When it’s cold outside and I’m in a hurry to fix dinner, there is one casserole that is super easy to make I can always count on to turn out perfectly. It’s comfort food that warms the soul. I didn’t even start making this dish until I was gluten-free and I’m not sure why. There are many different versions of Tutor Tot casserole and my version was created out of several others I found on Food.com.
You can make this dish to your liking, using ingredients that suit your own preferences. Adding vegetables to this dish makes a healthier version than mine. To make up for the fact that I don’t add veggies, I always have a huge green salad with this meal. Pease note this casserole is not low in fat and calories.
Tator Tot Casserole
1 lb. ground turkey (or ground beef)1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
½ to ¾ bag of Tator tots (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Ore-Ida brands all work fine)
1 carton of Pacific Natural Foods Cream of Celery soup (or Cream of Mushroom)
1/3 C. milk (I use skim)
1 C. shredded chedder cheese
Bake off enough Tator Tots (per instructions on bag) to cover the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish.
While potatoes are cooking, brown the ground turkey; sprinkle onion and garlic powder on meat as it’s cooking (if using beef, drain after cooking)
Remove meat from heat and let sit for about ten minutes; mix milk and soup together and pour mixture over meat
Spread meat mixture over layer of Tator Tots
Sprinkle shredded cheese over meat mixture
Bake for 45 minutes in 350 degree oven (cover with foil if needed towards the end of the baking time so the cheese doesn’t burn).
If you are familiar with this type of casserole, you probably know that most recipes for it don’t call for baking the Tator Tots before putting the dish together. I tried three other recipes that called for adding either frozen or thawed Tator Tots and none of them resulted in anything we wanted to eat again. The potatoes were never done enough for us. That is why I bake them off when I’m browning the meat. I don’t get an extra pan dirty to do it that way and we get crispy Tator Tots like we prefer.
This recipe makes six to eight portions, depending on the size portions you serve. Since there are only two of us, we freeze a good bit of it and pull it out as needed. Many Tator Tot recipes call for green beans or corn. While I love green beans, since I make them several nights a week, I take a break from them when I make this comfort food casserole. Adding corn to the dish doesn’t make sense to me since there are already potatoes in it. The beauty of this recipe is that’s you can add anything you want and it really can’t be messed up. Enjoy!