We went to a wonderful potluck dinner Sunday night. I was introduced to our host’s daughter as “Rachel. She’s a food blogger.” Can I just say how cool that made me feel?!
I wonder, is it just me, or does food taste better at a potluck (especially if there’s fried or BBQ’s chicken)? At our meal, there was: BBQ’d chicken, 2 kinds of sausage, green bean casserole, my newly invented Tater-Not Casserole, and for dessert one of the best fruit crisps I’ve ever had (my husband agreed – he said he hoped I didn’t mind, but he liked it better than mine. I didn’t, because I did too.)
OK, back to the Tater-Not Casserole. I don’t know if this was wise, but I decided to not try out a new recipe for this event, but to come up with a new dish and serve it to people we hardly knew (and hoped would be invited to hang out with again). I’d written down a few ideas, I’d researched what was in Tater-Tot Casserole, so knew in general the elements I needed (potato, creamy, vegetable, maybe meat), but I hadn’t really planned it out. Dinner was at 5, and at 3:40 I figured I should get started (um, 30 minutes ago, but it was a nice day, so we went for a walk with the dog). Fast forward through all 5 burners on at once, potato on every kitchen surface, piles of cheese, all pans dirty, husband taking photos, husband doing dishes (heart), bechamel not thickening, forgetting about the balsamic, not burning the bacon… to a completed dish, with zero minutes to spare before we had to be out the door.
It had broccoli on the bottom, which was covered with cheese sauce (or bechamel, if you want to pretend you know what you’re talking about like I do), topped with a combination of hash browns and mashed potatoes that had been mixed with the rest of the bechamel, which was topped with bacon, caramelized onions and garlic, that was topped with reduced balsamic vinegar (that thankfully didn’t burn in the frenzy). I had tasted most layers individually, but not the finished product. I just figured that almost anything is better with bacon, so if it was bad, maybe no one would know. Judging from the two scoops that were left in the 9×13 dish, it was surprisingly edible.
This recipe is for Kristy W., who requested my version of Tater-Tot Casserole.
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