Tater Tot Casserole!
When my dad was in medical school and residency, my mom was very creative in coming up with hearty, wholesome, inexpensive meals for the three of us kids and our family. One of her go to dishes was Tater Tot Casserole. Once we moved back to Idaho (where my father was born and raised), my dad set up his medical practice and Tater Tot casserole wasn’t on the menu as often; but when it was, it was awesome.
Idaho is the land of meat and potatoes and famous for it’s tater tots. I laughed hysterically when I saw the movie Napolean Dynamite and could totally relate as the kids in the film dined on ‘tots’, which are in just about every menu in Idaho. I mean who doesn’t love tater tots? And how can they not remind us all of school lunches and childhood?
I absolutely loved Tater Tot casserole as a young girl and recently I’ve been craving the comforting dish. The weather is getting brisk in NYC and Fall is always a nostalgic time for me. I get super homesick and start to really miss my family in Idaho.
So this weekend I made it a goal to bake a Tater Tot casserole for my husband and I. I also experimented with making the recipe just a tad bit healthier. Where my mom used cream of mushroom soup, I substituted Fage Greek yogurt and skim milk. I also bought grass fed ground beef and organic tater tots from Whole Foods Market.
Here’s the recipe if you want to try this dish at home. It’s super simple, super delicious and my husband (who pretends to love my healthy cooking even when it’s not his favorite) truly loved this dish–he went back for seconds! This recipe makes about 4-5 servings and is great for leftovers.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 clove garlic
1 container Greek Yogurt (I used Fage full percent but you can use 0 or 2% if you choose)
1/4 cup skim milk (or use 1 or 2% if you prefer)
1 bag frozen tater tots (the ones from Whole Foods are really good and not processed)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Brown the beef until almost done then drain before adding the onions, garlic and mushrooms.
Sautee until the veggies are tender and the beef is fully cooked. Add garlic powder, pepper, and salt to taste.
I also added turmeric powder since it is a great antioxidant and didn’t change the flavor at all.
Stir the milk and yogurt together until smooth and add to the ground beef.
I used a cast iron skillet for the entire dish, but if you want you can add the beef and yogurt mixture
to a casserole dish.
Layer with frozen tater tots then bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the tater tots are nice
and crispy and browned.
Serve with steamed green beans or a veggie of your choice or a large green salad.