casserole · Cheese · comfort food · dinner · easy · Hot dish · lunch · potatoes · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Tater Tot Hot Dish and Stolen Laundry

Last week I was trying to do 12 things at once, which included laundry. I have lived in my apartment building for 7 years (!) and have always left my laundry in the dryer (and sometimes washer when I’m forgetful) longer than is appropriate. But! I am also of the belief that if someone’s clothes are in the way, it’s totally okay to take their clothes out and put them on top of the dryer. Anyone that is opposed to that is a fucking baby. Like, why? It’s fine. If you don’t want people touching your clothes then live in a nicer building with in-unit laundry, you goddamn princess.

So I started laundry one night last week. Once it was in the dryer, I went to T’s place for the night. Again, I do this all the time. And I’m not alone! Lots of people leave their laundry down there. When I got home the next morning and went to grab my laundry, it was gone. The reusable dryer ball that I use was placed on top of the machine, but there wasn’t a single item of clothing to be found. I called T immediately, fuming. I was pacing the halls and loudly bitching to him on the phone at 6:30 in the morning. I almost started pounding on doors, but T assured me that I did not want to be “that person.” In lieu of knocking on every door, I decided to make signs for the laundry room and front doors warning the rest of the building that we had a laundry thief among us, and to call me if they knew anything. After putting those up, I was still seething with so much anger that I decided every fucking apartment door in the building needed a sign. I ripped out notebook pages and wrote notes to tape on every single fucking door.

After putting up all the signs, I went to work in old ass scrub pants (since all my good ones had been stolen). I had also texted my landlord and maintenance person to see if they could do anything about it. Turns out there is a camera in the laundry room! Nowhere else, of course, because no one is at all concerned about the homeless person that had been living in a storage unit, but I digress. There was at least a camera where I needed it in this moment.

It ended up not coming to that, though. A few hours later, I got a phone call from one of the guys that lives in the basement units. He doesn’t speak much English, but stated that he was “very sorry” and that he would “put back.” From the little bit I understood, it sounds like it was an accident. Or at least that’s what he’s claiming. I’m sorry, do my hot pink pants and lace underwear look like the clothing of a middle aged man? And why would he make sure to remove the dryer ball? I don’t trust anyone. It sure seems like that fucker was legit trying to steal my clothes. I like to think my aggressive notes all over the building made him realize he shouldn’t fuck with me.

This recipe feels ill timed, as it is the time of resolutions. That means most people have resolved to lose weight, which makes me sad. Instead of focusing on weight, let’s focus on feeding our bodies good food. Sometimes that means food with lots of cheese and tots, and sometimes it means tons of fresh veggies. Today, for me it meant something easy and comforting. It’s been a long and hectic holiday season, and it’s cold as fuck outside here in Minneapolis. That means it’s hot dish season. I didn’t grow up with tater tot hot dish, like a “normal” Minnesotan. My mom (and extended family) is from Wisconsin, so we always called this kind of thing a casserole. And we never used tater tots. The first time I ever even ate tater tot hot dish was when I made it for my roommates in New York at the age of 23. Before that the only casserole I’d had was noodle based and had tomato sauce and ground beef.

Since becoming a vegetarian I have discovered Morningstar Farm meatless crumbles work great in any recipe that calls for ground beef. The texture is pretty spot on. Plus, it made this recipe even easier, as I literally just had to dump a bunch of bags and soup into a bowl. I did not bother cooking the crumbles beforehand, as they would have plenty of time to warm up in the oven. The whole thing took maybe 5 minutes to throw together. The preheating of the oven took longer.

I have to thank Sarah for this recipe. She comes over to hang out with T and me sometimes, and almost always makes us some fucking delicious hot dish. I like to put an egg on it for our hungover asses the next morning.

Tater Tot Hot Dish

2 bags (12oz each) Morningstar Farm meatless crumbles (or 1.5 pounds of cooked ground beef)

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 cup milk

1 bags frozen mixed veggies (I used 10oz bags and they were a mixture of peas, green beans, and corn)

1 pound frozen tater tots (you’ll have leftover)

2ish cups sharp cheddar cheese (enough to cover)

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl mix together the meatless crumbles, veggies, soup, and milk (plus a little salt and pepper). Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish and cover with shredded cheese. Finally, line up all those cute little tots on top. Throw it in the oven for 45-60 minutes. The tots should be crispy and delicious.

Put an egg on it for breakfast, especially when hungover. Then get your second sleep to avoid a full day of your hangover’s bullshit.

casserole · comfort food · dinner · vegetarian

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Ok, so I recognize that this isn’t the most original post. I mean, everyone and their fucking moms are making butternut squash mac and cheese right now. It’s fucking fall, and there are squashes everywhere. I was actually planning on scrapping this whole idea, and just making something else to blog about. But then something happened that surprised me.

It ended up being the best thing I’ve ever made.20151018_203844

Other than cake (obviously).

I mean, who knew?! I guess I can add this recipe to the short list of things I enjoy about fall (along with PSLs, chunky scarves, boots, and more PSLs).

My one complaint would be the roasting situation. I’m still not getting this shit down. So, the recipe says to roast the squash for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. I did that, and found it still almost raw in the middle. It was impossible to scoop without using all my muscles. So after the 25 minutes, I 20151018_200618scooped as much as possible, then threw all those bits back into the oven with the rest of the squash, and roasted for another 30 minutes or so. I think next time, I’ll just peel the whole thing and chop it up before roasting. It was super frustrating to have to wait that long, especially since I made this at like 10pm, while starving. I kept eating chips and salsa while I waited, which cut down on how much mac and cheese I was able to stuff in my face later.

Side note: This recipe makes a shit ton of food. I suggest cutting it in half if you don’t live with 6 children, or a small army.

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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (from Pioneer Woman)

1 pound macaroni (I just realized while writing this that she only asks for 12 oz… but I used a full pound and it was great. Do what you want.)

1/2 Butternut squash20151018_200311

Olive oil

2 onions, sliced

8 tablespoons butter (that’s a whole stick, for those that aren’t good with math)

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk (I used 2%, but the recipe calls for whole)

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Salt and Pepper

Start with boiling your pasta until al dente. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

So, there are 2 options for roasting the squash. Either way, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then, you can either:20151018_210430

  1. Cut the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 30-60 minutes (checking every 10 minutes after the first 30). OR
  2. Peel the squash, cut in half and scoop out seeds. Then cut squash into cubes. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.

While your squash is roasting, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, and cook onions over low/medium heat. It takes about 20 minutes to get them just right, which at first I thought was ridiculous, but turned out to be amazing. Just keep stirring them every few minutes, until they are golden brown. You won’t be sorry. Once they are finished, set them aside in a medium bowl.20151018_210815

Once you’ve used your preferred method of roasting, place half the roasted squash (assuming you roasted the whole thing, which is what I did) into a bowl, and mash with a potato masher. Set aside.

In the same skillet that you used for the onions, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Sprinkle in the flour, and whisk for 1-2 minutes, until it forms a thin paste. Whisk in the milk. Cook for a few minutes, while whisking, and add lots of salt and pepper. Taste as you go! You’ll need a lot of salt.

Stir in the mashed squash, until fully incorporated. Add cheese, and keep stirring. Once everything has melted together, taste it again, and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Then mix in the onions and pasta. Pour everything into a 9×13 baking dish.

Melt the last 2 tablespoons of butter in another skillet, and add breadcrumbs. Stir until combined, and sprinkle over the pasta. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Face plant right into it (careful – it’s hot!).