No-Can Tater Tot Hot Dish

Serves 9 to 12.

Note: From “Land of 10,000 Plates” by Patrice Johnson.

For sauce:

• 2 tbsp. butter

• 2 tbsp. flour

• 1 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard

• 2 c. whole milk, just warm

• 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

• Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For filling:

• 1 tbsp. butter

• 10 oz. mushrooms, chopped

• 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped (about 1 c.)

• 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey

• 1 tsp. fresh thyme

• 2 medium zucchini, chopped (about 2 c.)

• 2 tbsp. tomato paste

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For topping:

• Butter for baking dish

• 1 lb. frozen Tater Tots

• 1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese


To prepare sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter and flour and whisk constantly as butter melts and blends with flour. Add mustard and continue whisking for 3 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk until mixture is completely blended. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

To prepare filling: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid and the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Make space in the middle of the skillet, add the ground beef (or turkey) and cook, stirring, for about 8 to 10 minutes, using a spoon or spatula to break up the meat and combine with the mushrooms and onions. Add thyme, zucchini and tomato paste, mix well and cook an additional 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease bottom and sides of 9-by-13-inch (3-quart) casserole dish with butter.

Spread the filling evenly in the baking dish and top with all but 1/2 cup of the sauce. Top evenly with Tater Tots, reserved 1/2 cup sauce and 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is melted and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let hot dish stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Sort-of Jan Doerr’s Shrimp and Carrot Salad

Serves 6.

Note: From “Land of 10,000 Plates,” by Patrice Johnson.

• 3/4 c. mayonnaise

• 3 tbsp. sugar

• 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1 tbsp. prepared mustard

• 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 4 c. shredded carrots

• 2 large green onions, finely chopped (about 3 to 4 tbsp.)

• 2 c. cooked shrimp

• 1 c. potato sticks


In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice, mustard and Old Bay seasoning, then season with pepper, to taste. Combine with carrots, green onions and shrimp. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with potato sticks.