I’m going to a potluck dinner tonight. Normally, I hate potlucks and buffets. Gross. I don’t know where the food came from, I don’t like having to scoop stuff onto my plate, and just, EW. But when a potluck happens among close friends, I don’t mind as much. I trust them, so I’m not suspicious of how their food is made or if their dishes are clean or not. And if I somehow drop my food onto the floor while trying to heap a portion on the plate, they’ll forgive me (and laugh, naturally).
I don’t cook, but I used to make something quite often when I was a vegetarian, not vegan. I’m going to make it tonight, but without egg or dairy products. It is the amazing concoction known as the TATER TOT CASSEROLE. Yummmmmmmmmm. I’m sure it won’t be the same without actual cheese (the fake cheese is never as good. Dammit.), but it’ll be worth a try. Besides, TOTS. I love to eat ALL OF THE TOTS. Here’s the recipe if you’re into it (by the way, I didn’t compose this recipe – I copied it from somewhere ages ago):
One teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
One pound fake beef crumbles
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 cups tomato soup
One cup cracker or bread crumbs
Two tablespoons minced parsley
Three hearty shakes of hot sauce
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 32 oz bag frozen tater tots
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat up a medium sized skillet to medium high and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion. Sauté onion on medium high for about a minute, and then bring the temperature down to solid medium for five to six minutes, until the onion is shiny and opaque and a little soft. Add the crumbles, salt, and pepper, breaking up the crumbles if there are any large pieces. You want the mix heated, but not completely cooked.
2. Lightly beat the egg with a fork, until yolk and white are combined. Mix onion-crumbles mixture, tomato soup, egg, cracker crumbs, parsley, and hot sauce in a medium sized bowl.
3. Add the mixture to an 11 by 8 (or comparably sized) casserole dish, spreading it out into an even layer. Cover the mixture with the cheese – making sure you have it evenly spread across without any gaps (you wouldn’t want a bite without cheese, right?). Then cover the cheese with the tater tots. You’ll want a single layer of tots, with no doubling up.
4. Place the casserole dish, uncovered, into the preheated oven, on the middle rack. Don’t forget to shift the oven to bake. Bake for 40 minutes (I’d check at 30 minutes just to be sure of where it’s at, because ovens do vary a little in temperature, and you don’t want the tots to burn).