So, here‘s something crazy. Don’t like links? (I don’t blame you. I hate them.) Check this out:
Behold a Minnesota legend and perhaps the sole reason for the continued existence of canned cream of mushroom soup: Tator Tot Hotdish. I might live in Minnesota, but the traditional version of hotdish isn’t something I’ve accepted as food just yet.
That said, I love an excuse to throw lots of soft, warm, healthy ingredients into a pan and bake until slightly crusty. This recipe (and some unseasonably cold weather during this Minnesota Memorial Day) gave me the perfect excuse to get on the hotdish bandwagon in a new way. This dish offers comfort food mouth-feel and savory flavors, without the icky tot-oils, breadcrumbs, cheese or nut-toppings found in some casserole recipes. It’s nothing like Tator Tot Hotdish (except for the temperature), but in my book that’s a good thing.
No spaghetti squash? Try acorn or delicata instead. Or, in a pinch, you could try canned pumpkin or even roughly mashed sweet potatoes.
Serves 4, Total Time about 1 hr 45 mins
- 2 small or 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp thyme
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
- 3 c mushrooms, sliced (I used baby portobellos, but button would work too)
- 4-6 cups fresh baby kale or spinach
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake until soft, about 25-35 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large, oven-safe pan over medium heat. Cook the ground beef, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and pepper until the beef is browned completely. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside, leaving any fat in the pan.
Keep the pan on medium heat and add the garlic and onion. If there’s not enough fat left in the pan, add a little olive oil or butter. Saute until the onions are soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir frequently until the mushrooms are soft and lose some of their water, about 3 minutes. Add the kale a handful at a time, folding it into the onion mixture. Continue until all the kale is added and wilted. Add the meat back to the pan and stir to combine. Turn off the stove heat.
Once the squash is done, let it cool down enough to handle. I use a potholder to hold the squash in one hand while I fork the middle out of the squash with the other hand. Scrape the stringy flesh out of the squash and into the pot with the meat and veggies.
In a small bowl whisk the eggs and chicken broth together. Poor into the pot over the squash, meat and veggies and fold it all together until well mixed.
Place on a middle rack in the oven (still at 400 degrees) until the top is slightly browned and any moisture is gone, about 50-60 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. Serve with salt and pepper to taste.