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Nicole Franz is a copy editor and paginator at The News-Herald in Willoughby. She takes all those sweet recipes, grueling workouts, cleaning tips, money-saving tricks, do-it-yourself projects and looks that seem so cool on Pinterest and writes about how they really turn out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Parmesan Broccoli Mashed Potatoes is two-for-one side dish delight

Everyone loves a two-for-one deal. Seriously, who can turn down a good buy one, get one free sale? This pin for a scrumptious-seeming Parmesan Broccoli Mashed Potatoes side dish certainly had that same twofer appeal rolling the starch and veggie side dishes into one, and I was helpless to resist.

The pin links to a foodgawker post (and in case you’re unfamiliar with foodgawker, it’s basically food porn with links to recipes), which directs you to this One Lovely Life blog post. The blog is done by this lovely couple (see what I did there?) named Emily and Michael who have put together a visually stunning blog that mostly focuses on food, but sprinkles in bits about their lives and their adorable daughter. Their recipeindex is extensive and sorted into 23 helpful categories like “Breakfast & Muffins,” “Pasta & Rice,” “Main Dishes: Chicken & Turkey,” and “Main Dishes: Meatless.”


4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces (about 1½”)
2c broccoli florets, uncooked
4 Tbsp butter
½c milk
½c fresh parmesan, grated
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potato pieces and broccoli and boil 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are very soft and can easily be mashed with a fork. Drain broccoli and potatoes well.

All ready to mash
Place drained vegetables in a large bowl with butter, milk, and parmesan. With a hand mixer, whip mixture until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper).

Serve warm.

How it went

“Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.” I’m pretty sure even my dad could handle this part of the recipe without any trouble, and he doesn’t really do any cooking that doesn’t involve a microwave or grill. No further comments here.

“Add potato pieces and broccoli and boil 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are very soft and can easily be mashed with a fork.” This step definitely topped the 20-minute mark for me. I ended up using five potatoes and two cups frozen broccoli florets, so I’m pretty sure this extended the cooking time.

“Drain broccoli and potatoes well.” Well my trusty blue colander made this one easy work.

“Place drained vegetables in a large bowl with butter, milk, and parmesan.” I used margarine instead of butter (I’m on a budget, here), skim milk, and the shredded parmesan cheese that comes with a green lid in grocery stores everywhere.

“With a hand mixer, whip mixture until very smooth.” For this one, I busted out my mom’s trusty hand mixer, which I inherited when I moved out post-college. It’s got a solid 10 years on me, but it’s still in excellent shape and could probably mix circles around the hand mixers made today. Having used this mixer hundreds of times to great success, this is where I got a bit thrown off. I could not for the life of me get this mixture “very smooth.” So after minutes and minutes as another recipe burned in my oven (I’ll blog about that later), I settled on fairly lumpy.

“Add salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper). Serve warm.” I probably flipped the quantities here, definitely leaning toward more pepper and less salt, because my dining companion isn’t much for salt (seriously, you’d think a guy who owns two salt shakers would be more into salt).

The finished product, lumps and all.


This one was a hit with my friend and I. It’s got this great creamy texture to it (even with the lumpy bits) that instantly reminds me of homemade mash potatoes and family dinners and holidays. This flavorful dish isn’t a super veggie-tasting dish, which would be great for getting picky eaters to eat veggies. The strongest flavors that come out are parmesan cheese, then a blend of the broccoli and mashed potatoes. I’m sure the broccoli flavor would have been more powerful if I’d used fresh broccoli, but this dish definitely tastes exactly like it sounds it would with a name like Parmesan Broccoli Mashed Potatoes.

I’m a big broccoli lover and a serious fan of potatoes, so I usually have both on hand (Re: making Gwyneth Paltrow No Fry Fries). That combined with the easiness of this recipe and its crowd-pleasing two-for-one appeal should make this an easy repeat in my kitchen.

Honestly, I think this is another recipe that could be adjusted by switching out the parmesan cheese for cheddar, mozzarella, or some other cheese of your preference. You could probably leave the cheese out entirely if you want to cut the dairy factor a bit.

Check One Lovely Life out on Twitter at @onelovelylife and don’t forgot to check out Emily and Michael’s blog at

And I'm sorry they are not more pictures, I was juggling/burning another recipe and trying to finish up a batch of cookies, too.

— Nicole Franz | | @FranzOrFoe
Follow my Mission: Pinpossible board on Pinterest.

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