Or what happens when Terry is told to make supper and try to use up some stuff in the fridge.
The BT’s are actually supposed to be BLT’s. But Lindz doesn’t care for lettuce, so we don’t usually have it around. Personally, I like rabbit food, but I often don’t use it up fast enough, so we usually don’t buy it. Nothing fancy with these, just good ol’ bacon, tomato, bit of mayo, and toasted bread. Heart stopping goodness.
The pepper salad is a variation of a tomato salad that I often make. I did a very coarse chop on four peppers, added some very thinly sliced red onion, a light drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and some balsamic vinegar to give it just a bit of a bite. All of this is to your personal taste, of coarse. In case you haven’t guessed, I just swapped the peppers in for the tomatoes from the original recipe. Dave put this on his bacon sandwich and seemed to enjoy it. Not what was planned, but then I’m pretty easy going.
The conversation between Lindz and Dave as I was starting to come up with a meal plan went as follows:
Lindz: Do you like green bean hotdish?
Dave: What’s in it?
Lindz: Green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French’s onions on top.
Lindz: What’s wrong with you?!?
So the bowl of steamed green beans was for Dave. Like Lindz said, all that went into the hotdish was two cans of green beans, one can of cream of mushroom soup, and enough of French’s onions on top to cover. Bake at 375 degrees F until it bubbles (about 10 to 15 minutes) and serve.
This was one of the days that we were working up on a roof. So, by the time I got home, I hadn’t eaten in six hours, drank a gallon of water and was still dehydrated, and I had a beer while cooking. Talk about a cheap buzz. This is just the set-up to what seemed like a really good idea. And as it turns out, it was. I sliced up a couple of jalapenos and fried them in the bacon grease. They went great on the BT.
Way back in early January, I decided to do an egg bake to use up a bunch of stuff in the fridge. (sensing a theme here?) While it turned out OK, there was a lot of things that I will do differently the next time. First off, making a half batch. A 9 x 13 pan doesn’t sound like a lot of food, but when you eat it for lunch several days straight, it gets a little tiring. Also, I would have mixed the ingredients more instead of layering them. There was a layer of cheese in the middle that basically separated the dish into two halves. I would have much preferred the cheese distributed more randomly instead of a strata layer. Finally, I would have liked to cut down on the amount of peppers and mushrooms that I put in. They overwhelmed the dish and ended up a bit soggy in texture. So if I could figure out a way to get rid of some of their moisture it would be a good thing. Sauteing them would be a logical option, especially for the mushrooms. That way I could get a little extra flavor out of them as well. Thinking about a little bit more, I am concerned the peppers would get mushy from the extra cooking. So I think I would skip that unless I need to get rid of some more moisture for the third time around. Enough griping, on to the recipe! I’ll write it up as I plan on cooking the next time.
- 12 Eggs, beaten
- 4 oz Button Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/2 Bell Peppers, medium dice
- 1 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 1/2 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 large Onion, small dice
- 1 lb Bacon
- 1 Tbs Butter
- 1 Tbs dried Basil
- 1 Tbs dried Oregano
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Fry the bacon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop into 1/2″ strips crosswise. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and saute mushrooms until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Mix the cheeses together and set aside half of the mixture. In a large bowl, beat the eggs together.
Add the rest of the ingredients in with the eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 pan and top with the reserved cheese blend.
Place it in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a knife comes out slightly wet in the center.
I’m a Minnesotan, born and bred. Rural Minnesotan to be specific, so my perspective (and relatives) are definitely hick. With that being said, it should be no surprise when I say that I fall firmly into the hotdish camp of the Great Hotdish vs. Casserole Debate. It’s okay if the rest of the country doesn’t agree. They’re wrong, but it’s okay for them to have their own opinion.
Tonight we had two friends over for supper and some mindless TV viewing. Since the weather is getting cooler and there was a decent chance that Lindsay would be cooking when we made plans, it was decided that Tater Tot Hotdish sounded really good.
Rereading that last sentence, it sounds like Lindz is not a good cook. I just want to set the record straight here. She is a great cook. She worked in two different restaurants for several years. She is even highly praised for her ability to cook breakfast, specifically her eggs. In fact, there were people who would walk out of brunch in one of the restaurants if they saw that she wasn’t working. Nowadays, she just lets me cook because I enjoy it more and I’m more adventurous in trying different things in the kitchen.
Back to story. Everyone I know grew up with a different standard version of this dish, but most of the time it was a way to use up different things from the fridge or freezer. Even through all of the iterations, several key ingredients remain constant: tater tots, cream of something soup (traditionally mushroom), burger of choice, and frozen veggies.
I ended up cooking supper because I was home and Lindsay was busy with other stuff, so it all worked out in the end. This recipe is going to have a lot of hand waving and approximations because I’ve made it enough that I just do it by feel.
First off you want to brown a pound of hamburger in a skillet and drain off the fat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the burger in a large mixing bowl. To that I added about a pound of frozen mixed veggies, about a pound of frozen green beans, and about a pound of frozen corn. Then I added two cans of cream of mushroom soup. The idea is to add just enough soup to coat everything without the final dish turning into, well, soup.
I put the filling into a 9×13 stoneware dish and leveled it out. The final step is to place a single layer of tater tots over everything. I then placed it in the oven and turned it to 375 degrees and left it for about 45 minutes (I forgot to get an actual number on the time, but this is pretty close). Pull it out when you see the filling bubbling up through most of the tater tots. IMPORTANT NOTE: Never put stoneware into a preheated oven. The thermal shock will cause stress fractures in pottery and in time it will crack on you. Just put it in the oven and then set the temperature and let both heat up together.
And this is what came out:
Just so the meal didn’t feel so institutional, I decided to make a side salad with romaine lettuce, button mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.
For dessert, Sheryl and John brought over some apple crisp and vanilla ice cream. Though somewhere in the process it lost the crisp, but nobody complained. Not even sure that they noticed when we were all scarfing it down.
As an added bonus, the whole meal was gluten-free for those keeping track.