Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My First Hot Dish

I have been living in the Far North for the last 8 years.  I have never (1) had a true hot dish or (2) made a true hot dish.  Now, to me a casserole is something like jambalaya or baked ziti or something along those lines.  A hot dish (for those not from the Northern part of the US) is a combination of a starch (potatoes - typically of the fried form or macaroni), a vegetable (or another starch like corn that people call a vegetable), a protein (99% of the time it is ground meat), cheese and the all important can of condensed Campbell's soup. 

How did I come to make a hot dish tonight?  Well, TS had an event to go to tonight and would not be home until late - as in 2 hours after I got home from work.  I asked him what he would like for dinner knowing that I had 2 hours to prepare a good meal when he gets home. (Which is another discussion for another day - the whole men getting home and having a hot meal prepared, while the women never get that - or at least I don't).  I suggested another of my Mexican cooking challenges, a lasagna (which is NOT a hot dish), or something else that would be more on the "gourmet" side of things.  He said, since it has been so cold, and one of his friends posted a hot dish recipe online, he would like that hot dish for dinner.  Since I told him he could have anything, I could not really go back on my work, could I?

So, after work today I braved the dropping temperatures (it was a windchill of -9 when I got out of my car) to buy the ingredients for a Southwestern Tatertot Hot Dish.  Here is what you need:


1 bag of tatertots
1 can Fiesta Cheese Soup (of the Campbell's condensed variety)
1 can of corn (that "vegetable")
1 can Rotel
1 small can chopped jalepenos
8oz sour cream
1 lb ground meat (I used 93/7)
1 c. shredding colby jack cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin - split
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika

Now I had some of that at home (mainly the spices), but the rest was bought today.  I must admit when it is that cold and windy outside, something hearty like this sounds really good.

While TS was enjoying himself, networking with other lawyers, and braving the weather to get back home, I prepared the meal.  (TS takes the bus so he really did "brave the weather")


Preheat oven to 400 and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray

1. In a skillet brown the ground meat with 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp cumin, pinch of salt.
2. Once the meat is browned, take it off the heat to cool a bit.
3. In a large bowl, combine the corn, Rotel, chopped jalepenos, Fiesta Cheese Soup, and sour cream - stirring after each addition.
4. Add 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper and mix well.
5. Fold in the frozen Tatertots.
6. Fold in the ground meat.
7. Spread the mixture into prepared 9x13 dish.
8. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
9. Bake for 30 mins.
10. Let rest for 5-10 mins and Enjoy!

And I must say, this recipe was the perfect amount of spicy and hearty and warmth to fill us up on a cold, cold night.  TS even had 2 helpings!  We cannot wait for leftovers tomorrow night.  I must say, I now understand why a Southwestern Tatertot Hot Dish is a comfort food for those of us living in the land of below 0 weather. 

Note: If you need a vegetable, like I do (thank you dad for always requiring a vegetable with every meal), carrots were a good option.

Note 2: I did a Mexican cooking challenge a few weeks ago that I did not post about.  I will update that this weekend.

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