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Freezer Cooking 101: Smashed Potatoes

 

One of my favorite freezer cooking recipes is also one of the easiest–Smashed Potatoes. When I find potatoes on sale, I stock up, and then I use this really easy recipe to convert them into the perfect freezer side dish. Mashed potatoes go with about any meal, and freeze surprisingly well. My trick to making them super easy is to leave the peel on, and use the microwave to cook them, speeding the cooking process and eliminating some of the cleanup afterwards.

This is my recipe for mashed potatoes. I prefer to keep them simple, but you can add any flavorings or spices you like. You can even make mashed sweet potatoes with this technique. The one tip I’ll give is to never add sour cream to them before freezing–trust me, sour cream is not pretty when frozen. Save that for after thawing. I use evaporated milk in my recipe because it tastes like cream without all the fat, but you can use regular milk if that is what you have on hand. I prefer to leave the skins on in my mashed potatoes for a few reasons: one, it’s healthier. The majority of the potato’s vitamins are in the skin. Two, I like a chunky mashed potato, not the whipped kind. Three, well…to be honest, it’s a heck of a lot easier. And when I’m doing a Big Cook for the freezer, I’m all about the easiest method to great food.

  • 5 lbs of baking potatoes
  • 1 cup of evaporated milk 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Take the whole potatoes and poke several times with a fork, to create small steam holes for in the microwave. (we don’t want any exploding potatoes in your microwave!) Place as many potatoes in your microwave as will fit in a single layer–mine fits eight. “Bake” them in the microwave using your baked potato setting. (about 20 minutes) Walk away and do something else until the potatoes are done. (love this part!)  When all of your potatoes are ‘baked’, toss them into a mixer bowl. Take a knife and hack away at them–roughly cutting them into pieces. Nothing neat or even is needed here–just do the best you can. As you work some of the skins may begin coming off in large chunks–go ahead and pull them out with a fork if you’d like. To the bowl add the milk and butter, and turn on the mixer to a low setting. Allow the mixer to “smash” the potatoes for you. After a couple of minutes, stop the mixer to fish out the larger chunks of potato skin. Add your salt and pepper, and any other optional ingredients you may want in your mashed potatoes. Allow the mixer to continue on low for another 2-3 minutes, then remove the bowl from the mixer. The potatoes should be good and mashed, and ready for the freezer.

Divide the potatoes up into meal size portions, whatever that looks like for your family. For us that is three cups of mashed potatoes per meal, which I scoop into a plastic freezer container. It is now ready for the freezer! Each five pound bag of potatoes will yield me 8-10 meals of side dishes. It takes about an hour to complete, but only about twenty minutes is actual hands-on cooking time–the majority of the hour is spent with the potatoes “baking” in the microwave. To thaw for eating, simply remove from the freezer and warm on the stove or in the microwave for a few minutes. Super simple and a huge time saver!

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