Since Thanksgiving is no time for sacrifice, I decided to amplify the flavor – and, consequently, the fat – of one of the meal's most critical sides.

And so I took a basic mashed potato and added some of the most popular baked potato toppings, bacon and scallions. I also considered whipping a bit of sour cream into the mix, but feared it would be too, well, sour. So I opted for an 8-ounce block of cream cheese.

The result is a delicious, creamy mashed potato with enough flavor to truly shine on an otherwise crowded table of sides.

If you wanted to take the taters even further, consider sprinkling them with diced jalapenos, sliced black olives or even a bit of shredded cheddar cheese.

Creamy Bacon and Scallion Mashed Potatoes

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 10

5-pound bag Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

8 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

teaspoon smoked paprika

3 scallions, thinly sliced

8-ounce block cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1/2 cup whole or skim milk

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water, then set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pot.

While the potatoes cook, heat a large skillet to medium-high. Add the bacon and cook until just crisp, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain the fat. Drain off all but about 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat from the skillet.

Return the skillet to the burner over low heat. Return the bacon to the skillet, then add the garlic powder and smoked paprika. Heat for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the scallions and set aside.

When the potatoes are cooked and drained, add the cream cheese, butter and milk to the pot. Mash until creamy and mostly smooth. Mix in the bacon-scallion mixture, season with salt and pepper.