My family doesn’t know a single thing about football, nor do we really care about the Super Bowl, yet somehow year after year, we manage to come together on Super Bowl Sunday and pretend to watch the game. We’re all really just there for the food. I’ll make a few snacks to get us through the earlier part of the day, and you’d think that would be enough for all of us, but no of course not. I still end up making dinner because all of those finger foods just make us hungrier. I’ve teamed up with my friends over at GO BOLD WITH BUTTER to bring you this ultimate comfort food casserole. Chili Cheese Dog Hotdish is like a very hearty chili made of ground beef and sliced hot dogs…yes you read that right, hot dogs. Then it’s topped with tater tots, lots of cheese, onions and scallions, much like you would a chili dog. It’s winter comfort meets game day feast in a bowl and you do not want to miss out.
Let’s start by melting two tablespoons of butter in a large (very wide) skillet. Once melted, add in the ground beef and cook on high, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink and just starting to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add in the sliced hot dogs and cook until browned.
**Note: I used a package of hot dogs and thinly sliced them into rounds, but if you want to chop them up a bit more, that’s okay too. The addition of hot dogs to this basic chili recipe is what give this hotdish that chili dog taste!**
Add the onion and garlic and cook, again stirring often, until softened, about 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Then add in the tomato paste, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, ground cayenne, salt and pepper.
**Tip: Adding the spices and tomato paste to the hot skillet at this point and cooking them for a bit with the beef, allows the paste and spices to develop their flavors!**
Then add in the beef stock, diced tomatoes (with their juices), pinto beans, tomato sauce, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and give it a stir every now and then.
**Note: I love using pinto beans for a chili, rather than red kidney beans because I find those are too large for chili, but any kind of canned beans you have on hand would be great. Just make sure to drain and rinse them under running water to remove the excess salt.**
Once the chili comes to a simmer, lower the temperature and cook, stirring often, until the sauce has reduced slightly and thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.
**Tip: Don’t completely walk away from the chili and forget about it because it’ll stick to the bottom and burn and it’ll bubble over. The more you stir every now and then, the thicker it’ll become.**
Once thickened, remove the skillet from the stove and then top the chili with frozen tater tots. There’s no need to thaw them out, just line them up as best you can in a single layer until the chili is completely covered.
**Tip: If you don’t have an oven-safe shallow skillet (I used this one from Amazon because it isn’t at all that expense, compared to other enamel cookware!) you can transfer the chili to a casserole dish and then top with the taters!**
Once all the tater tots have been lined on top, drizzle them with 4 tablespoons of melted butter. This ensures that the taters get nice and golden brown and crispy in the oven!
Bake the hotdish in a preheated 375 degree F oven until bubbly and golden brown on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and then top with finely shredded Cheddar cheese and diced white onion and scallions…as you would a chili dog!
The great thing about casserole recipes like this one is that A) they can feed a crowd B) they’re great for game day and C) they can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge or even frozen for up to 3 weeks!
If you plan on making this hotdish ahead of time, you can make the chili as directed and then let it cool to room temperature. Top with the tater tots and cover and keep in the fridge until ready to bake. Then just bake as directed, adding about 5 to 8 minutes to the cooking time because of the chill from the fridge. (If frozen, add 20 minutes).
If you’re not in the market for a tater tot hotdish recipe, or you’ve just made it and now you want to try something else, you can skip the tater tots (and the sliced hot dogs) and just make the chili by itself. This is a great basic go-to chili recipe that you can use for 100’s of different recipes. Top actual hot dogs with it, fill baked potatoes, or spoon on top of spaghetti. The chili world is your oyster.
**Thank you for your continued support of the occasional sponsored post on this site. They help keep the blog going, allowing me to continue to share my recipes with you on a weekly basis. I never want my sponsorships to feel forced, which is why I only partner with companies I feel very passionate about and actually use on a regular basis.**