Freezer Mashed Potatoes!?!

I had a strange experience when shopping for a client yesterday. I needed just a few potatoes for a pan of scalloped potatoes.  Here were my choices: loose potatoes for $1.29/lb (I’d need at least 2lb, so let’s say $3 worth), a 5lb bag for $3.99 or a 10lb bag for $2.99 (!?!)  Of course I bought the 10lb bag. I know I’ll need them next week for something. But still….

There are not many foods you can’t put in the freezer – salad is one that springs to mind…  But for a long time, I thought mashed potatoes were on that list, too.  Then I found a strategy that I’ve been using successfully for many years now.

All you have to do is add sour cream or cream cheese to your mashed potatoes, and they will freeze beautifully.  So if you have three-quarters of a bag of potatoes that are just about to grow roots, get out a big pot, boil ‘em up, mash ‘em and fill the freezer.

A few tips for this so-called recipe…

Unless you have very squeamish kids or really tough potatoes, don’t bother peeling them (the potatoes, not the kids).  All the good stuff, the fibre and the vitamins, is in or near the skin, plus it is easier and takes less time.  I like to buy thin-skinned Yukon Gold potatoes.  You don’t have to peel them, they cook up nicely and their yellow colour makes everyone think there is lots of butter in them, even when there isn’t.

For this recipe, cook the potatoes until they are very tender, almost falling apart.  This makes them mash more easily and smoothly.  Add butter, salt and pepper or whatever you usually add.

Then add about ½ cup of sour cream or cream cheese for each 4 cups of potatoes.  This is just a guideline, though.  You can make them “looser” by adding some extra milk or broth, but do this only after you’ve added some sour cream or cream cheese.  You can also add milk after you thaw them if you want them more spreadable to put them on shepherd’s pie or something like that.

When you thaw the potatoes, you might think they’re ruined.  They may be soggy-looking or grainy or watery…. DON’T WORRY!  This is OK.  Just heat them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and stir vigorously, then let them sit for 1-2 minutes.  The potatoes will re-constitute themselves and look appetizing again.  Repeat this process if they are not heated through or don’t want to come together.

When I am making a big batch of mashed potatoes – like that time I couldn’t resist the 50-pound bag for $3.99 – I use my sturdy KitchenAid mixer to mash them.  A smaller batch might be a good workout for what I recently heard termed “bingo wings”, those flabby tricep muscles that us ladies over 30 prefer not to talk about…

These potatoes are another weapon in your arsenal for streamlining  meal planning – combine with slow-cooking and great supermarket finds, and dinner will come together in a flash.  Put a roast in the crockpot, pull a bin of mashed potatoes out of your freezer stash, serve a bagged salad with a home-made salad dressing, and you have a fabulous meal on the table in ten minutes!

I love it when a plan comes together….

Comments

  1. OK. That last sentence, were you trying to quote the A Team’s Hannibal on purpose? If so, well done.

  2. What a great tip! I never knew…

  3. Fabulous idea Julie – another great tip to make my supper time easier! YAY :-)

    Heather

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