One of my favorite dishes is Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes. It may not seem like the ideal summer dinner, but considering that all the components can be made ahead and frozen, it can definitely be a delicious addition to the hottest of summer nights, especially when served with a tall glass of lemonade and maybe a scoop of sorbet for dessert.
Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes is also an economical dish. With potatoes selling for about $1-$1.50 for ten pounds, you can easily make up a batch of mashed potatoes for less than $1, accounting for butter, cream cheese, and seasoning. Recently I bought ground beef for $1.49 a pound, making a dinner’s worth of meatballs about $2 after adding eggs, spices, and bread crumbs. Add in a vegetable and you definitely have a good cheap eat.
Dinner for 4 for about $5!
Meatballs – Make up a batch of meatballs, bake, cool, wrap, and freeze in meal size portions. You don’t need to thaw them before reheating, making this an ideal dinner for the night your plan doesn’t go according to plan.
Recipe: Mashed Potatoes
These make a great freezer side dish. However, you do want to thaw these babies. If not, count on nuking them before baking or extending your baking time significantly.
- 8 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup butter, cut into cubes
- In large pot of cold water, bring potatoes to a boil. Simmer until tender. Drain water.
- Mash potatoes with a potato masher or hand mixer. Once smooth, mix in cream cheese, salt and pepper. Dot with butter. Serve immediately or cool, label, and freeze.
- If serving from frozen, bake in 350° oven for about 45 minutes or until hot through. Fluff with a fork before serving. (And feel free to add a little milk or cream if you think it’s too dry.)
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups beef or chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or dill weed
- In medium saucepan, melt butter. Sauté onion until clear. Whisk in flour and cook until bubbly. Whisk in broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened.
- Stir in seasonings. Serve immediately or cool, package in plastic container with a lid, label, and freeze.
- If using from frozen, warm on the stovetop and whisk to blend.
Serve Meatballs over Mashed Potatoes with Gravy and steamed vegetables as a side.