Monday, January 26, 2015

Tater Tot Casserole

Sometimes you want to remember the past in the most delicious way possible, but also in an easy to make and clean up way. Enter Tater Tot hotdish. My favorite lunch days at school included one of a few things: tortilla chips, rice, or tots (I liked--like--carbs). So, when I wanted a nice throwback recipe for the weekend, a snowy one in late January, Tater Tots swimming in meat and veggies it was.

This recipe is a little different than the creamy casserole most of us (especially in the midwest) remember from our elementary school days. I substituted some homemade gravy for the usual Cream of Whatever soup to let the ingredients shine. The texture didn't change at all, and the taste wasn't that much different either, just less mushy cream and more meat/veggie/tots.

Tater Tot Hotdish (adapted from this recipe)

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 c beef broth (chicken or veggie work as well)
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 c cold water
2 bags frozen veggies (enough to cover 9 x 13 pan, veggies your choice--I used green beans and corn, but wish I used carrots)
1 bag Tater Tots 
salt and pepper to taste

Brown and season ground beef and onion, layer on the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass pan.
Cover with veggies.
Boil broth and in a separate bowl, combine water and cornstarch. Stir mixture into boiling broth and continue boiling until thickened.
Pour gravy into the dish, making sure it spreads evenly.
Layer Tater Tots over meat and veggies, covering the entire dish.

You can prepare this ahead of time, then keep in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to make it. Just preheat the oven to 350 and bake, uncovered, 40-45 minutes. Enjoy!

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