By contributing writer Beth
If you’re feeding a large family or a small army, this delicious Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole is sure to please Even your meat-and-potatoes hubby will love it!
I’m sure you’ve seen those casseroles made with “cream of” soup, but this casserole is completely different. Aside from the tater tots, it’s all from scratch and homemade – yum!
You can make this dish with a variety of ground meat. I used pork and beef for a deliciously moist texture. Chicken and turkey would be a great lower fat alternative. If you’re going the reduced fat route, you could also use skim milk instead of whole milk. I would caution against using reduced fat cheese. It just doesn’t melt right for it to work in this combination.
I used a regular 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. You can use a larger pan if you’re worried about it bubbling over. I didn’t have that problem, but your experience may vary and nobody likes to have to clean the oven after a mess.
Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole
- 2 1/2 pounds ground meat beef, pork, chicken, or turkey
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 16 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 20- ounce package of frozen tater tots
- Heat oven to 425° F.and spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large pan, brown the ground meat over medium heat until thoroughly cooked. Crumble the meat as you cook it so it is in small pieces when it's done. Do not drain the meat.
- Add the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, thyme, and mustard. Stir to completely combine.
- Stir in the butter and Worcestershire sauce. Continue to cook over medium heat. Stir to melt the butter completely.
- Sprinkle the flour over the meat and stir in. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat.
- Stir in the milk slowly and bring back to a very low simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 1 minute.
- Stir in half the cheese. Blend until melted.
- Pour the meat mixture into the prepared casserole pan, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Arrange the tater tots over the top of the cheese.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 21 - 25 minutes until mixture is bubbly and tater tots are light golden brown.