Better Choices, Better Results

I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that we use a lot of jars in my house.  Canning food is only half the job…we also eat from our jars on almost a daily basis.  Because of this, the stock has to be rotated to make sure that we are using the oldest items first and also to make sure that we haven’t forgotten what we have.  This actually happens to me often because some of my full jars are stored behind closed doors.

This weekend I was rotating stock and putting away empty jars and ran upon 2 boxes of potatoes that I’d forgotten about.  These were from my harvest back in August, so they have been sitting around for 5 months or so.  They were pretty scary looking, so I decided to just go ahead and use them up.

 

These were left over from the harvest back in August. It was definitely time to use them!

 

They are kind of pretty, in a weird sort of way.

 

I started by peeling them.  My mother started feeling sorry for me after awhile, and she started helping.

Thanks, Mom!

Then I put them on to boil for a few minutes.  I knew that no matter what I made, the potatoes would need to be cooked to some degree first.  I pulled out my 16-quart pot and it was nearly full!

 

I had enough to nearly fill my biggest pot!

 

After letting the potatoes cook for a few minutes, I pulled out some of the bigger ones to cool because I had plans for those and knew they needed to be cooled off completely before I could use them.

These will be used later on...

For my first dish, I decided to make mashed potatoes.  I filled my Kitchen Aid bowl nearly full, added in some butter, low-fat sour cream, low-fat cream cheese and half & half. I put the paddle in place and turned on the mixer.  I left the potatoes somewhat chunky….because that’s the way I like them!

No boring mashed potatoes for me! Spice 'em up!

I salted and peppered and onion powdered the potatoes according to my taste, and then I measured out what I had.  I figured up the nutritional values and packaged according to the amount we’d need per meal.  I ended up with nine bags (2 servings in each bag) of mashed potatoes for the freezer, and enough left over for supper (Sheppard’s Pie) that night!

Nine bags for the freezer.

Next, I decided that some cheesy-potato soup was in order.   I poured off all but about 3 cups of the water remaining in the pot with the potatoes and put it back on the stove.  I turned on the heat, got out the manual potato masher and went to work.  I broke apart the spuds and by doing so, had a thick and creamy base for my soup.

Mmmm...

I added a can of succotash, a can of chili-ready tomatoes, a small block of low-fat Velveeta (yes, I know Velveeta isn’t REAL cheese!), chicken broth and seasonings.  Before I knew it, I had a very nice and filling soup.  Again, I added up the nutritional information and packaged according to the serving size I knew I’d need per meal.

Enough soup to last awhile!

I had 11 containers of soup…9 went to the freezer and 2 went into the fridge to be eaten for lunches this week.

Finally, I had my cooled potatoes to use.  I knew that I wanted to make hash browns, so I pulled out my food processor with the shredding blade.  I shredded and realized that I had let my potatoes cook a little too long because they got a little gummy in the shredding process.  I didn’t let that stop me, though.

Shredded and ready for packaging.

I processed, measured and packaged my hash browns.  I ended up with 11 bags (2 servings in each bag) for the freezer and enough for my breakfast one day this week.

Breakfast, anyone?

So, let’s do the math.  I had EVERYTHING on hand that I needed, so I didn’t make a special trip to the store, which saved time and gas.  The potatoes were FREE and from my own garden.

I’m not going to count seasonings in with my totals because I don’t know how much I used and the cost would be negligible anyway, so why bother?

I used (prices approximated):

¼ cup LF Sour Cream                     .30

½ block LF Cream Cheese              .50

1 cup Half & Half                               .60

1 Tb. Butter                                         .20

1 8 oz. package of LF Velveeta      3.00

1 can of spiced tomatoes                  .90

1 can of succotash                              .90

2 cups chicken broth                         .80

1 onion                                                 .25

1 stalk of celery                                   .10

Total:                                             7.55

I spent less than $8 for 18 servings of mashed potatoes, 11 servings of soup and 22 servings of hash browns!  That is .15 per serving!

Something for nothing?  Almost……

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