Sunday, March 17, 2013

Comfort food and planning for Camp Erin

I know that I'm always cooking up what some might consider "fancy" meals, even though I find them to be great recipes and not fancy at all, but I'm going to take a moment and be completely honest with you all. Yes, I love me a good braised brisket or braised short ribs with mashed potatoes but deep down inside me...I am a sucker for...

...white trash comfort food! maybe "white trash" is a bit harsh, but I use it in an endearing way! I promise! My grandmother lived in a mobile home, in an auto wrecking yard...white trash enough? :) But even with all that, my grandmother was an amazing woman, classy as they come! She could whip up a number of meals, but my favorite meal that she made for us was her tater tot hot dish. When I'm feeling blue, or just need something to brighten my world...I make some tater tot hot dish. And with each bite, I'm taken back to that trailer...sitting at my grandma's table...and eating what I still consider to be the best thing on earth!

On Friday it was 18 years since my grandmother passed away, I can't believe how much time has gone by. That being said, I still feel close to my grandma and making tater tot hot dish is one of the ways that keeps her close to my heart (and my stomach!). So I'm going to share with you "Grandma Edith's Tater Tot Hot Dish" recipe! Of course I've added a few things as any good home cook have to make it your own!

It doesn't get any simpler than this recipe! But that being said I always have to call my sister to ask her how many cans of cream of mushroom soup I'm suppose to use! :) But I digress. So here is what you'll need:

- Frozen Veggies (Peas, Corn, Carrots) Anything you like!
- Tater Tots (1 bag should do ya)
- 1 lb of Ground Beef (turkey or chicken would work too...but why ruin it?)
- 2 cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup (or cream of celery or cream of chicken)
 And that is it! Now...that is the simple version! I've jazzed it up a bit..ha ha! I also added 1 large onion that I diced up, a few garlic cloves, and one fresh carrot (I didn't want to buy a bag of frozen mixed veggies). But besides that I kept it pretty simple.

Here are the steps to make Tater Tot Hot Dish!

Put a couple of table spoons of Olive Oil into a saute pan over Medium High Heat

Dice 1 Large Onion, 1 Large Carrot and mince 2 cloves of Garlic

When pan is hot, add the carrots and onions. Saute until the onions and carrots soften a bit.

Once they have softened, add the minced garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes.

Add 1 pound of Ground Beef (or ground chicken/turkey)

I use a potato masher to break it up. Mix it all together and brown the hamburger.

Once meat is browned, add 2 cans of Cream of Mushroom soup and about 1/2 can of water

Mix all that together, then add the frozen veggies.

After adding the veggies and stirring to combine, pour mixture into 9 x 13 baking dish.

Now cover the ENTIRE thing with tater tots!!!!

Now its baking time! You will bake this as the instructions for the tater tots say.

mmmm! Golden Tater Tots! And warm bubbly goodness underneath!

Make sure you get a little bit of everything!!
Easy! Isn't it!! It's one of my favorite meals, honestly! The first time I made it for Michael he cringed as I was pouring the mixture into the baking dish. I looked at him and told him to trust me! He did, and he LOVES it! :)

It's so funny how certain foods can make you feel closer to people in your life. I will forever hold this recipe close and think of my grandma when I make it. :)

The rest of my weekend has been pretty busy but low key if that makes sense. Yesterday I had training for Camp Erin 2013! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to be a part of this amazing event! If you look back to last August you'll find my post about coming back a humble person after being a Big Buddy at Camp Erin. Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting Erin's (who the camp is named after) parents. As they told us Erin's story I couldn't help but cry. In the wake of this tragedy, with the help of The Moyer Foundation, they started Camp Erin here in Snohomish County. And now, over 10 years after it was established, there are over 40 camps across this country and even in Canada. Such an amazing gift to the children who attend camp each year!

I can honestly say that even though I had to give up a Saturday, I couldn't help but feel happiness because of the reason. I was able to reconnect with fellow Big Buddies from last camp and even meet new people! All in all, it was a great day, and I can't wait until August when I'll be driving out to Camp River Ranch for another amazing weekend!

Today has been a bit busier, but in the same breath...low key again! :) I was up early and cut apart a whole chicken and got chicken stock simmering on the stove by 8 AM! :) And then I did some housework and tv watching, I can't resist watching The Golden Girls! I also finished editing my video on how to make Anne Burrell's Braised Beef Brisket!!! This is one of my favorite Anne Burrell recipes! That one meal lasted us 5 days! I had the last of the brisket for lunch today, YUM! And that one meal also helped keep me under budget!! HA! Two birds, one stone!

Today I also had the pleasure of meeting one of my readers! She asked if she could bring her family over to see my chicken coop and chickens. Of course I said yes because I love showing off my coop and the chickens!! :) I'm not sure if she and her husband are 100% sold on getting chickens yet! Hopefully today eased their minds a little bit. In all honesty I can say that the first few months of having chickens was the hardest. Now a days, I go out daily to get eggs, let them out into the yard, and refill their feeder every other week, and their waterer once a week. So if you are thinking about getting chickens...don't be scared! They are like kids...a lot of work at the beginning...but once they grow up they are hopefully pretty independent! :)

Anne Burrell's Braised Brisket Recipe - Food Network

Check out my How To Video!

Well, I suppose I should get my kitchen cleaned up after making stock and then finish some more housework! Before I know it, it's going to be time to cook dinner! Until next time...Keep Cooking!!!

1 comment:

  1. I too love some white trash comfort food ;). That tater tot casserole looks pretty tasty! For my family it's "Casserole with Corn". I think people cringe in horror when I tell them it's hamburger, tomato soup, macaroni, corn and cheese but its homey and comforting and it never fails to please :)