"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Healthy" Tater Tot Casserole

I wanted to make my husband a tater tot casserole, but did not want to use a can of "cream" soup.  I prefer to control the ingredients that goes into my food.  My husband loved it, he would not even let me take a picture before serving himself.  You make a milk gravy with cheese added for the sauce.  If you want the taste of Lipton onion soup mix, but without the artificial ingredients, use dried onion flakes.
Click here to view larger image
Normally I would probably dice up some onions and garlic using fresh ingredients, but I was very sick when I made it.  I had what we refer to at church as "the sickness".  It is awful!  Headache, a cough so bad you think you are going to throw up and it makes your chest hurt, congestion, sore throat, overall yuckiness.  I made this after I was starting to feel better, but still weak.  My husband cooked for me all weekend and even washed the dishes while I was sick.  I have the best husband ever!  For a shortcut I used a handful of dried onion flakes and garlic salt.  I didn't measure it.

dried onion flakes
garlic salt
seasoned salt
1 pound ground chuck or hamburger meat (I used chuck)
2 tbl flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (please don't buy pre-shredded, it contains cellulose which is what is used in dry wall)  plus one cup set aside.
1/2 bag tater tots

The good thing about cooking is that the ingredients can be substituted for other ingredients and none of the measurements have to be exact.  You change anything according to your own taste.  You can buy organic tater tots, sweet potato tater tots, hashbrowns, even mashed potatoes (A great way to use up leftovers!)  You can even throw in some corn or peas if you want to.

Fry up your meat in a skillet.  Saute your onions and garlic with the meat.  I also added season salt to the meat.   If you use chuck you might not have enough grease, if so add some olive oil to make about 2 tbl grease.  If you use hamburger you will have to drain some of the grease, but leave about 2 tbl grease.  The grease is necessary for the gravy.  Have your milk ready before adding the flour.  Add the flour in the grease and whisk until incorporated into the grease.  Slowly add the milk while whisking.  Be sure to get all of the flour incorporated.  Continually whisk to keep from getting lumps, lumps are bad.  Continuous whisking is good!  Add the cheese and keep whisking until thick and bubbly.
Pour into a greased 9x13 (I used olive oil).  Top with tater tots and lightly salt.  You have already added seasoned salt and garlic salt, so wait until after it is cooked to see if any more salt is needed.   Sprinkle the top with the remaining cup of cheese.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  It will be nice and bubbly.  When we go camping in cabins, I am going to divide this up in disposable pans and freeze it so I can just pop it in the oven one night and not have to worry about cooking.
I hope you enjoy this as much as my husband did!
Here's a cute picture of Muffin


Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I had no idea that shredded cheese was any different than just the block of cheese. We normally buy the block for cheddar but not for mozzerella! Interesting casserole. My husband would love this. He's not keen on cream soups in recipes.

Unknown said...

Thanks for linking up to our Sunday Round Up.

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

Delicious recipe Missy! Thanks for sharing and I hope you are feeling better!
Quilting at the River Linky Party Tuesday

Cyn said...

OMGosh, I didn't know that about pre-shredded cheese. Thanks for sharing.
Your recipe looks delish.
Hope u r feeling better now!
[I'm visiting from Connie's LinkyParty]

Candy C. said...

Your casserole looks really yummy, especially seeing as how it's half gone! LOL!!
I read the back of a bag of pre-shredded cheese recently, I used to buy it all the time, I was shocked to see the cellulose listed!!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Muffin does look mighty cute there!

Thanks for recipe! I don't care for the cream of soups as they have so much sodium. So will try this recipe soon. Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

I made your recipe last night. It was a big hit! My husband loved it. Thanks so much!


"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." Psalm 34:8