If you live in upper Midwest there are two things that you must embrace: the cold winters and hotdish (more commonly known as a casserole). Hotdishes, including tater tot hotdish, consist of a protein like chicken or beef and a starch like rice, noodles or potatoes. The combination is then binded together by a can or two of condensed cream soup.
While you won't find tater tot hotdish (or any other hotdish for that matter) to be suited for fine dining, it is a delicious form of comfort food and very quick and easy to prepare. Most condensed soup, however, contains wheat and dairy which makes hotdish difficult to make since condensed soup is one of the most important ingredients in the dish.
The solution? Make the condensed soup from scratch and freeze in "can sized" portions for quick and easy use in these dishes. Spend some time on the weekend making this Cream of Mushroom Soup, freeze 2 cup "can" portions and you'll have the bulk of your meal ready for a busy weeknight. If you want to eat this dish as Minnesotans do, serve with ketchup (really!)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups condensed cream of mushroom soup (recipe here)
1/4 cup water
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
16 ounces frozen tater tots
1) Spray a large glass casserole dish with cooking spray.
2) In a skillet, brown the ground beef over medium high heat. Drain fat. Add the onion and saute until tender. Add the cream of mushroom soup and water; mix well. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Layer the frozen mixed vegetables on top of the beef mixture, then top with a layer of frozen tater tots.
2) Cover the casserole and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the tater tots are golden brown. Serve immediately.
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