Comfort Food

31 Silver Linings – A Writing Challenge {Day 15}

It’s been another rainy day and, for reasons I won’t go into, a somewhat difficult one as well. As it turns decidedly to fall here, so my thoughts turn to warm, hearty meals – comfort food. And tonight’s meal was just perfect: tater tot casserole.

I’d had this deliciousness years ago at a friend’s and it became a fall and winter staple. It’s simple to make, generally, and I switched it up a bit tonight simply because I’m trying to eat less processed food.

1 lb. ground beef (chicken or turkey also work)
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
1 can of condensed mushroom soup
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag of frozen tater tots

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Gently cook the frozen vegetables according to the stovetop instructions.

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Brown the ground beef.

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Drain any fat from the meat and spread in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with the vegetables, soup, and cheese.

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Add tater tots and bake for 30 – 45 minutes, until soup is bubbly and tater tots are crisp.

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Enjoy!

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It’s Not the Whistlestop Cafe But…

This Yankee decided to try her hand at making some fried green tomatoes last week.  I’d seen them on menus around town and still recall the dish I had at the Court of Two Sisters in NoLA many years ago (they were THAT good!)  While perusing the farmers’ market with a friend, I decided to pick some up and see what I could muster in my own tiny kitchen.

True to form, I went online and found various recipes…then decided to do my own variation after letting them “ripen” for about a week and a half.  I’d been told that they’d work best when they were just starting to take on a pink hue;  they weren’t starting to pink but I was tired of waiting and forged ahead anyway – and ended up pretty pleased with the result.  While I know for sure there is something to be said for frying, I decided to bake them instead for a little bit lighter (and healthier) recipe.  

After preheating the oven to 400 degrees, I sliced my green tomatoes.

After preheating the oven to 400 degrees, I sliced my green tomatoes.

Next, I mixed up the breading.  I chose to use panko, because I prefer it, and mixed in some garlic salt and some paprika.

Next, I mixed up the breading. I chose to use panko, because I prefer it, and mixed in some garlic salt and some paprika.

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First, I dredged the tomatoes in flour, then buttermilk and finally the breadcrumb mixture. The process was a bit slow to ensure they were well covered and ready to bake.

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I prefer to use a baking stone whenever possible and did so with these; about 10 – 12 minutes on each side. I’d recommend turning the broiler on for a minute or two if you want the breadcrumbs to brown a bit more.

Within 30 minutes, the finished product was plated and ready for dinner!  Delish.

Within 30 minutes, the finished product was plated and ready for dinner! Delish.

 

 

From the Yum Files: Dijon Bacon Brussel Sprouts

We had book club last week at one of more frequent haunts.  A friend ordered a dish I hadn’t tried before and it came with “creamy dijon bacon shallot brussel sprouts”.  One taste and I was already trying to figure out how to make this deliciousness at home.  A quick Google search led me to a recipe on The Freckled Foodie blog and I decided this was a perfect starting point.

As I’m the queen of shortcut cooking, I headed off to Trader Joe’s to get the necessary ingredients:

  • 1 bag of shaved brussel sprouts
  • 3 slices of turkey bacon, roughly chopped (raw)
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dijon whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp of olive oil

The directions are fairly straightforward, even for the cooking-challenged:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

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Combine the brussel sprouts and shallots in a large bowl.

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Add the bacon.

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Combine the melted butter, garlic and mustard.

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Mix well.

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Spread evenly on your prepared pan.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so until it starts to brown and crisp.

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Serve in whatever way suits your fancy. I went with a pan seared filet.

Ta da!  Easy, healthy deliciousness.