Christmas Mash-Up

Mashed potatoes are not my specialty. They are more than just “not my specialty” – they are my arch nemesis! I just can’t seem to master them. They usually come out gluey or lumpy or both all at the same time!

I think making mashed potatoes are a lesson in patience (which I am short on) and require some amount of technical ability.  You need to put the peeled (patience needed) potatoes into the big pot of cold water and bring it all up to boil together (more patience) for the potatoes to cook evenly. You really should warm up whatever dairy product you are adding – milk, cream etc. Don’t over mash and make sure you season liberally.

For Christmas lunch – I decided to be patient with my mashed potatoes and I was rewarded with lovely, creamy, perfect mashed potatoes!

And then I added a few things…

Some roasted garlic cloves. Some grated Parmesan cheese…Some chopped spinach. Yup, chopped spinach. I thought the chopped spinach would be a fun “mash-up.” Like having creamed spinach and garlic mashed altogether.

While my mother and I thought it was tasty, my husband did not!  Weird because cooked spinach is one of the few veggies he really likes and he likes mashed potatoes very much. So what’s not to love about mixing the two?

Ingredient list to fill a 9×13 baking dish

5 lbs Yukon gold potatoes – peeled and cut into similar sized pieces.

3-6 large garlic cloves – roasted and mashed

1 box of chopped spinach ( 9 oz +/-) defrosted and squeezed of excess water.

1/2 stick salted butter

1 cup whole milk – warmed

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tb “Better Life Foods” Depot spice ( or more to taste)

Ground black pepper and additional salt to taste

Sauce Matters

I made some very tasty meatballs not too long ago. They started with the standard mix of ground beef and ground pork. I added some grated Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, onion powder, pinch of hot chili flakes, generous amount of chopped fresh rosemary, salt/pepper and an egg to hold it altogether.

Here is where it gets special: roasted garlic.

Yep – you read that right. Roasted garlic.

I happen to have a head of roasted garlic hanging out in the fridge from a garlic roasting session a few nights before. (garlic mashed potatoes!)

So I thought “why not throw that into the mix?!”
After everything was mixed I even cooked up a little test patty in the skillet to make sure it was as yummy as I imagined it would be. And yes it was.

I proceeded to brown up all the meatball’s carefully and patiently in batches.
Some would be for that night’s dinner and some would go into the freezer.

At this point I made a crucial error.

I decided to pack the meatballs in a casserole dish and pour some red sauce over them and sprinkle the cheese -that way Hubby could just heat them up in the oven while the pasta boiled. Great plan right? Wrong. I was too lazy to make up a quick sauce and all the homemade was frozen solid so I decided to break out the “last resort” pantry jar of sauce. This is the one that I bought on sale on a whim that I keep on hand in case there is absolutely nothing else my husband can manage to make other than boil some pasta and open a jar.  Now I am not going to reveal the brand – but let’s just say it wasn’t a “high end” brand.

Later that night, after following the heating and boiling instructions, he enjoyed a lovely meatball and pasta dinner. He declared the whole thing “delicious!”  And it wasn’t terrible by any means, but when I got home much later to finally enjoy the fruits of my labor, I realized my error. The sauce was really not great.

Lesson Learned:
No matter how great the meatballs, the sauce has got to be nothing short of great!