With the cooling temperatures, the urge for warm drinks, cozy blankets and, of course, comfort food increases. Arguably the region’s most iconic comfort food is the tater tot hotdish.
Most households have a family recipe for the comfort food staple that has been passed down, each with its own twist. Some add additional vegetables, use a cup of milk to thin the soup concentrate or swear by a specific shredded cheese. These variations occurred either by happy accident or experimentation by our family members in the past and stuck.
Through a little experimenting of my own with the classic hotdish, I discovered subtle tweaks that lead to a new version my family enjoys more than the original.
In my recipe, I discovered the simple change of soup used could drastically increase the flavor of the hotdish, which was reinforced by the use of onion tater tots and French’s crispy fried onions.
Coming from a house where fries and tater tots are preferred crispy, I struggled with feeling the tater tots in the hotdish were undercooked when baked in the hotdish from frozen. To combat this, I fully cook the tots separately prior to placing them on top of the hotdish. This doesn’t really add any prep time to the recipe with the added benefit of the oven being thoroughly warm by the time the entire hotdish is ready to bake.
1 bag Ore-Ida onion tater tots
2 cans french cut green beans
1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup
1 can cream of onion soup
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
French’s crispy fried onions, or similar
Shredded cheese of choice
Garlic salt to taste
- Bake tater tots according to package instructions.
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Season with garlic salt to taste, drain and set aside to cool.
- Drain green beans, and in a medium mixing bowl, mix together with soups and cooled ground beef.
- Pour mixture into a greased or nonstick 9-inch by 13-inch hotdish pan.
- Liberally sprinkle shredded cheese over top, using as much as you like.
- Once tater tots are done, top them with the hotdish mixture.
- Sprinkle French’s crispy fried onions on top.
- Place back in oven and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy.