In a house with this many guys, surely I can be forgiven for thinking of dishes that are received with much acclaim as “Dude Food”. Over my seventeen years as a wife and sixteen years as a mom of boys, I’ve noticed a few commonalities in my dudes’ Dude Food.
- There’s going to be something brown.
- There’s going to be some meat.
- There’s going to be melted cheese. A lot of melted cheese.
- There will probably be garlic or onions or both. A lot of it.
- It can’t be ‘refined’. No complicated names. No nancy-fancy presentation.
- It will be eaten with the hands à la Captain Caveman or Renaissance Faire.
- It must be Living Room Edible. In other words, it must be good for eating while jumping and shouting in front of the television.
Luckily for my dudes, this kind of food not-so-secretly dings my chimes, too, so I make this sort of stuff pretty often. Dude-ette food just doesn’t have the same ring to it, though, so “Dude Food” it remains. I have robust, cheese-laden recipe files, my friends. This is a very good time of year to have a depth in the Dude Food Repertoire, given the multitude of championship bowls (both food filled and sports filled) and Olympic events (both social and sporting) on the docket. Parking yourself on the couch in front of speed skating competitions or the Super Bowl just doesn’t feel the same with a plate of seared salmon and wild rice pilaf balanced on your lap.
Today’s recipe -Totchos Supreme- is perfect example of what I mean. You start with plain old frozen tater tots (which I adore madly anyway) baked until crispy and deep brown. On the same pan you used to bake them, you cover them with a sinful quantity grated Cheddar cheese (you could throw in some Jack cheese if you felt so inclined), and a really naughty amount of browned Mexican chorizo then pop them back into the still hot oven. When the cheese has melted and browned in a couple of places, you toss a fistful or two of chopped green onions and fresh cilantro or parsley, and some diced yellow, red, and orange bell peppers. STOP. It’s true that if we didn’t mess with it any more at this point it would be more than just edible, it’d be great. One of the best parts of Dude Food -at least for me- is that I can put the pan on a couple of trivets on a folding table without fussing over plates and whatnot and everyone is perfectly happy!
Of course, if you really want to slide to the back corner of the couch and tuck your legs up under you, you’ll want a bowl. If you’re grabbing a bowl, you might as well dive into the deep end and dollop a bunch of cool sour cream on top. And if you’ve gone this far, why not go all the way and add some Smoked Paprika Chipotle Sauce * over the top?
*Why yes this IS two posts in a row where I’ve mentioned Smoked Paprika Chipotle Sauce. I will not REST until everyone has tried it. Shall I say it again? Smoked Paprika Chipotle Sauce; It’s what’s for dinner.
Are you a Dude Food (or Dude-ette, just so no one gets mad at me) Household? What’s your Living Room Edible menu look like?
- 1 bag (2 pounds) frozen tater tots or potato puffs
- 1 pound bulk Mexican style chorizo, broken up, and pan fried 'til browned *See Notes
- 1 pound Cheddar cheese, grated **See Notes
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 4 green onions, root ends trimmed, thinly sliced
- 6 multi-coloured, miniature bell peppers (or 1 small-ish standard sized red, yellow, or orange bell pepper.), stemmed, seeded, and diced
- Sour Cream
- Smoked Paprika Chipotle Sauce
- Bake the tater tots at the heat called for in the package instructions with ONE IMPORTANT CAVEAT. Bake them long enough that they're crispy whether or not it's the amount of time specified on the back of the package. When the tots are crispy, scatter half of the grated cheese, followed by all of the chorizo, then the remaining half of the cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and a little browned in places on the pan. Remove the pan from the oven and evenly distribute the green onions, cilantro or parsley, and diced bell peppers. Serve hot!
- If desired, divide the Totchos Supreme between bowls and top servings with a dollop of sour cream and a bit of Smoked Paprika Chipotle Sauce.
*We prefer extra sharp Cheddar cheese, but sharp or mild may be substituted. Using half Cheddar and half Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese is also tasty here!