Humble veggies…cabbage, potatoes and onions simmered and mashed. Irish Colcannon is a budget lover’s dream!
With income taxes due this month, budgets can run a little tight. I’m here to help you stretch your food dollars!
The benefits of frozen food
March is National Frozen Food month, so take advantage of specials to stock your freezer with fruits and vegetables. Here are four reasons why I’m hot on frozen foods:
- They can keep for months so reduces food waste.
- They boost the savings because you use just the portion you need.
- A Michigan State University study concluded that frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are cost-effective and provide quality nutrition. YAY!
- The plain options, those not in cream sauce or syrup, are the best buy for your waistline and wallet.
Vegetables that keep well
Beyond frozen, certain foods stretch your food dollar. Produce that keeps longer so gives you more time to eat it, so you don’t lose it to old age. Those with a longer life include:
How to shop for fresh vegetables
When you’re shopping for fresh vegetables,
- Carrot tops draw moisture from the carrots, so best to trim them. Store in the refrigerator with crisper drawer lever closed.
- Broccoli should be green with tightly closed buds. Store in the refrigerator with crisper drawer lever closed.
- Choose cabbage and Brussels sprouts that are heavy for the size and leaves that are tightly wrapped. Store in the refrigerator with crisper drawer lever closed.
- Potatoes should be firm, without sprouts and not have a green tinge. Store them in a cool, dark spot, not the fridge and away from onions.
- Onions should be firm, not wrinkled. Store them in a cool, dark spot, not the fridge and away from potatoes. Onions can cause potatoes to sprout.
How to cook cabbage
The smell of cooking broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and cabbage comes from sulfur compounds that are released with heat. These are the same things that make them super star vegetables. These healthy, humble veggies pack an inflammation-fighting punch. But to avoid a super strong sulfur smell, don’t overcook them.
What are the best potatoes for mashed?
The best potatoes are those that have some starch in them. Those are gold or yellow-skin potatoes, such as Yukon Gold.
Russets and Idahos have the most starch. You may know these as a fluffy baked potato. They have a very mild flavor and tend to be dry, so we doctor them up with butter, sour cream and chives. It also means for mashing, it’s challenging to create flavorful potatoes. If you use the dryer potatoes, be sure to drain them well before mashing so they don’t become glue like.
The worst potatoes for mashing are small waxy potatoes, such as small red and white potatoes. These tend to be more potato flavored, but they have less starch, making them the best potatoes for potato salad and recipes that you want chunks of potatoes.
How to make Colcannon
Cabbage is a March sale item. One of my favorite ways to eat cabbage is in Colcannon. This dish is traditionally made from mashed potatoes and cooked cabbage or kale, with milk, butter, onions, leeks or chives. I think it’s a delicious way to squeak in some savings and some healthy dividends.
In this recipe I use thinly shredded cabbage. Cabbage can easily be shredded with a sharp Chef’s knife, a sturdy box grater, a food processor or a mandolin. I use all of the tools I listed, but for this recipe I used the mandolin. I also use the mandolin to make cole slaw and to slice apples that I dehydrate. Just be careful so you don’t slice your finger!
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Humble veggies…cabbage, potatoes and onions cooked and mashed. Colcannon is a budget lover’s dream!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Vegetable
- Method: stove
- Cuisine: Irish, American
- 5 Yukon Gold potatoes or russet or Idaho, peeled, diced, about 1 pound
- 1/2 head green cabbage, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 large onion, peeled, thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- Place potatoes in a large pan, cover potatoes with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium heat, melt add 1 tablespoon butter and 2 teaspoons oil. Add cabbage and onion. Cook until vegetables are wilted and softened, about 10-15 minutes.
- When the potatoes are fork tender, drain the water and return the potatoes to the pan. Add milk to the pan, along with a tablespoon of butter. With a potato masher, mash the potatoes thoroughly into the milk mixture until the potatoes are pretty smooth though a few lumps are OK. Stir the cabbage and onions into the mashed potatoes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
The cooked colcannon keeps up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Cover to keep it from drying out. Reheat, covered, in the microwave at 50% power until heated through. Or heat in oven, covered, at 350℉ until heated through, about 15 minutes.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 210
Keywords: cabbage, potatoes, how to store vegetables, budget friendly vegetables