Pros: Fast and easy, don't taste too bad, kids love them!
Growing up my mom didn't have a lot of money, (my dad failed to pay child support), and there was a while when we relied heavily on welfare subsidies. I remember waiting in line with my mom to get our cheese, powdered eggs, and dehydrated potato flakes. I swore I would never eat the eggs and potatoes in that form again!
A few years ago I purchased a box of Betty Crocker Potato Buds so I could give my daycare kids mashed potatoes for lunch on occasion. It was a nice change from the peas, carrots, corn and green beans they liked. I am a member of a childcare food program, and I asked the program director if these kinds of dried potatoes met the USDA requirements for meals, and she said "yes, many of our providers feed their kids these".
This 14 ounce box is brown showing a serving of mashed potatoes with a dollop of butter melting on top. One box contains about 4 1/2 pounds of real dehydrated or dried potato flakes.
The potatoes need to be hydrated with boiling water, milk, salt and butter. Directions are given for servings from 2 and up.
They can be cooked either on the microwave or on the top of the stove.
This box contains real potatoes, mono and diglycerides (to improve texture), and sodium bisulfate to protect freshness.
Once I served these to my kids, they were asking for them all the time! We have an instant boiling water faucet on our sink, and making mashed potatoes with the Betty Crocker Potato Buds was extremely fast and easy.
Dump the required amount into a bowl, add the boiling water and other ingredients, and whip with a whisk. If you aren't lucky enough to have instant boiling water, you can boil your water on the stove top and make them this way. I wouldn't think of trying to make these in the microwave because potatoes are so starchy, and I don't want to have the mess to clean up if they splatter.
When making these on the stove top, stir your water, butter and salt regularly so the milk and butter doesn't scald and get that burned taste. After stirring in the potatoes, these will thicken up very quickly! You can add more or less water to make them the consistency you desire, or simply add more butter to make them thinner ... yumm!
With the house full of daycare kids I used to have all day long, it was hard to break away for very long to make lunch. Figure in the time to wash, peel, dice and cook potatoes, and these instant potatoes are a no brainer, especially since the USDA accepts them as a qualified vegetable, and the kids love them!
I even let the kids mix them up from time to time! One of my daycare boys who was 4 years old absolutely LOVED these potatoes. He would almost make himself sick, eating four and five helpings of them! I would prefer mashed potatoes made from scratch any day, but I must admit, these aren't too bad. Of course I add much more butter to them than the directions call for, and anything tastes better with real butter!
Clean up is more work though. As I stated earlier, potatoes are a starchy food, and if I didn't rinse off the kids plates right away, the plates would be much harder to clean.
I still use Potato Buds from time to time. I have topped my Shepard's Pie with them, but it didn't taste nearly as good as homemade mashed potatoes. One trick I learned is that they can be used to stretch other foods. One day when I was making Sloppy Joes for visiting family, the recipe was coming out a little soupy. My sister-in-law asked me if I had any instant mashed potatoes, and I brought out my Betty Crocker Potato Buds. She poured some into the Sloppy Joes and they thickened up nicely, without adding any potato flavor to our dinner!
I have since used these in bread recipes, as well as to thicken gravy and soups, but it takes some experimenting to find what works. They do nicely in a potato corn chowder! Makes the meal really thick, and nobody knows what I used to get those results!
Potatoes are good for you, they are high in carbs, but they also provide a good source of potassium. Prepared, these provide 160 calories per serving, and one gram of fiber. The fat content depends on how much butter or margarine you add.
While these don't taste as good as homemade mashed potatoes, Betty Crocker Potato Buds are some of the best tasting instant potatoes I have eaten. I have purchased a large bag of Idaho Supreme brand from Costco, and I couldn't wait to get it used up so I could buy Betty Crocker again.
And all of the Betty Crocker foods come with their Red Spoon Promise of quality and convenience. Don't forget to save the Boxtops for Education found on the boxtop, each one is worth 10 cents to your child's school.
This box retails for around $2.40, and contains 17 servings.