Category Archives: main dish

“Tater tot” casserole

I had a craving for this dish from my childhood, only to learn that all tater tots have wheat in/on them. At the same time, I also learned that the cheese soup we’d always used was also off limits (I’m living gluten free). Thus, I set out to make a gluten-free version of this fun easy meal.

“Tater tot” casserole
scant 2 pounds lean ground beef
1 large onion
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cans french-cut green beans
1.5 pounds Velveeta
1 1/2 cups milk
1 2-pound bag gluten-free southern-style hash browns

In a large skillet, brown the hamburger; drain if necessary. Add the onion, chopped; cook until transparent. Meanwhile, chunk the Velveeta and place in a microwave-safe container and cook, stirring frequently, until melted. Stir in the milk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread this meat mixture in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. On top of this, layer the green beans, drained. Spread the hash browns atop the green beans. Pour cheese mixture evenly over the casserole. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the hash browns are cooked and beginning to brown.


A new spicy potato soup

While recipes for spicy potato soups abound, this one is quite different than any I’ve tried before.

Thrown together based on what we had in the kitchen, this meal morphed while it was being made. I started with the idea of doing potato soup, except with ground beef. Well, P and I decided that for that to seem right, we’d need to season the meat in such a way as to make it more like sausage. That seemed like a lot of work, so instead we ended up with this, sort of a cross between potato soup and tortilla soup.

Spicy Verde Potato Soup
1.5 pounds extra lean ground beef
2 med-large onions
10 or so medium potatoes
6 stalks celery
1 16-oz jar salsa verde
1 7-oz can of green chilies
2 cups or so milk
cumin (1 tablespoon+?)
black pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
granulated garlic (1-2 teaspoons)
salt (1 tablespoon+)

Brown ground beef in large stockpot. Chop onions and add to pot, cooking until onions are transparent. Scrub potatoes and chop to small-bite size. Throw those in, along with water, up to about an inch from covering the food. Cover, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook 8 minutes. While that’s cooking chop celery. Add to the cooking mixture. Allow to simmer another 10 minutes, or until potatoes and celery are done. Add salsa verde, green chilies, milk, and spices, to taste.

Good served with co-jack cheese atop it, and with tortilla chips.

Wild Rice Soup

Earlier this week I thought, a wild rice soup sounds good. So I looked around, and I found out such a thing exists. I checked out a few recipes — this one and this one seemed the most promising and the most like what I was seeking.

I ended up basically following the first one — I doubled the recipe, and I just used one package of chicken, about 1.5 pounds.

Wild Rice Soup

Wild Rice Soup
1 cup uncooked wild rice
6 tablespoons butter
2 onions, chopped
2 cup chopped celery
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 (10.75 ounce) can chicken broth
4 cups milk
1.5 pounds chicken, diced

Prepare rice according to package directions. Cook the chicken in a large pot. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and melt the butter or margarine in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, or until almost tender.
Stir in the four and salt and pepper to taste. Add the broth and milk and stir until soup thickens.
Add the rice and the chicken and allow to heat through, about 10 minutes.

It’s quite tasty!

Oh, one more note: I made this with our wild rice mix, not straight wild rice. Not sure what the recipe intended, but I do like it this way. This wild rice mix consists of wild rice and brown rice.



I adapted this standby from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe for Chicken Jambalaya, but that company apparently tweaks its recipes and doesn’t have all its versions online.

Here’s my version:
2/3 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper
1 pound smoked sausage, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cup long grain rice
2 teaspoons drived basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Tobasco sauce
1 cup water, if needed

In a large skillet cook celery, onion, and green pepper in olive oil. Add sausage. Continue cooking until vegetables are tender but not brown.
Stir in undrained tomatoes, chicken broth, uncooked rice, basil, garlic powder, pepper and Tobasco. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. If the mixture gets dry, add some or all of the water. Remove lid for last 5 minutes of cooking time, stirring more frequently.

Roast pork

Tonight we had oven-roasted pork with rice.

P put the roast in a pan with 2.25 cups of uncooked jasmine rice and enough water for it, plus 3 medium onions, roughly chopped. He topped the meat with prepared yellow mustard, garlic powder. He salted the rice (kosher salt) and peppered the whole pan. Toward the end he also added a can of cream of celery soup. Bake at 325° for 2 hours or until meat reaches temperature.

“The flavor didn’t get into the meat very well, I should have rubbed it in or something,” P said upon tasting it.

Shepherd’s pie

The recipe I follow for this dish is actually titled Hamburger Pie, but I grew up calling it shepherd’s pie, and Wikipedia supports my name for it.

Shepherd's pie

The recipe I use is adapted here from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but I couldn’t find the same version online, so I’ll reproduce it here rather than link. The ones I was finding at Better Homes and Gardens all had condensed tomato soup in it. Ew.

Shepherd’s pie
Bake time: 20 minutes

2 cups mashed potatoes (or more)
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
9 ounces frozen green beans or 2 cups loose-pack frozen mixed veggies (I like peas and carrots)
scant 1/4 cup water
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon-ish of dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
shredded cheese to top

Make the mashed potatoes. Set aside. In a large skillet cook ground beef and onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender. Drain if necessary.

Stir beans or mixed vegetables and water into beef mixture. Cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, garlic and pepper. Bring to boiling. Transfer the mixture to a 2.5-quart casserole.

Drop mashed potatoes in mounds atop hot mixture and spread to nearly cover. If desired, sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Bake in a 375° oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Makes 4 servings.

I grew up having this as a way to use up instant mashed potatoes. Now I wouldn’t make it without real potatoes. Traditionally, I think of it having peas and carrots, but I make it with green beans at this point in life.

Beef stroganoff, variation on the theme

Last night I was late getting home, so P was cooking. When I called saying I was beginning the 45-minute journey home, he said he was making beef stroganoff — without the mushrooms. He dislikes mushrooms, but whenver I’ve made beef stroganoff, he just has to pick them out. For me, it’s hard to call a dish beef stroganoff if it lacks mushrooms. Per Wikipedia, though, mushrooms apparently aren’t a requirement. I responded, that he was also making it without sour cream? He said yes, as if he wasn’t aware it was generally used. The aforementioned article states that sour cream was part of the initial iteration of this Russian dish.

Regardless, he at the least made a variation on the theme of beef stroganoff. It tasted remarkably like the dish I’m used to. Another substitution he made, this time quite intentionally, I’m sure, was to use frozen egg noodles instead of the traditional dried egg noodles. Clearly this changed the texture of the dish.

Chop two onions, 1 1/3 pound stew meat in skillet, covered, let cook 30 minutes. Cook two packages of the noodles according to package directions. Drain juice off meat and onions, remove meat and onions from skillet and return juice to pan to use for roux. Add 3 tablespoons butter, 1/3-ish cup flour, and 4 cups milk and 1/2 cup cream, along with 1 cup of shredded cheese and salt and pepper and cook to thicken. Combine the meat, noodles and sauce in a large bowl. Serve.

Doh! There’s also garlic in the sauce, of course.