up with some menu ideas.

For now, I’ll share a mashed potato recipe with you. Our traditional Thanksgiving mashed potatoes are made by my dad. He’s our resident Mashed Potato Genius. His recipe is rich and creamy, and when the bowl of potatoes is set out on the table, I can’t keep my finger out of it. Just to taste it, you know, for seasonings. And maybe a second or third taste. And then I realize I’ve gotten out a tablespoon, and it’s all down hill from there.

This recipe is not that one, but it’s a close second. Just assume it’s calorie- and fat-free. Which it’s not. But you can pretend it is.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Parmesan Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Adapted from this recipe from Ina Garten. Her version of the recipe can also be found in her cookbook, which I love, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. To try to cut down on at least a little of the fat, I used nonfat Greek yogurt instead of full-fat sour cream in these potatoes. I didn't notice any difference in the flavor or texture.


3 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick (4 ounces; 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the potatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt in a 4-quart saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer covered for 25 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are completely tender. Drain.

In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half, milk, and butter.

Put the potatoes into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix them for a few seconds on low speed to break them up. Add the minced garlic to the potatoes, then slowly add the hot cream and butter mixture to the potatoes, mixing on the lowest speed (the last quarter of the cream and butter mixture should be folded in by hand to avoid splattering). Fold in the yogurt, Parmesan cheese, remaining salt, and pepper; taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

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15 Responses to “creamy grits with corn, bacon, and tomatoes”

  1. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — August 19, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    How nice that you got to spend a week off with your kids. They are beautiful! The grits look delicious, love the toppings you chose!

  2. Shea Goldstein — August 19, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

    That looks right up my alley, yum!! And your kids are beautiful 🙂

  3. LiztheChef — August 19, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

    Lovely post – I keep subscribing to your feed via email and don’t get your posts – but see them on fb and twitter easily enough…You are a great friend – and, belatedly, my admiration to you for getting on a plane and DOING SOMETHING for Jennifer when she needed it. XO Liz

  4. Jenni — August 19, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    1)I love that you took some time off to hang w/the wee ones!
    2)Your cat is Beautiful.
    3)So are the grits.

    At the restaurant I used to work in, we made grits w/heavy cream and duck fat. Fantastic. Just something to tuck away next time you’re feeling Decadent! 🙂

  5. Kimmie — August 19, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    Your kids (both human and furry) are adorable! As a Texan, I love love love anything to do with grits – will definitely try this one out! =)

  6. Gail — August 19, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    Grits are the perfect comfort food. For you and for us.

  7. Kristen — August 19, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    I think I’m ready too – and your kiddos? So darn cute!

  8. Paula — August 19, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    Your week at home sounded like it was just what you needed. The food, the fun, the time-outs and the squabbles…everything that is family…everything that matters.

    Best wishes at the conference, hope the kids (sooo cute) have a great school year and hoping that getting back into the routine at work come without too much difficulty.

    Happy End of Summer. Great looking grits!

  9. Aggie — August 20, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    I really love that you took the week off. I bet your kids were thrilled to have mommy time ALL day ALL week 🙂 We started school this week and it was like a breath of fresh air. What a nice feeling to be in routine again.

    Your kids are so stinkin adorable. Love those smiles!!

    I am shamelessly admitting that I’ve hardly made grits in my life. Maybe a packet of instant here or there. But the real thing, no. crazy!!! I’ve been dreaming of shrimp and grits for as long as I can remember…and now this. I am loving this.

  10. Barbara | Creative Culinary — August 20, 2011 @ 10:34 am

    While I’m not ready for summer to end I do look forward to the days cooling off and some of the foods we can look forward to with the start of that cooler weather.

    The southerner in me (yes, 10 yrs in the south counts!) is awakened whenever I hear grits. The addition of corn, tomatoes and bacon? Over the top wonderful.

    Though I sort of expected to see that adorable little cat’s head in the photo of the bowl, yes I did.

  11. Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — August 20, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    MJ – Your children are just adorable and it’s wonderful that you got to spend a whole week with them before the rush of back-to-school. Enjoy the time while they’re little. It passes so quickly!

    You *know* I love any recipe with grits! They’re just the most comforting thing you can put in your mouth. Love the way you’ve enhanced yours with corn, tomatoes and bacon. Brilliant!

  12. Brian @ A Thought For Food — August 21, 2011 @ 12:57 am

    You really deserve the Mom of the Year award. You are amazing. Truly.

  13. Russell at Chasing Delicious — August 21, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

    Such a comforting, delicious looking recipe! It sounds like you’ve had a good week too. I remember when I got my first bunk bed. Makes me miss being a kid. The homework, not so much!

  14. Karriann Graf — September 6, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

    This looks like a delicious and comforting meal! Happy Cooking!

  15. Pingback: The Merry Gourmet slow-cooker creamy southern grits | the merry gourmet

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