Thursday, August 8, 2013

Easy {Tater Tot} Casserole

I really enjoying cooking especially if I can do it with someone. I also enjoy teaching and sharing really good things with my friends. (That's why I blog)  So today, I will share with you a recipe that my family has been enjoying for many years. Not only is this my son's favorite dish but it's always a hit at pot-lucks and family events. Weekly, When I ask my son what he wants for dinner, he always says "Tater tot Casserole". We don't eat it every week because it is high in calories. Since not having this dish in a few weeks, I decided to have it in this week's menu. I realized in my planning that Dylen, my son, had not learned to cook this dish. I thought, what better way to engage him in cooking by teaching him to cook his favorite meal. It's so easy even a teenager or preteen can do it(with some parental guidance).

Here's Dylen emptying the contents into the casserole pan while talking to his buddy!
 Wonder what in the world are those black hideous things hanging from my microwave? Well, they are fire extinguishers! Luckily, we have not needed them!

2 lb Ground Beef
2 lb Tater Tots
16 oz Sour Cream
2 lb block Sharp Cheddar Cheese (block is cheaper than pre-shredded)*
2 15 oz Cream of Onion (Regular Size)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spray 9x13 casserole pan with non-stick spray
  • Place tater tots into pan (As many as will fit without piling on too high) (I like my tatertots cooked and somewhat crispy so I cook them before I put the casserole together.)
  • Place in hot oven and allow to cook while you prepare the rest of the dish
  • Brown ground beef, season with salt and pepper and drain thoroughly (Sometimes we add Italian seasoning or garlic powder. I have even added fresh onions)
  • Mix together  sour cream and cream of onion (If I use onions in my ground beef, I will use cream of mushroom or cream of chicken)
  • Remove tater tots from oven
  • Add all the ground beef on top of the tatertots
  • Pour sour cream and cream of onion mixture on top of ground beef
  • Lastly, add shredded cheddar cheese
  • Spray foil with non-stick spray to prevent it from sticking to the cheese. Place on casserole and cook for approximately 20-25 minutes until it's heated through.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool, if you can, for 10 minutes.
  •  Serve with sweet peas and a green salad!

*Note: I always buy block cheese as it is much healthier for you. Have you ever noticed the fine powder that is on the pre-shredded cheese? Well, that is a synthetic powdered cellulose (made from wood pulp) that packaged- food producers use to coat the cheese, to preserve it, and to block out moisture to prevent clumping. Find out more here on The Wall Street Journal.  It is also in many other products like bread, ice cream and cereal bars. In my research, I have not found any negative side effects but since being educated, I'm not crazy about eating wood pulp. Just because the government allows it, doesn't mean I want to eat it. Plus, we are trying to eat a little healthier. The little things do count!

Need I say more...

You may have to run an extra mile or workout an extra 30 minutes after consuming this dish. I'm not sure how many calories are actually in it, I just know it's a lot.

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we do. And if you happen to try it, please let me know what you think. And of course, if you tried something different, I would love to hear! I'm always looking for variety.

~Happy Cooking~
dee dee

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"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." -John Calvin