Recently, when I was in our local supermarket, I stumbled on a potato sale. It was totally an accident. There I was. And there they were. 10 pounds of beautiful potatoes for 99 cents. For the whole 10 pound bag.
You can imagine my delight.
I bought 5. As in 50 pounds. Yup. Five-zero glorious pounds of potatoes. For my little family of 3.
I would have gotten more, but 5 was the limit. Silly supermarket.
Before you lump me in with the rest of the criminally insane, let me say 3 little words: batch freezer cooking.
It’s my secret fast and frugal weapon and one of my favorite sessions to do is a potato session. I never buy potatoes unless they’re on sale and I never have to deal with them slowly decaying because I can’t deal with them fast enough.
Please don’t assume you can’t freeze potatoes. While you can’t successfully freeze them raw, they will freeze beautifully partially cooked and you’ll quickly find them the easiest and most versatile item in your freezer cooking repertoire.
You don’t have to follow my plan exactly. This is just a basic sketch of what can be done. Go ahead and use your own personal and family favorites using these guidelines, multiplying your recipes to use 5-10-20-or more pounds of potatoes :)
First, I made 20 pounds into JW potatoes. I’ve posted this recipe before and you can find it here. This time, I made some with just cheese and bacon and some with just cheese and broccoli, to use more as a side dish than a main dish.
Next, 20 pounds became Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes (Recipe below).
I freeze them in zipper bags, flat on a cookie sheet. When they are frozen solid, they stack like pretty little potato books in the freezer. Use ginormous or small zipper bags, according to the servings your family normally uses.
The last 10 pounds became steak fries. Scrub potatoes and cut each into lengthwise wedges. Toss with melted butter or olive oil. Not a lot. Just enough to coat, about 2 tablespoons per 3-4 pounds of potatoes. Add seasonings until coated. I use salt, pepper and paprika. Ranch dressing mix is good too. Use your favorites. Spray a cookie tray with non-stick spray and arrange wedges in a single layer. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Cool and then flash freeze on a cookie sheet. Remove when frozen and keep in zipper bags in the freezer. When ready for some fries, remove desired amount from the freezer and bake again at 400 degrees, 20-30 minutes or until desired crispness.
So that’s about all. Lots of ways to vary and add to it, but this is the basic potato plan.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
3 lbs potatoes
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1. Peel and chunk potatoes and place in a saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
2. Drain well.
3. Place in a large mixing bowl and use mixer or potato masher to mash them
4. Add butter, cream cheese, sour cream, milk and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
5. Mix until all ingredients are blended.
6. If using now: Spoon mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes, until hot.
7. If freezing: Cool. Spoon into zipper bags. Seal and use your hands to smoosh the potatoes and make the bags flat. Freeze. Remove from tray when frozen and stack.
8. To cook from freezer: Remove bag(s) from freezer and thaw overnight in refrigerator. Place in lightly greased baking dish and bake as above.