Did y’all grow up eating casseroles like this one? I sure didn’t. My most common meal growing up was pasta with roast chicken and broccoli. I love that meal. My whole family does. Other staples included Hoppin’ John (black eyed peas in rice,) string beans and cherry tomatoes from the garden, meatloaf with lots of ketchup and lamb or fried pork chops on special occasions.
Falling in love with Blake also meant falling in love with a string of delicious casseroles his grandmother and then his father would make for his family. The last we posted of these was one of Blake’s variations on a receipe he’d seen in his Grandmother Phyllis’ files once: Reuben Casserole.
Besides Tuna Casserole, the Tater Tot variety is one we crave the most when we are in need of some serious comfort food. This casserole is so easy and so loved by every generation, it barely needs explanation. This post is mostly pictures. Prepare to salivate.
This recipe is, of course, altered from its original version by Blake’s memory as well as by some substitutions (ground turkey for ground beef, for example) and some extra spices. In reality, you can combine whatever you have and put tater tots and cheese on top, and it will probably be delicious.
Preheat oven to 350-375 degrees.
- 1 lb. ground turkey, thawed
- Olive oil
- 1/4 large onion, chopped
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup mixed with 1/2 can water (or 1 family-sized can cream of mushroom soup if you want a richer casserole)
- Frozen tater tots (enough to create 1 layer across the pan you are using)
- 2% Milk Velveeta Cheese (or cheddar cheese of your choice)
- salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, lemon pepper, dill, & garlic powder to taste
- 1/2 a small bag of frozen peas (or fresh, of course!)
- 1/4 a small bag of frozen corn (or fresh)
Brown meat on stove-top with onions in a small amount of olive oil. Add salt if desired. Mix browned meat, cream of mushroom soup and frozen veggies together in a large casserole dish. Put a single layer of frozen tater tots on top. Sprinkle on desired spices. Add slices of Velveeta at regular intervals across the tots to your delight. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Casserole is done when mixture is bubbly and cheese has relaxed into melty-goodness.
We spiced the top of our tots with cayenne pepper, dill, black pepper & garlic powder.
Ready to Bake!
As an aside, have you guys ever witnessed the music of Garfunkel and Oates? They have great lyrics. I guess they’ve been picked up by FUNNY OR DIE, but even their low-production early videos are pretty neat. I hope that one day I can be a smug one.