Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tater Tot Casserole

One of my other childhood favorite meals was Tater Tot Casserole. The best part of the casserole is the Tots!! :) It's really easy to make, and they make great casseroles to make ahead and freeze. I've handed them out before and my friends love them.
Note - I only know how to make this in bulk! The below makes 2 8x8 casserole size dishes and is based on measurements from store bought ingredients.

Turkey Tater Tot Casserole

  • 2 lbs ground turkey (Sam's Club sells this quantity in 2.5 pounds, that's ok.)
  • 1 packet of French Onion Soup
  • 2-3 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 white onion, diced ~ 1 cup or 6 diced ounces
  • garlic, salt & pepper to taste
  • 24 ounces frozen mixed veggies (corn, peas, green beans, carrots)
  • 1 - 10 ounce can of Cream of XYZ soup. I prefer Cream of Mushroom but it doesn't matter.
  • Lots of Tater Tots (Almost 2 pounds)
Brown/Cook the ground turkey, french onion soup (packet only, don't follow the directions), Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt & pepper. Once it's about half done, add the diced onion.
Once completely cooked, drain the mixture above. (I let it cool. At this point you could put it straight into a glass 9x13 or 2 glass 8x8s for dinner right away.)
In a bowl, mix together the mixed veggies & soup (do not add milk/water.)
In pan, spread the meat mixture evenly across the bottom. Spread the veggie & soup mixture on top of that. Cover with Tots.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Since the meat is already cooked, your end goal is cooked tater tots.
I usually chill the casseroles and then freeze. Make sure to defrost 24-hours ahead of time.

For the nutritional value - see this post.
Notes - The ground turkey, french onion soup, and Worcestershire sauce can be replaced with ground beef. Since ground turkey does not have flavor, the soup & Worcestershire is used to flavor it. You could still use the the soup packet & Worcestershire to flavor ground beef.
If you grab the wrong bag of mixed veggies, be a good mom and pick out the lima beans.
I think my mom used to make this and throw it right in the oven. I know she froze some. I really only make this on a weekend (in bulk) and freeze some and cook one later that weekend.
Lots of dishes are created - I would recommend doing this bulk cooking on a rainy day when your husband isn't mowing the lawn. That way he can help clean up!
I made 6 of these today. Since I knew I would be making a lot of freezer meals this summer for after the baby is born, I purchased the Gladware 8x8s off Amazon. It's about $2/container. I was purchasing foil containers, but I don't like how the foil containers are super flimsy.
Today's recipe/cost included:
6-gladware containers ($2/each)
5-pounds ground turkey ($14.95 - SC)
2 packets French Onion Soup ($1.08 WM)
1 onion ($1.25/1.58 pounds)
72 ounces mixed veggies ($5.28 SC)
26 ounces Cream of Mushroom soup ($1.98 WM)
10 ounce Cream of Mushroom soup ($1.00 WM)
8 pounds Tater Tots ($6.98 SC)
SC = Sam's Club, WM = Walmart. I didn't use all 8 pounds of Tater Tots. Just under one pound each container. I'll estimate 6 pounds at $5.25.
Total cost for 6 casseroles = $44.52 or $7.42 each casserole or $5.42 without the fancy pants gladware container.  I didn't include the cost for garlic, salt & pepper, or Worcestershire sauce. I used 5 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce  - one tablespoon per pound. If not made in bulk, the cost would go up. I think a pound of Tater Tots cost around $2 at the grocery store. I could have reduced cost by using non-name brand soup. I did use non-name brand veggies & french onion soup.
One of these is for a friend moving to town, one is our dinner, and the other 4 will be saved for a Potluck Pool Party Exchange in a couple weeks. I'll have to make a couple more at that time too.

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