Michelle brings us “Michelle’s Lazy-Healthy-Girl Mashers” this week:
Last week I ‘did potatoes’, by that I mean I made my semi-annual batch of mashed potatoes. My guys love mashed potatoes, as most men do,…ok I love them as well. What I don’t love is making them. What a pain – and for one meal, really!? Sometime ago I ran out of my Masher stash and had to resort to the frozen Red Bag from the store for a recipe. I was very disappointed. Not only were they pricey, they were cut pieces of potatoes that I had to mash and flavor myself anyway. The alternative was the dried nastiness from a box. In my world there’s just something wrong with potatoes from a box,….right up there with powdered milk, (I shudder – eeww – only for recipes and the hurricane box ). I had always been told that “You can’t freeze potatoes, they get weird”‘. Well, another thing I’m used to dealing with in my world, and that’s the word weird. The way food companies deal with weirdness, is chemicals. Specifically disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate. Now, I thought that it might be a benign additive that just sounds scary. Not really. After a Google search, I discovered that it’s linked to all sorts of ‘weird’ ailments and reactions. Wow – that’s some awful stuff! Hmmm, all to keep potatoes from turning ugly during processing. With all that fancy industrial equipment at their disposal, they still rely on chemicals (cheap bastards). Well, I’ve got my own arsenal of culinary weapons, and I’m not afraid to use ’em. Let me show you what I’m talking about.
Michelle’s Lazy-Healthy-Girl Mashers:
The Cast: I buy a 10 pound bag of the Klondike Rose potatoes at Sams Club when they’re in season. These potatoes are like Yukon Golds. They have a buttery flavor and smooth texture on their own. Reduced Fat Sour Cream. NOT fat-free (yuck). A little real butter. Why? Because it’s real and a little goes a long way. Garlic, again a little makes the whole batch awesome!
The real stars for this show are my massive stand mixer, but ANY mixer will do, just mash in batches. As well as my Food Saver (seal-o-meal), or you can use zip-loc bags or any other airtight freezer packaging.
Step 1: Boil up all those potatoes. I cut them into a big bowl of water first and drain off some of the starch. That helps keep the ‘foam’ from forming and boiling over in a big mess. Also, potatoes don’t have to cook at a rolling boil. Just bring them up to a roll and back it down to a strong simmer for about 20 min.
Step 2: Gather your staff, and drain off the potatoes in 2 batches. Mainly because 10 lbs is just too much to deal with all at once.
Step 3: Get them, peel and all into the Mixer, while hot. S l o w l y, break them down.
Step 4: Now add in what you like. I only use 1 TBL butter, per half. Yea, that’s it! Then I add, 1/2 of the container (about 8oz.-per half) Red.Fat Sour Cream. I’ve used greek yogurt in the past which is ok for dieters, but I erroneously served them to guests and even I was like “What’s IN these potatoes?” (bitter) Add kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Then I press about 1 clove raw garlic per half. NOT the jarred minced stuff. Thin it with FF milk. The Boys can add calories later with their butter and gravy! But these mashers, even I can eat.
Step 5: Look at that yumminess! Now, I like my mashers lumpy with peels to eat with a fork – I don’t even own a ricer! That’s just me. I take the two batches from the mixer back into the big boiling pot and give it a turn by hand so the flavors are even.
Step 6: Here’s the techno part of the deal – bagging. Seal up 10 bags, and fold the tops down.
Step 7: I use a scale, you don’t have to. I put them into 1 lb bags. That’s one meal, or use 2 for Shepards Pie topping, 3 if there are guests for dinner.
Step 8: Mark them and lay out flat. Get them into the fridge to cool before freezing.
Step 9: Lay them flat to freeze hard, then stand up in storage. See, like little yummy books.
OK, now let’s thaw them….
Step 10: This is a package of potatoes nearly 3 months old! After a few minutes in warm water, break it up into a bowl to microwave (do not drain off the water).
Step 11: After about 5 – 7min. Give them a stir, they will be watery, and grainy . Nuke them a little longer until the water is re-absorbed and they’re once again creamy, thick and sticky.
Finale: There they are, in all their glory. An addition to a healthy baked chicken dinner and took less time(to re-heat) and money than the store bought, chemical laced version! This seems like a lengthy process, but it really isn’t. I do up potatoes so infrequently and normally do other things while they’re boiling, etc. Speaking of money, I estimate the cost at about $1.50 per pound. With about 1/2 of the expense in the freezer bag. If you go with re-useable ones the cost is about .84cents per pound. Then you can save your disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate allowance for tater-tots and McD’s fries!