Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Comforting Tator Tot Casserole

So yesterday was, one of those days.

The kind of day I'm really glad is over.  Please tell me y'all have experienced this kind before!  It was a day where supper was the last thing on my mind, because all I wanted to do was curl up in my bed with a bag of chocolate chips and call it a day.  At like 2:00pm!

Having a family, that just wouldn't cut it... or be very nice, for that matter. :-|  SO... I was racking my brain to think of a comforting, easy meal using ground beef since that was thawing.  It dawned on me what I saw Mrs. Duggar make a while back to feed and satisfy her kids.  

Tator tot casserole!  

I mean, if she was feeding it to her family of 20 and calling it easy to make, then surely I could make it easy enough for 4!  

I confess to you.  I'm guilty of judging this casserole in the past.  I once only thought of it as fattening and unhealthy, and probably made by a person who doesn't cook well. Sorry!! :(   I was wrong...  This casserole  is hands down delicious!!

It kind of reminds me of America's version of shepherd's pie.  The base is browned ground beef and onions mixed with a cream soup, topped with tots and cheese then baked till golden and bubbly!  Yum!!  I added green peas and diced red bell pepper to the meat for a little nutrition and color.  We loved it!  Especially if you have kids, don't deprive them from this "cheeseburger and fries" tasting cassarole!  My own little Tots asked for seconds, so I know it's a winning recipe.  

Folks, I think you arrive to parenthood on the day all calories and preservatives fly out the window just so you can make a yummy, simple meal...due to shear exhaustion. Lol!  I never doubted tator tot casserole would taste good with these ingredients, and it honestly is!  I'll sure make it again when I need an easy, go-to dinner.  I'm not above this meal...no ma'am!

Here's to having terrific tasting and hearty recipes for those days! ;)

Tator Tot Casserole
Serves 4-6

1 lb. Ground beef
1/2 c. Onion, diced
1/2 c. Green peas
1/2 c. Red bell pepper, finely diced
1 can cream of mushroom or chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 bag of Tator tots, frozen
1 c. Colby jack or cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a skillet, brown ground beef with the onions and bell pepper, over medium high heat, until the veggies are soft.
Strain off the fat in a colander,and put the beef mixture back into the skillet.  Add the peas.

Add the soup (undiluted), salt, pepper and stir everything together.
Pour into an 8x8 in. dish.

Spread out the tator tots on the top.  (I sprinkled some garlic salt and a little cayenne pepper over the tots, too.)
Put in the oven to bake for 30 minutes until tots are crispy.
Pull out and sprinkle the cheese and some paprika over it all.
Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes till bubbly.

The cheese is melted and the tots are crispy.  Oh, yum!

We enjoyed it with green beans. Eat up!


Maria said...

Hi Leslie! I saw this on 19 Kids and Counting too and sort of judged it too, but it looks soo yummy and comforting!! I've been tempted to try it and now I'll really have to make it sometime!! Sorry you had a bad day, we all have bad days, and you're amazing for still being to make a delicious dinner for your family!! :)

Coffee Mom said...

I grew up with Tater Tot Casserole, Chicken Divan, and other one dish meals. My mom was a stay at home mom in the 80's and she said these kind of meals would fill us up and were easy on the budget. I enjoy making a yummy casserole now and then too!! My mom and grandma used to make one occasionally with canned biscuits and hamburger and cheese that I LOVED as a kid and teenager. Every blue moon we will have it - brings back memories - will have to send that recipe your way! :)

Leslie said...

Jennifer, I would love to have that recipe, thanks! The main casserole my Mom would make is a Mexican casserole with chicken, Doritos and cheese, yum! I need to bundle up on these kinds of recipes now. :) We ate the leftovers of the tator tot one tonight, and that's another great thing about one dish meals, it seems like leftovers are almost better!

elizabeth said...

My daughter makes a casserole like this and it's one of their favorites. Some of my favorite memories are of my own mama's money saving casseroles. Dilly Dally Beef Casserole was a hamburger and vegetable dish with dill in it. Top of the Stove casserole was like a homemade version of hamburger helper only much, much better. Thanks for stirring up these good memories!

Leslie said...

I'm so glad this got you thinking about cherished memories of childhood! Hopefully one day that's what this casserole will also do for mine. The top of the stove one you mentioned sounds delicious!

kitty said...

I know you're enjoying cooking for your sweet family, Leslie. The casserole sounds delicious and I know your darling tots loved it. Blessings to you.

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

I think this does look like a delicious and comforting dish to serve a hungry family! I know my gang would enjoy it!

The Long Awaited Home said...

I hope things are going better Leslie. Just said a prayer for you. I made Tater Tot Casserole for a friend who had just adopted 4 children from the Ukraine. They loved it - and ate the WHOLE thing!

Shiloh Barkley said...

This is going to be so good for fall!! Yum.

Jocelyn said...

This casserole looks amazing!! I am definitely adding this to my list of "must make" foods!