Tator tot casserole was one of those dishes I remember having as a kid. I love potatoes, and tator tots in any form always seemed a treat to me (ok, they still are). I wanted to recreate that childhood memory and made a tator tot casserole, just like I remembered. I dug in, I was disappointed. It was so bland. Was it that bland when I was growing up and didn't remember? I looked at versions of tator tot casserole recipes and they all seemed pretty much what I made. Then I came across an Alton Brown recipe that used blue cheese and bacon. Ok, now we are talking! Once I had that idea, I was off to the races and had my own version cooked up in no time.
I should mention that I made this dish last night because I decided I wanted to start cooking again. But we hadn't been to the grocery store in weeks and I had no meal plan. So I started looking around at what I had, and discovered I could make this recipe without having to go out for anything. Everything I need to make this tator tot casserole is part of my staples list. Meaning, I always have these things on hand because I use them in everything, and I always wait until the items are on sale and then stock up.
Blue cheese and bacon tator tot casserole
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hr
1 10 oz package of bacon (or 8-10 slices)
1 lb ground beef
1/2 bag of frozen onion
3 tsp minced garlic2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
2 tsp italian herb blend
1/2 bag of frozen green beans
1/2 bag of frozen corn
1 bag of frozen tator tots
1 c crumbled blue cheese
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Spray nonstick spray in 9x13 baking dish, set aside
3. Cook bacon, drain it, and crumble it. (Make sure you make it very crispy!)
4. Brown the ground beef. While it is browning, throw in the frozen onion and garlic and cook all of it at the same time. Drain the ground beef mixture.
5. In a large bowl, combine the bacon, beef, italian seasoning, cream of mushroom soup, frozen corn, frozen green beans.
6. Add the mixture to your 9x13 baking dish
7. Spread your blue cheese and cheddar cheese evenly over the mixture
8. Add the frozen tator tots over the top
9. Cook in 375 oven for 1 hour
10. (Optional) IF you have any cheese leftover in your package, 15 minutes before finish, add a layer of cheese over the top of the tots (you can never have too much cheesy goodness!)
Estimated cost: full price- around $15. If you buy everything when it is on sale- around $8.
This makes a lot of food. We have two adults and one child eating and this is several meals for us. Often when I make a dish that uses a 9x13 dish, I divide it. I use one glass 8x8 pan that we'll cook and eat. I'll also use a disposable 8x8 pan that I'll assemble then freeze for later.
Reagan was patiently waiting to dig into the tator tot casserole last night. This was a huge hit with her.