There are those people… Who cook wonderfully creative dishes and make beautifully elaborate cookbooks. And then… there’s me. 🙂
While I do LOVE to try cooking new dishes when I feel inspired from time to time (my recent favorites are Pork Chops with Apples from Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier and Chicken Fried Steaks and Gravy from Southern Living’s Quick and Easy Cookbook), it’s just not a feasible thing for me to do on a daily (or even weekly) basis. And I bet you’re the same way.
The first dinner I ever made for my husband after we got married was “Tater Tot Casserole.” My mom used to make it, and I have no idea where she got the recipe. It is so incredibly easy, not to mention incredibly yummy, so it is a dish I am still making today.
Now it’s not low carb, paleo, or organic, but my kids love it (and THAT’S saying something), my husband likes it, and I hardly ever get tired of it.
It only has 5 (or 6) total ingredients:
- ground beef (I use a little more than a pound for my brood)
- shredded cheese (about 1 cup or so…depending on how cheesy you want it)
- cream of mushroom soup (1 regular sized can will do)
- a little milk
- mild jalapenos (chopped, optional – see below)
- tater tots (enough to cover the top)
Supplies: You’ll need a skillet, a spatula, a big mixing bowl, a mixing spoon, and a casserole dish.
- Start by browning and draining your ground beef.
- Put your beef, shredded cheese, cream of mushroom soup, and milk into your mixing bowl and mix it up! (You can add some chopped mild jalapenos at this point as well. My husband and I love to put the jalapenos into the casserole before cooking it, but I usually don’t do that now for my kids’ sake. They don’t dig spicy food. 🙂 So these days I chop some up and put them to the side and we put them on later as we eat it.)
- Put the meat and cheese mixture into the casserole dish, and top it with the frozen tater tots. I usually cook the casserole according to the Tater Tot directions, at about 425 degrees. I cook it about 20 minutes and then check it. The casserole is ready when the Tater Tots look golden brown. 🙂
- Serve and enjoy! 🙂
Every once in a while, I let my kids eat in the living room while watching a movie. This night, we did just that! (Aren’t their little plates cute? I got these tiny plates as a part of my Fiestaware set my grandmother got me for Christmas last year. Yep, they eat like little birds.)
Two Helpful Tips I’ve Learned for Cooking Meat:
- I like to brown a few pounds at once and use it for 2-3 meals throughout the week. For example, this time I’m using my beef for 3 meals: Tater Tot Casserole, Chili Pie, and Tacos. I browned it all at once, and I put the meat not needed for tonight’s meal in the freezer until I need it. That makes cooking the other meals super easy!
- Oh, and I’ve found that seasoning my meat makes ALL the difference in the world. I always season my ground beef with a little salt and pepper, and if I’m cooking Italian I use Italian Seasoning (in other words basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme or some combination of those).
Have a graceful day!