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What Dish Do You Make That You're Embarrassed To Like?

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I made a main dish for dinner the other night that I've served for years. It's very far from the Zuni Cookbook or Paula Wolfert's Slow Food.... it teeters on the edge of sleezy.

I take a couple of those big supermarket frozen tamales (if you need some class you can use those chic veggie tamales with fillings like green chili and jack cheese or black beans. I defrost or steam them or, if they're fresh, just unwrap them.

Lay them in a smallish baking dish - I use an 8 x 12 (I think) glass baking dish.

Open a can or 2 of Dennison's chili without beans and dump over tamales.

Cut up 4 Hebrew National reduced fat (Hah! That's a good one) hot dogs into slices and sprinkle around on top of chili. Top with either pepper jack or cheddar cheese broken into to pieces or grated.

Bake until bubbly.

My husband and I love this dish....eat it about every two months or so. Serve with chopped scallions.

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  1. I have most of the ingredients....I'll be after the tamales tomorrow. Any particular brand?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Spudlover

      I don't know the brand name but they're usually either in the freezer section or deli - big, big tamales tied with string at each end...They must be about 6 inches around.

      The other kind I use are the hippie/yuppie brand they sell at Berkeley Bowl and Piedmont Grocery - all veggie with fillings like chile verde and jack cheese, squash and cheese, black beans, etc.

      I always use Dennison's chili cause it comes w/out beans...but the dish would probably be just as good with beans in it.

    2. I don't get it! Why be embarrassed about that creation? At least you had the good sense to use the best hot dogs with the least fillers. A hot dog whose processor has to account to a higher authority.

      Explain this to me. Hebrew National packages their hot dogs 7 to a pkg. Yet the package weighs 12 ounces. How do they get each hot dog to weigh 1.714285 ounces? I find that very strange.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ChiliDude

        When my sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes she started weighing all her food. Turns out the weights on packages, especially those with several irregularly shaped items (the example she showed me was English muffins) aren't very accurate. Presumably the regulators don't care as long as the customer is getting more than it says on the package, not less. Who is going to complain about getting more than they paid for?

        Hebrew National probably has their equipment calibrated to make hot dogs that are uniformly pretty close to 12/7 of an ounce, but I wouldn't be surprised if some or all of them were a little more.

        1. re: ChiliDude

          Rotfl! I keep seeing an image of a fellow hired especially by H.Nat to weigh each hot dog.

          I've tried Niman hotdogs but they have a strange (to me) smoked taste that doesn't go with the rest of the dish.

          I do mostly use those fancy tamales nowadays, but those huge mothers of my youth were the best. I think now they even come with turkey!

        2. My nana's goulash. Brown one pound of 75% lean ground beef until browned, with one large chopped onion in a skillet, with just a little salt and pepper. In the meantime, boil a bag of egg noodles, drain, and set aside. When the ground beef is browned, do not drain the grease, but dump the whole thing into the noodle pot. Add one 29 oz. can of crushed tomatoes. Heat through with the beef until bubbling gently,(and if you're fancy, some DRIED parsley) and add noodles, stirring to combine. THEN, the piece de resistance-- cut up a block of velveeta (not the smallest one, and not the largest one, but the medium one), and stir in the entire block over low to medium heat. You know it's ready when it turns nuclear orange. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

          Best for family gatherings, intentionally kitsch potlucks, and pity parties when I need comfort food.

          Serve with diet coke, or regular coke if you insist. Do not serve with green vegetables or salad, for gosh's sake.

          Reheat leftovers (and there are lots if there's only two of you, like in my house) in microwave-- the noodles suck up all the juices on refrigeration, so it just sticks when you try to reheat it in a pot.

          2 Replies
          1. re: emdb

            Oh memories of my mother's eastern european - american variation on this! Instead of boiling the noodles, you scrape the cooked burger and onions to one side of the pan, then spread "vermicelli" noodles (they come in a plastic bag, not in a box like spagetti) in the fat, brown them on one side, flip and brown on the other side. Sprinkle in some paprika during this process. Add the tomatoes and cook till the noodles are done. Instead of velveeta, you stir in sour cream. There must have been garlic, how can there not be? With this variation, you saved dirtying the boiling pot and you've put the fat to 'good' use by browning the noodles and giving them a lovely texture.

            I wonder if my husband would leave me if I made this?

            1. re: emdb

              My Mom made a version of this when I was growing up, and I still make it every few months. It's very simple to make, and as comfort food goes, it can't be beat.
              Her method involves browning the ground beef, draining it, and mixing it with cooked macaroni and a can of chopped tomatoes in a casserole dish. Top it with loads of cheddar cheese and bake until the cheese is bubbly and crisp at the edges. YUM!

            2. I gotta go with tuna fish casserole. Kraft Mac & Cheese, Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, 2 cans of tuna, can of peas, and a small minced onion.

              It is one of my all-time favorite dishes. I swear, I could eat the entire casserole in one sitting.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Christina D

                Yep, that's a fond memory from my childhood! My mom also made a cold tuna and pasta salad which I loved...you put the cooked small shells in French dressing, there's tuna and probably celery mixed in, plus some sour cream. Can't remember what else.

                1. re: Christina D

                  You're right. For my money, the best thing I make that is most embarrassing to admit is tuna, mac & cheese, using the old Kraft blue box, canned tuna, canned cream of mushroom soup and canned peas, topped with buttered breadcrumbs or crumbled potato chips. But you've outdone me by adding in the minced onion.

                  You say, "I could eat the entire casserole in one sitting." I have. Sometimes I don't let it get as far as the oven, for the final baking, but end up eating it straight from the saucepan, sans the topping.

                  Does anyone have the name of a good therapist?

                2. WE love "Cheesy Potatoes". One package frozen Ore Ida home fries, one container sour cream, one can creamm of chicken soup, one stick melted butter, 16 oz shredded cheddar cheese. Throw it all in a casserole dish,top with crushed corn flakes and bake for about an hour. It is really good. Sometimes we add broccoli and ham and it is a complete meal.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: macca

                    Hey, don't be ashamed! Frozen store brand hash browns, broken up, often beat the bloody knuckled version for me in recipes.

                    Your favorite sounds in essence like "The Potato Casserole" I couldn't wait to have for supper again as a child. Shredded potatoes, sour cream, cheddar, a touch of flour, loads of green onions, a little bit of cream, and some s/p/cayenne/white pepper baked in a casserole. Man, that's good eatin', but I only make it once a year or so.

                    You've brought that recipe back into my head, and ideas about broccoli sauteed in bacon grease added to an already sinful mix. Thank you for reminding me of one of my childhood favorites!

                    1. re: Catherine

                      WE had a crowd over yesterday, and made two - one plain version, and one with the ham and broccoli. They went fast. It really is an easy dish to serve when you don't want a lot of fuss.