I used to be really good at making meals ahead and just planning ahead in general. Lately, I've been quite the slacker. Partly due to unexpected circumstances and partly because I'm just plain tired. And tired of being busy. How sad to realize that I use more time when I don't keep ahead on the meal planning. It takes more out of me to cook every day and even more time to 'wonder' what I'm making for dinner.
Well, this is my attempt to get back on track. Freezer cooking and planning ahead saves me both time and money. Throw in saving my sanity... and I believe it is well worth the effort. Thanks to my niece for asking me for freezer recipes, I will begin to share my favorites along with any tips that I think may be helpful.
This recipe is adapted from The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy. These are our family's favorite mashed potatoes. I like to make a lot and freeze them. Whenever potatoes go on sale, I buy as many as I can... or have time to make. I use Zip-lock quart size freezer bags and measure 1 lb. in each bag. (Or you can measure in cups... whatever suits your family.) Then, I can take out enough for 2 people or 10.
Make-Ahead Garlic Mashed Potatoes
5 pounds potatoes, peel and quarter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Place peeled and quartered potatoes in a sauce pan and cover completely with water. Bring to a boil then boil gently until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes well.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, cream cheese, egg, garlic powder and salt. Mash well with an electric mixer or by hand if you don't have one. Spoon potatoes into a (Pam) spray treated or greased 3 quart casserole or a 9 x 13 pan.
Drizzle or brush melted butter over potatoes. Refrigerate for up to 2 days or label and freeze for later. Freeze in a Ziploc Bag.
To serve: thaw completely. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden.
Options: 1/4 cup crumbled crisp bacon may be stirred in for great flavor. Potatoes may also be topped with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
If you like this recipe, you may like the others in the book The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy by Tara Wohlenhaus and Nanci Slagle. It really is one of my favorites. It has main dishes, sides, a great marinade that I use for chicken tacos, and a lot more. What makes it nice is that it lays out all the plans for cooking ahead, as well as giving measurements for 1x, 2x, 3x's the recipe, etc. A great resource.
Thanks for reading and Happy Cooking! :)