You fall one of two ways: "hotdish", or "casserole".
I specifically remember getting into a heated argument with someone, once, as they told me 'hotdish' was a made up term. FALSE! Chances are, if you were born in the Midwest (Minnesota or the Dakotas, specifically), a hotdish was a tasty mixture of the three macronutrients (proteins, carbs and fats) your mom would pop in the oven, on the regular. Easy, peasy and delicious!
With a mom born in South Dakota, moved to Minnesota and then Iowa, hotdish was a staple in our household, and for good reason! What better way to give your family a balanced, hot meal, that came with the option of leftovers, for the week?! Perfect!
Now, as a kid, anything and everything tasted better with a big 'ole helping of cheese, and maybe a side of bread (white)! So, as you can imagine, growing up to become a person who no longer consumed either was very difficult! For the first few years of my dietary changes, I bid farewell to the idea of ever consuming those meals from days of old... How could they taste anywhere near the same as the original?!
Some things will never taste like the original, but I'm here to tell you that tator tot hotdish is not one of them! After reading countless recipes, I came up with the perfect mixture of ingredients to give it that REAL hotdish feel, but without the gluten, dairy and added fillers I've come to stay away from. This dish creates an easy opportunity to get in your veggies, as well!
Tator Tot Hotdish (gluten-free, dairy-free, *grain-free option)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound ground beef, grass-fed
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 3 TBSP garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup gluten free flour (I love Otto's Cassava flour... it's grain-free!)
- 1 cup dairy-free milk, of choice (homemade cashew is my preference)
- 1 cup hot water
- 3 TBSP beef bouillon (gluten-free, dairy-free)
- Salt, pepper, garlic salt, Bragg's Sprinkle
- Green chili sauce (your preference on amount)
- 1 package frozen veggies
- 1-2 cups organic greens (the ones wilting in your fridge)
- 1 package tator tots
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Brown beef, onion, celery and garlic in a large cooking pot. *I like to add a generous amount of seasonings to this mixture, while the beef is cooking, along with green chili sauce.
Add flour and mix until well incorporated. Add milk, water, beef bouillon and seasonings, to taste. *Again, help yourself to another hefty helping of green chili sauce. Stir until well mixed and everything is dissolved. *I like to add the bouillon into the cup of water, before adding it into the mixture. This just makes sure everything is dissolved, early on.
Add the frozen fresh and frozen veggies, and stir until combined. Place mixture in a cooking dish ("hotdish dish"... NOT "casserole dish")! Ha! Cover with tots, and bake at 350 degrees, for 50 minutes. Tots should be browned, and mixture should be bubbly.
Let sit for a couple minutes, and spoon yourself a serving... or two!
* Indicates personal preferences, when cooking
^^ In order to make this meal grain-free, be sure to use cassava flour, and eliminate corn from frozen veggie pack. Make sure tots are made with purest ingredients, no fillers.
For those of you who know me, I'm sure you're curious about when I started eating meat, again. That's something I plan to write about, in a blog-post, at a later date. In the meantime, I'll say this: I've really been focusing on feeding my body what it's craving, and meat was something my body had been asking for, for a while. I LOVE animals, and I loved the idea of being *basically* vegan, but my body wasn't feeling as powerful, and energized, as I knew it should, so I decided to re-introduce meat.
A couple things I plan on focusing on, in that blog-post: digestion (meat is so hard to digest, and this is one of the reasons why I stopped consuming it, in the first place; local, hormone-free, pasture-raised (this is important! not all meat is the same); portion-control (not going over-board).
Stay tuned for that! But in the meantime, enjoy this recipe! Let me know if you end up giving it a try!