I am a thirty-something year old writer, bleeding heart liberal, natural lifestyle enthusiast and recent grad (Anthropology and Creative Writing). Soon, I will begin a graduate program in Public Health. I have four very cute and very naughty little children. They light up my life and wear me out. Times are tough in the mother trenches, but for every brain cell I lose and every nerve that becomes permanently frazzled, I am given small gifts of love from the universe in the form of toddler giggles, handmade cards and the occasional offering of dissected millipede.
Every time my nine year old foodie sees packaged mashed potato flakes in the grocery store, he says "Gross!". Admittedly, I know where he got this attitude. I can be quite a cynical food snob myself. However, I also like to save time and money, sometimes enough to sacrifice the fine tastes to which we in this madhouse have become accustomed.
Now, mashed potatoes are something I rarely make. Not because we don't like them, but because I am either lazy, busy or both and would rather stick potatoes in the microwave to "bake". If I do make them, they are must assuredly "real", usually with some extra thrown in like freshly roasted garlic. I do have a secret involving potato flakes, though. Ha.
The easiest soup to make in the entire world, besides dumping a can of Campbell's in a pot, is this potato soup. So it's not fresh or gourmet or the most delicious thing since your first kiss. But it's good, cheap, fills bellies and is on the table in five minutes flat. Made without milk, this potato soup also has magical healing properties for sick people. The best part is - my kid can't tell that he's eating packaged potatoes.
Very Easy Potato Soup
1 package (3-4 oz) potato flakes; any brand, any flavor 2 cups of bullion or stock (any brand or flavor, but not too salty) 2 cups of milk (more or less to desired soup consistency) parsley flakes dehydrated minced onion optional garnishes: grated cheese, chopped green onion, crumbled bacon, whatever else sounds good
OK, so boil water and make the bullion or get the stock nice and hot on the stove. Turn down heat and pour in the package of potatoes and mix. Add parsley and fake-o onion. When that is hot, stir in milk until the soup is the consistency that you want it to be. Bring heat back up to just under boiling. Voila! Pour into bowls and toss some garnish on those bad boys and you're golden.