Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What's for dinner, tator tot casserole

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 garlic
2 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!)

Serving info
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.

The results
Reagan was patiently waiting to dig into the tator tot casserole last night. This was a huge hit with her.


mommyto3kiddos said...

Yum, that does sound good and looks simple to make! I think I might have to give it a try...

LauraC said...

I have to say that I love that bacon is on your staples list! Doesn't everything taste better with bacon?!

MrsMoma said...

Yum yum!! I bet even Cami would eat that.

Julie said...

I have never heard of tater tot casserole (regional differences, perhaps?) but it looks SO yummy. I would make it if Lana would eat potatoes. She only eats rice and noodles. How could a daughter of mine not eat potatoes--they are my weakness!!! Fries, anyone?

Joanna said...

I've never had Tater Tot Casserole before, but that looks really yummy. I love bacon and tater tots.

Karla said...

This is going on my menu for next week!!! mmmmm

Beth said...

Ooohh--yummy! I just made tater tots last night for the first time in years and years. They were a hit with William and with Ed! And I totally agree with Laura--everything does taste better with bacon. I'll be making this in the not-too-distant future. Great idea!

sara said...

Oooh yummy! I'll have to give this recipe a try!!! My DH and DD LOVE bacon so it's bound to be a natural hit!

Jess said...

you had me at bacon! lol i'm definitely going to try this recipe. i've never heard of a tatertot casserole either, but how can you go wrong with garlic, bacon and potatoes?!?!?! delish!

Jess said...

you had me at bacon! lol i'm definitely going to try this recipe. i've never heard of a tatertot casserole either, but how can you go wrong with garlic, bacon and potatoes?!?!?! delish!

Sandi said...

Wow! I think I could totally eat this! As long as bacon is present, I'm game :-).

Erin said...

Wow i've never heard of anyone else but my family eating tator tot casserole!!! The way i make mine is i mix a pound of ground beef, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a bag of frozen mixed veggies all together, spread it out in a pan, cover the mixture with tator tots and top with cheese. It is really good!!

Erin said...

I guess i should say that i brown the meat first...otherwise it sounds really gross...

-Bridget said...

First, bacon rocks my world. Yeah, it's a staple. High five to all that agree.

Second, I am astounded at the number of people that have never heard of tater tot casserole. I don't know if it me being mormon (countless potlucks with oddball casseroles and various jello dishes pepper my past) or living in the midwest or living in the southeast that brought tater tot casserole upon me. It is much appreciated any way it came. Now I'm sharing the love.

Mama Mia said...

THat looks SO GOOD...

Debbie said...

Oh yum!!!!!!!!!!!

daisy said...

I detest tater tot casserole, exactly for the reason you mentioned. It is way too bland. But this? This I would try. I'm going to add it to my next two week menu. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer said...


Yum!! Can't wait to try it!

Swirl Girl said...

what could be bad with bacon!
this one I have to try!

Jen said...

I make something similar but yours is the Cadillac version. I am going to have to try it. Thanks.