Approximately eight years ago, I moved to Minnesota from California. It was a big change, as I’m sure you can imagine. The first hurdle to clear, of course, was the weather. I’ll never forget being a 16 year old high school student in the central valley of CA, complaining about the inhumanity of forcing children to go to school in 40 degree weather- were they waiting for people to freeze to death?! I was confused when my dad told me, “You don’t know cold.” I am no longer confused. I know cold.
But the weather is not the only difference between these two seemingly polarized locales. I found myself in the midst of a church-going community like I’d never seen; groups of matriarchal women making huge batches of what they called “hot dish” for their many different “potlucks”. I wasn’t initially convinced that casseroles could stand alone as a main course, but as any good Midwesterner knows, they are a staple in cold-weather cuisine. Their simple, hearty flavors do wonders for the chilled body, and provide comfort to the soul. Our favorite “hot dish” in our house, by far, is tater-tot casserole. Sure, it’s mundane, perhaps even pedestrian. But at the end of a long day in the snow, there’s nothing better.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 can julienned green beans
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 onion
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- 1 bag frozen tater tots
- Brown ground beef with roughly chopped onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder (to taste).
- Drain meat, mix with ½ can of soup.
- Spread meat mixture in the bottom of an 8×8 oven dish. Cover with green beans and the rest of the soup. Arrange tater-tots in a single layer over the top of the meat and beans.
- Bake in the oven at 350 degrees (f) for 45-60 minutes.
Do you have any favorite casserole dishes? We’d love to see them in the comments!
Download the .pdf version of this recipe: Tater Tot Casserole