Basic, yes. Boring, no. Start with this recipe, and then try some variations. The key to perfect, fluffy spuds is not overworking them with an electric mixer; a ricer (or food mill, if you have one) or potato masher is the best tool for the job.
3 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm half-and-half
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Press potatoes through a ricer back into pan, or mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.
Add half-and-half and remaining ingredients to potato mixture; stir well to combine.
Golden Buttermilk-Chive: Follow the basic recipe through step 1, swapping in Yukon gold potatoes for baking potatoes. Add 2/3 cup warm low-fat buttermilk, 1/4 cup warm 1% low-fat milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper to potato mixture; stir well. Top with 8 teaspoons chopped fresh chives. SERVES 8 (serving size: about 2/3 cup) CALORIES 190; FAT 6g (sat 9g); SODIUM 335mg
Turnip and Leek: Follow the basic recipe through step 1, decreasing potatoes to 2 pounds and adding 1 pound cubed peeled turnip. Add 2/3 cup half-and-half, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; stir well. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cups chopped leek; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir into potatoes. SERVES 8 (serving size: 2/3 cup) CALORIES 179; FAT 4g (sat 3g); SODIUM 357mg