Smashed Potatoes W/Spinach & Playing Guessing Games

Smashed Potatoes W/Spinach is healthy, fast, and goes with everything! {Brittany's Pantry}Do you ever look in your freezer and come across a food that isn’t exactly spoiled but you just don’t want to really eat it right then, so you put it back?  Then you do it again.  And then again.  Maybe it has been in there for awhile, you aren’t exactly sure what you bought it for, or you just don’t feel like dealing with it?  That was me a few days ago.  Except that was my situation with the freezer and the pantry.  In the freezer (and this is my fridge/freezer, not my deep chest freezer), I had this package of spinach.  I haven’t the foggiest idea how long it had been in there, but I have a pretty good memory for food inventory and this wasn’t ringing any bells.  Tack on the several months of kitchen renovation when I wasn’t doing any cooking at all, and we are looking at possibly over a year instead of mere months that it had been in there, waiting for me.  This poor box of spinach stood by as a seemingly never ending stream of frozen veggies, vegetable ‘chicken’ nuggets, and the occasional bag of french fries were continuously rotated, as if through some kind of frozen food revolving door.  It worked its way to the bottom of the freezer drawer, collecting those little bits of dried…whatever that stuff is that collects on old freezer stuff.  You know, its like water crystals, but dirty and stale smelling.

Anyway, I can’t even begin to tell you how long I have been trying to ignore this box of frozen spinach.  I mean, I like spinach.  I just haven’t felt like dealing with it lately-ummm…or for the last year apparently.  Then I checked my pantry, the bottom of which contained an unusually large amount of potatoes.  I’m not sure why I have so much (over 25 pounds) but I think I ran out and then picked some up and then I forgot I picked some up and bought some more and then I had a coupon for another bag and then they were on sale and I said to myself “Self, that is a great deal on potatoes.  We can always use more potatoes!”-and I think all of this negates my previous claim that I have a good memory for food inventory…

So I got creative and made this:
I have always like to stir things into my mashed potatoes; a sort of starch and vegetable combo that does double duty as a side dish for dinner.  This one is particularly scrumptious.  I mean seriously!  How could you pass up gooey, melted pockets of cheese stirred into healthy vegetables.  There was even enough leftover for dinner later in the week!  Score!  My kids, while admittedly not picky eaters, inhaled this like it was their last meal.  When I served it again two days later, they actually cheered.  Always a good sign!Smashed Potatoes W/Spinach is healthy, fast, and goes with everything! {Brittany's Pantry} One Year Ago: Matt’s Pancakes

Smashed Potatoes W/Spinach
These are called ‘smashed’ potatoes because that is what they are.  No equipment here needed except a potato masher or large spoon.  In this case, lumpy is a good thing.  If I had had the time, I would have covered it with extra cheese and baked it in the oven, but use whichever method works best for you.

4 large baking potatoes (or 6 medium, or 8 small), peeled and cut into large chunks
1 pkg chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c shredded cheese, cheddar, colby-jack, or whatever you like
2 T softened butter
1/2-3/4 c sour cream
salt and pepper

Boil or steam the potatoes until tender.  Drain and dump back into the pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mash with a potato masher until no large chunks remain and evenly mixed.  Taste for seasoning (potatoes always need a little more salt than other foods) and serve.  If needed, zap in the microwave if the cheese and spinach cooled it down too much.

Note:  Can be made a few days ahead of time, cooled, covered, and in the fridge.  If desired, spread in a shallow casserole dish, sprinkle with extra cheese, and bake at 350 until heated through and cheese has melted.  Also, it is totally fantastic to leave the skins on the potatoes.  Just scrub them clean before you cook them.  It is a major vitamin boost, and if your kids are wary of potato peelings, they won’t even be able to tell because it will be masked by cheese and sour cream.  Yum!