Simply Homemade: Tator Tot Casserole

My husband and I talked about this blog about a year ago and we jokingly said that it’s really a lifesaving cookbook disguised to the outside world as a blog. Let me explain…its a well known fact that my husband does not cook. I don’t mean this in a negative way whatsoever, there are so many things he excels at but cooking is (to put it mildly) just not his forte. When I’m not home to cook dinner he reverts back to his bachelor days and ends up eating a meal that’s about as nutritious as the packaging it comes in. Despite my best efforts, he is just not overly interested in learning to cook. I have said, on many occasions, that I seriously worry him and my daughter would starve if something were to ever happen to me. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m definitely not a doom and gloom type of person at all. But I am notoriously uncoordinated and accident prone so it’s really not out of the realm of possibility that I would somehow end up with a broken arm or two or something else that would prohibit me from cooking for an extended period of time. Did you hear that? Just me…knocking on wood…really hard!

Thankfully my daughter seems to be at least off-and-on interested in cooking and has picked up already on the regular spices I tend to use and what certain ingredients taste like. Hoping that she ends up at least attempting to make many of our family’s favorite dishes eventually. To be fair, I don’t make it easy on them to learn because I have, without a doubt, turned into my mother (and grandmothers) over the years. Meaning, I don’t ever measure anything or follow recipes. My husband is quick to use this as an excuse as to why he won’t try making any of my recipes because they won’t taste the same as when I do it. That’s been, by far, one of my biggest struggles with this blog so far. Actually paying attention to what (and how much) I’m adding and what the steps are has been incredibly challenging. I’m hopeful that between the two of them and this blog with step by step directions they may be able to prepare at least a few things I regularly make if the need were ever to arise.

If that makes sense but you’re reading this wondering why on earth I’d be talking about needing to know how to make this particular olden days recipe, I must confess this was a staple in our house growing up and is now an all-time favorite dish of my daughter. Whenever I beg for ideas on additions to the week’s meal plans, I can guarantee she will request tator tot casserole. Yes, my daughter who is borderline a vegetarian with her love of vegetables and fruit and her instant distrust of any dish with meat in it. She. Loves. This. Dish! And, in her mind, the only acceptable side to this dish is a big helping of steamed peas. Have I mentioned how unique my daughter is?? And, yes, I also know this recipe is again based on the dreaded “cream of _____ soup” base and that’s frowned upon in today’s health conscious society. I get that, I know I could substitute it and make a homemade version. But…my inner child (and my real life child) both prefer it the original way. My very wise cousin once said that this ingredient is basically a hug for your insides and she’s 100% accurate. It tastes like childhood and home and family and everything good in life.

To my loving husband and sweet child, this post is for you. To everyone else reading this, please give this homestyle casserole dish a try and it may just become as big of a hit in your house as it is in mine!

Tator Tot Casserole

  • Servings: Approximately 5
  • Print

Kicking it old school with this classic casserole!

Ingredients

-1 pound ground hamburger

-1/4 teaspoon pepper

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

-1/4 teaspoon onion powder

-1/4 teaspoon steak seasoning

-1/3 cup milk

-1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of celery soup

-1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese

-3-4 cups frozen tator tots

-sprinkle of seasoning salt

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray casserole pan with cooking spray then set aside.

2) Meanwhile, brown hamburger in large skillet over medium high heat and drain excess grease.

3) Add can of soup, milk, and all seasonings except the seasoning salt to the skillet and cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, to combine and heat through.

4) Pour contents of skillet into sprayed pan and top with shredded cheese, spread evenly over the top of the mixture.

5) Top mixture with tator tots spread over the meat mixture evenly then sprinkle lightly with small amount of seasoning salt over the top of the tator tots.

6) Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake, covered, for 30 minutes then uncover and bake additional 10 minutes until tator tots slightly browned and crisp.

A thin layer of cheese is sure to make this dish even more appealing to kids and adults alike!

Holy moly, I don’t know about you but this ratio and haphazard placement is just all wrong to me!

OCD, meet casserole. Casserole, meet my OCD!!! Judge me all you want, you know this is pretty AND will get you a bite of tator tot with every bite of hamburger 😉

Mmmmmm! Can you virtually smell this?!?

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