Minnesotan Staples: Hot Dish & Freezing Your Ass Off

Happy Sunday, B-Loungers!  I know, I know… it’s been a while since I’ve written last.  But you ought to know by now that I never write when I say I will!  If you were surprised and disappointed these last couple Sundays, you only have yourself to blame.

We finally got some snow (huzzah!), and I took advantage by heading up to Snowbowl and shredding some powder with my brother Kacey and his girlfriend Graysen.  I put my snow driving skills to the test by taking my front wheel drive vehicle up the mountain, something that was explicitly discouraged at the mountain base.  It may have taken a quarter tank of gas, but I did it, mofos! I finessed our way up that polar peak the way only a northern Minnesotan knows how.   Have some imagery:

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Those face masks are game-changers!  First run, I was miserable.  Snow was coming down in buckets, and combined with high velocity I felt like I was in a frozen hurricane.  I went and got us some masks at the snow shop, and like magic, it was as if it wasn’t snowing at all!  I couldn’t find the traditional black ski masks I grew up with, though.  I think those are a black market exclusive these days.

I’ve been feeling a lot of Minnesotan pride lately.  Vikings are kicking ass (all thanks to me not watching — every time I do, they lose.  I’m the biggest non-participatory fan ever!), my snow driving skills are ON POINT, and I’ve made two tater tot hot dishes already this year!

For those of you who are less familiar with this Midwestern state’s culture, hot dishes are the lifeblood of every Minnesotan diet, and the tater tot hot dish is the holy grail.  I highly recommend watching this video for further clarification.  Lesson 5, beginning at 13 minutes 45 seconds of the video, is about eating in Minnesota, but I strongly encourage you to watch the entire thing to get a better understanding of Minnesotans as a whole.

I’ve tried a number of different recipes for this, the food of my people, and this one is my favorite.  This hot dish is simple yet flavorful.  The cream cheese elevates the flavor and creaminess in a wonderful, harmonious way.  Lemme walk you through it.

First, preheat your oven to 375.  While that’s happening, brown the beef and drain the fat, then add your beef stock (I used pre-mixed beef stock from the carton instead of making it with bouillon cubes), cream mush soup, cream cell soup, room temp cream cheese cubes, and your garlic and onion powder.

 

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OH GOD! WHAT HAVE I CREATED?!

 

It may look like it came out of a baby’s diaper now, but I promise it will come out a bubbling beauty. It’ll look like the picture above until it all melts together and forms a cohesive, creamy, meaty, soupy skillet.

In blood red lettering, the recipe says, “You most likely will not need additional seasonings since bouillon and cream soups already contain sodium;”  I tasted mine and added a shitload of salt and pepper.  I had pre-seasoned the beef with a bit of S&P, but I found it sorely lacking.   Like any good cook, I say taste that shit, see what you think, and go from there.  It reads more like a PSA to prevent organ failure rather than a taste-based recommendation, so I took that to mean do whatever the f*** you want.  I almost threw some Tabasco in there, ’cause who doesn’t put that shit on everything?  Might give that a go next time.

After that, slop that mess into a pre-greased baking dish and add two cans of green beans.  Then the fun part begins: laying on the tots.

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I did a mix of medium cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese and blanketed the top until I couldn’t see the tots.  Toss that in the oven for 45 minutes or until the tots are cooked and cheese is a happy golden brown.  And presto!  Tater tot hot dish.  Ready for any and every occasion!

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Well, B-Loungers, I hope you try this recipe.  This is a childhood staple for any Minnesotan and perfect for a cold, shitty day. And Napoleon Dynamite.

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‘Till next time, my friends! Stay hydrated!


Try this recipe?  Like snowboarding?  Learn something new about Minnesotans?  Leave a Reply!  I’d love to hear from you!

 

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