Tater Tot Casserole

We made Tater Tot Casserole on Sunday.  It turned out better than expected and was fairly easy.  Now don’t tell my children that I implemented a skill I learned from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.  I put carrot puree in with the cooked ground beef.

Ok, I am a huge fan of bacon.  You will find that I put bacon or bacon grease into the most unlikely places and this casserole is one of them.

I started with a hot non stick skillet and 2 heaping spoonfuls of refrigerated bacon grease and 1/2 a roughly chopped white onion.  I cooked those up until the onions were golden and oh so yummy.  Yes I tasted a few.  Then I added the ground beef, about 3/4 pound and I seasoned that with a steak seasoning I buy in bulk and put into my own shaker.  Once the beef was all browned up and delicious I added garlic and cooked another couple minutes until super fragrant.  I drained the browned ground beef very well.  Then I added about 1/2 cup of carrot puree and mixed it up.

The original recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup and I can’t use it because my son is Gluten Free so we substituted with a cup of sour cream.  I think it actually turned out better that way and was much more palatable for my Husband Extraordinaire. With the sour cream mixed into the beef mixture I spread it on the bottom of an 8″ square Pyrex casserole dish.  I sprinkled 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar over that and covered it with tater tots.  On that I put some grated Mozzarella and put it in the oven on a delay start so dinner was ready exactly when I wanted it.  I baked it at 350 for 30 minutes.  The prep work didn’t take all that long if you take out the time to steam and puree the carrots.  But I ended up with plenty of carrot puree for the next few weeks so it was a time saver in the end.

Another idea is to add some frozen or canned peas to the beef mixture and I might try that next time so the kids can see a vegetable in it.  But I did feed them veggie crudités for an hour before dinner was served just like Jessica Seinfeld suggests in her book.  I have to say, if you have a picky eater that is the book to invest in.  I find myself having to get extra creative with her recipes because we are now Gluten Free but the book is an invaluable resource.  Thanks to my Husband Extraordinaire for gifting it to me back in 2008.

Shopping List:

3/4 pound ground beef

1/2 white onion

1TBS minced garlic

1/2 tsp steak seasoning

2 heaping TBS bacon grease

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup carrot puree

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1 medium bag tater tots

serves 6-8