Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tater Tot Casserole

I thought everyone knew what Tater Tot Casserole was til a friend out east mentioned that it was a midwestern dish and that lots of her non-midwestern friends had never heard of it.

This is one of those comfort meals that I remember eating as a kid. I'm sure there are many, many different versions of it. This is mine. I don't have it written down, I just make it, but I'll try to write it down for others to follow. The pizza tot casserole version is based on one I found in a cookbook.

2 lbs ground beef
1/2 of a chopped onion
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained (may substitute 2 cans green beans, drained)
any or all of the following spices to taste: seasoned salt, salt, pepper, garlic powder
32 oz pkg frozen tater tots

Brown beef and onion in skillet, draining as needed. Mix in soup, corn, and spices; heat through. Put meat mixture in greased 9x13" pan. Arrange tater tots in single layer on top of meat mixture. Bake according to tater tot package directions.

Pizza Tot version changes:
Saute half or all of a chopped green pepper with beef and onions.
Substitute 2 cans tomato soup for cream of mushroom soup.
No corn or green beans.
Add 1 or 2 cans (4 oz each) of mushrooms (drained) to beef mixture with soup.
Use Italian seasoning and/or oregano instead of or in addition to the garlic powder.
After putting the meat mixture in the pan, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese and/or black olives on top before adding the tater tots.