Tater Tot Hotdish Recipe: The Ultimate Minnesota Comfort Food

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A few years ago the New York Times ran an article, “The United States of Thanksgiving,” in which they claimed that they searched the country to find recipes that represented each state at the dinner table. The backlash was instantaneous. Minnesotans, known for their niceness–or passive-aggressiveness, whichever you prefer–were angry and confused. The New York Times had labeled ‘Grape Salad’ as the ultimate Minnesota dish. 

Grape salad?!?! Uffdah.

I was born and raised in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 hotdishes, and had never once heard of grape salad, let alone tasted it. Neither had anyone else I knew. 

In my opinion, the quintessential dish of Minnesota must contain mushrooms.  Usually in the form of cream of mushroom soup. More likely than not, canned cream of mushroom soup. Nearly every Minnesota household has at least a can or two stashed away in the pantry for dinner emergencies. If you find your stock depleted, you can be sure your neighbor has one for you to borrow.  It’s the Minnesota way.  

There are so many different recipes that I would consider representative of my home state, but grape salad is definitely not one of them. Tater Tot Hotdish, on the other hand, is a prime contender! Even my Indian in-laws enjoy Tater Tot Hotdish and they’re not really all that keen on many traditional American foods. 

There are many ways to make Tater Tot Hotdish and each family has their preferred method.  Some use fresh vegetables, others use frozen or canned.  One family may like their hotdish bubbling with melted shredded cheese, another might like to top theirs with Kraft Singles. I’ve even seen some people who prefer to use giant frozen hash-brown patties instead of the tiny, little tots. The possibilities are endless! 

This is my personal favorite recipe.  It’s a drastic change from my usual “from scratch” cooking and may not be the healthiest option out there, but it takes about 10 minutes to throw together and tastes really warm and comforting! It’s perfect for a cold, winter evening and will feed a large family inexpensively.  It’s also a crowd-pleaser, so whip one up and take it along to your next pot-luck!

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[yumprint-recipe id=’2′]What do you think, readers?  How do you like your Tater Tot Hotdish?

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