Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tater Tot Casserole

I have a TON of cookbooks. I have ones that are for specific meals, like desserts, pasta, and chicken. I have others that are geared towards cooking methods, like cooking in foil pouches or using slow cookers. I have a few dedicated to TV shows and cooking contest winners. And I have a bunch that cover everything from soup to nuts. But my absolute favorite cookbooks are the ones that only have recipes using 4 or 5 ingredients. This recipe came from one of those, maybe 7 years ago, and it used to be one of the most requested dishes in our house. I haven't made it in a while, but Andrew has been begging for it lately, so I finally gave in. It's quick, it's easy, it's a real family-pleaser, and I'll bet you already have all of the ingredients on hand.

Tater Tot Casserole
Makes 6 servings

What I use:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • about 70 tater tots

How I do it:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large pan, brown the ground beef until cooked through. Drain if necessary.

3. Add the green beans and soup. Stir to combine.

4. Transfer the beef mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly.

5. Sprinkle the cheese over the beef.

6. Add the tater tots to the dish. If you don't have raging OCD like me, just toss them on top of the cheese. But I can't handle chaos like that, so I spend the extra 5 minutes to lay them in neat little rows. I used to be normal, I swear.

7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tots are golden brown and cooked through, and the cheese is bubbling up the sides just a little. (If you were smart, you would have tossed one extra tot on top for testing right now. I always forget.)

8. Let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it. It will still ooze everywhere, but not quite as much as if you dig in right away.

The family says:
  • Between the soup and the cheese, this was a dairy bomb waiting to happen, so K had a burger instead.
  • This is (was) Andrew's favorite thing in the whole world, but he said it wasn't quite as good as he remembered. (Our taste buds have changed a lot since switching to a more real diet.)
  • I have never really liked this meal, but it actually tasted much better than I remembered - go figure.

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