Monday, May 9, 2011

Beef and Smoked Sausage Tater Tot Casserole

A well loved casserole of ground beef, and I like to also add smoked sausage, seasoned with sweet onion and bell pepper and a cream soup sauce and topped with crispy, crunchy tater tot potatoes and cheese.
A well loved casserole of ground beef, and I like to also add smoked sausage, seasoned with sweet onion and bell pepper and a cream soup sauce and topped with crispy, crunchy tater tot potatoes and cheese.

Tater Tot Casserole

Tater tots. Little pillows of deep fried shredded potatoes. I mean, c'mon... how can you not love those little bite sized crunchy bites of goodness? On the rare occasion that we eat Sonic, I guarantee I'm gettin' the tater tots y'all!

Did you know that tater tots were born out of trying to "use it up?" They sure were. Those folks at Ore-Ida were looking for a way to use up the leftover slivers of potatoes and came up with the tater tot. You'd almost think those Griggs brothers were southerners! Around since the early 50s, we consume about 70 million pounds of tater tots a year.

Ah yes... and let us not forget the fabulous famous Tater Tot Casserole! Sometimes called Cowboy Casseroles, it's a recipe I'm pretty sure every southerner has in their recipe box. The basic tater tot casserole is very simple, including cream of something soup, cheese, milk or sometimes sour cream, seasoned simply with a bit of salt and pepper, and is usually served as a side dish. Somebody along the way thought to add meat to make it a more substantial main dish, usually ground beef or turkey. Some folks layer the ground beef in the bottom of the casserole raw, but I prefer to pre-cook mine and drain off the fat.

Well, y'all know I can never leave well enough alone, right?

Just one thing to note here with this casserole. A lot of people mix all of the ingredients together, others put the tater tots on the bottom and pour the mixture on top of them. Well, in my little ole humble opinion, you want those tater tots to be crispy on top, really you do! This ain't hash brown casserole y'all, although that is an excellent variation.

I put the meat mixture on the bottom, top that with a little bit of cheese, pour the soup mixture over that and arrange the tater tots on top. Bake that uncovered and in the last five minutes, sprinkle just a bit of cheese on top and return to the oven to melt the cheese. I've also included some of the many variations this casserole has gone through over the years, just in case you may want to try something a little different.

Perfect for toting to a potluck, but I wrote this in a smaller version here for a 9 x 9 inch baking dish, so you'll want to double it for that.


For more of my favorite casseroles and bakes, visit my page on Pinterest!



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Posted by on May 9, 2011

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