Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tater Tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole out of oven.
    I tried a tater tot casserole right out of a national magazine (almost) and that bright idea become a failure. Not to accept defeat, I waited and researched. 
    Now I must admit that it was difficult to stick to the recipe. Tator tot casserole, or Cowboy Casserole as some call it, has almost as many variations as meatloaf. Some are cream soup based while others offer a tomato sauce filing - almost like a Sloppy Joe.
    I really wanted to add some corn, black beans and chili powder but I refrained. This dish was going to be cheesy and user friendly. See what you think, but feel free to use the options to add a little extra to an easy weeknight dish.

Tater Tot Casserole
1 1/2 lb. ground beef, browned
1-2 tsp. minced onion (or 1/4 cup real onion added while beef is cooking)
1 tsp. minced garlic (or 1 clove added while beef is cooking)
sprinkle of salt and pepper
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Simple ingredients.
1/8 cup milk or half and half
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese, divided
32 oz. bag of tater tots

Options - 1 can corn, drained, 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained, 1/2 bell pepper, diced, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/8 cup bacon bits, 1 T. parsley or cilantro or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained.

Spray coat or grease a 13x9x2 casserole dish. Preheat oven to 400.

Spread tots in single layer on bottom and up sides of casserole.

In medium bowl, combine all other ingredients and 1 cup of cheese (saving 1 cup for topping).

Spread meat/soup mixture evenly over top of casserole.

The bottom layer of tots and mixed filling
Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese. Return to oven and bake at least 15 - 20 minutes more until bubbly.

Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes to let cheese settle. Cut into rectangles and serve with side salad or baked beans.

Serves 8.

Casserole ready for oven.


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