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Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Hang Over Spicy Cheesy Beef Tater Tot Casserole

The blurry eyes. The pounding head. The layer of fuzz on the teeth. And the confetti and party paraphernalia stuck in your hair. Could be New Years years morning... or just another Sunday. Either way, sooner or later you are going to need hang-over food.

In my world, there are three things a hangover food absolutely must contain: potato, cheese (which also doubles as grease) and a little heat.

My Minnesota background is studded with casseroles, hot dishes and one pot dinners. These are the most easy comfort food dishes available. Mix any basic meat with a few vegetables, add a gravy-like substance along with some cheese. Voila! It becomes one of those meals you don't want to admit liking to your foodie friends, but secretly eat the entire dish.

Don't over think this! Use what is left over from the party the night before. Turkey, hamburger, beans, carrots, asparagus (I used beets and turnips) ... the cheese and the tater tots are the real keys. If you happened to make the Fat and Happy Simple New Years Roast Beef Dinner, this is a perfect dish for the leftovers and for the stragglers still passed out in your tub.

Whether your hangover is from celebration, just another night on the town or your just looking for something hearty and comforting, a tater tot hot dish is a Fat and Happy can't miss!

Tips and Techniques: I'm taking the liberty to use Velveeta in place of cheese; the truth is that it just works better in these type of dishes. But feel free to substitute a shredded cheese in its place.

New Years Hang Over Spicy Cheesy Beef Tater Tot Casserole

1-2 cups left over roast beef (hamburger, turkey or chicken), chopped up
2 tbls olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup gravy or stock
1 cup remaining roasted vegetables (or fresh vegetables)
1 hot pepper (jalapeno, roasted poblano, etc)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup yogurt (or cream cheese)
8 oz Velveeta, cubed
salt and pepper,
1-4 tbls fresh herbs, chopped- thyme or sage or parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the olive oil into a large sized pan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, cook for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add in the garlic, cook for one more minute.

If you are using fresh vegetables rather than some leftovers that have been pre-cooked, add them to the pot (including the pepper) and cook until they begin to soften, then continue. If you are are using pre-cooked veggies (including the pepper), add to the pot and then add in the gravy (or stock.)

Cook until everything is heated through. Add in the peas, yogurt and Velveetea. Add salt and pepper and any fresh herbs you need to use up. Taste and adjust as needed.

Pour the casserole into an oven baking dish. arrange the frozen tater tots on top of the mixture. Place in the oven and bake until the tater tots are brown and crispy on top - approximately 25 - 40 minutes. Enjoy while hot, then take a nap.


  1. This looks delicious! I actually do love casseroles or crock pot meals so this is right up my alley. Thanks so much for sharing.

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