Perfect Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
 2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup half-and-half
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

 Peel potatoes, and cut into cubes. Bring potatoes, 1 tsp. salt, and cold water to a boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 16 to 20 minutes or until fork-tender; drain.
 Now add butter, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1 tsp. salt. Cook for a few more minutes or until the butter is melted and mixture bubbles, careful not to scorch the potatoes, constantly scrape the bottom of the pan.

 Remove from heat and stir or beat until smooth. (do not over beat.) Serve immediately.

Have left over mashed potatoes? Add an egg, a couple Tbsp. flour, some salt and pepper and whip up some Potato Pancakes (cook as you would a breakfast pancake). Make a "tester" one first, you may need to adjust your batter.  Hey, get a little sassy and add some shredded cheese, scallions, oh, and bacon bits! You could come up with really creative add ins, so, don't be shy. It'll be delicious!