07 January 2013

Twisted Tater Tot Casserole

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twisted tater tot casserole
Twisted Tater Tot Casserole


Not your ordinary Tater Tot Casserole!


Raw ground beef is pressed into the pan like a crust, then casserole is broken up and stirred mid-way in the cook time so you get nice, solid pieces of beef unlike the usual "brown-then-mix" version of this dish.  Don't worry, the meat will be completely cooked at the end.

Also added is everyone's favorite--BACON--as a tasty condiment, green and red bell peppers for super flavor and some french-fried onion for some more added YUM factor.  And it's all topped off with sharp cheddar cheese.  Nothing could be better on a cold, wintry night.

I used the mini potato patties (crowns) in this since the shape is more appealing to my eye and since they're flatter than the standard cylindrical-shaped tater tots, they'll brown and crisp faster.

**Don't forget to read all the great ideas for substitutions that readers have given in the comments!  Some wonderful ideas and taste change-ups!!!**


Twisted Tater Tot Casserole
  • 1 lb very lean ground beef (at least 85% lean)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (low-fat preferred, but not necessary)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup french fried onions (such as French's)
  • 2 cups potato "crowns" or regular tater tots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Press ground beef into a 11 x 7-inch deep baking dish.  Spread the potato crowns evenly on top of the ground beef.  Pour the soup over the potato crowns.  Sprinkle the diced bell peppers, bacon and french fried onions on top of the soup.  Distribute one cup of the cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir the casserole, breaking meat into chunks.  Add the rest of the cheese and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes.


twisted tater tot casserole
Twisted Tater Tot Casserole


60 comments:

Purabi Naha said...

Oh Wonderful! I loved this recipe!! What do you mean by potato crowns?

Judith Hannemann said...

Potato crowns look like little disks or coins. Hard to describe really, but Ore-Ida is one company that makes them. I find they work better here, but if you can't find them, then the regular tater tots will work just fine.

coolmommaweed said...

Sounds yummy! Is the ground beef raw going into the casseroles dish?

Judith Hannemann said...

Yep and it cooks nicely too. The secret is breaking it up 1/2 way through and sort of bringing it to the top, if that makes any sense, but it's the best way I can describe it. I like that there's a chew factor involved in eating this. I was dubious too when I saw the method, but it works, and it really improves this dish.

Joan said...

Bacon...yes! I will definitely try this version. Thanks.

Judith Hannemann said...

You can add more bacon if you like Joan LOL. And this is SO fabulous. It's even good reheated. I finished the last leftover last night.

Katherine said...

I have a friend who calls this dish "tater Tot hot dish" I always thought that was really cute and this version looks really yummy.

GrandmaNista said...

Made this one as directed. FABULOUS!!! Then remade it using my own substitutions! Freezes and reheats very well! Will definitely make this easy yummy one again! Thanks.

Judith Hannemann said...

I'm glad you did the substitutions!!! I love to take an idea and run with it and always encourage anyone else to as well. Did the grandbabies like it better this time?

Nancy said...

I'm in the process of making this recipe for my supper, it's just about finished and looks delicious. The only thing is that I did not add milk to the soup, should I have? The recipe didn't call for it, but most recipes using cream of mushroom do say add milk. It will be good either way! :-)

Judith Hannemann said...

Nope no milk for the soup Nancy. You just spread it on straight out of the can. I hope your family loved it and feel free to change veggies and amount of anything if your family prefers other combos--one commenter--Grandma, changed up the veggies because her grandbabies don't like peppers.

kathy said...

can i use cream of celery instead of mushroom

Judith Hannemann said...

You can use any cream soup you like Kathy. Change anything you want to in this. It's the method it's assembled that makes it different and better.

Cynthia Davis said...

Im so excited to try this!!

Judith Hannemann said...

I hope you like it Cynthia. This one reheats well too if there are any leftovers. <3

Mrs. Celletti II said...

will this casserole have a lot of grease in it?

Judith Hannemann said...

Not if you use 93% chop meat Mrs. Celetti. That's why I like this so much. If you want to reduce fat even more, then cut down on the tater tots/crowns and use a little less cheese. I don't find it greasy at all made with the 93% and I'm a real bear about seeing grease floating on a plate...can't stand it. Let me know how yours comes out.

Sarah said...

Is there a way to print this recipe so I can take it in the kitchen with me?

Judith Hannemann said...

Sarah--all you have to do is use your browser's "Print" function. It's under "File"

Anonymous said...

Just made it and It was so good

Anonymous said...

I only have 85% lean beef. Can I still make this? Will I have to drain the grease half way through?

Rachel @ Bakerita said...

Yum, this sounds absolutely amazing. Tater-tot anything and I'm in love! :)

Judith Hannemann said...

Reheats well too Rachel...if there's any left LOL

Judith Hannemann said...

85% will be fine. I've used it with great results.

Mary Whalen said...

Used corn for the veggie. Going to substitute cheddar cheese soup for the mushroom next time - I am a cheese freak and the rest of the family is by default...may try substituting feta cheese for the shredded cheddar.

Judith Hannemann said...

I like it Mary!!!!! Cheese freak here too <3

wild woman said...

I am going to try this for tonight supper. It really sounds good but I will use chedder cheese soup because my husband and I are cheese lovers and for the veggies I will use corn that is his favorite. Can't wait to eat it tonight

Jacque H said...

Oh this is SOOOOO happening at my house tonight!! Thanks for sharing the recipe and your nephew has an amazing palate, I might add.

Mel W. said...

I will use green onions in mine, with cream of chicken soup. Possibly some sour cream too.

Mel

Judith Hannemann said...

Love it Mel!!! So many great things can be done with this basic recipe <3

Linda B. said...

Seems to me that a side order of breakfast gravy to drizzle over the top (after each person has the casserole in their plate) might be a nice touch. Just let each person ladle their own on according to their liking.

Judith Hannemann said...

I am loving all these great ideas from you wonderful cooks. I plan to try them all!

Sandy4 said...

I have to try this! I'm even thinking turkey and hash browns and I liked the sour cream idea someone mentioned! I am a total cheese freak and will probably do cheddar jack! Yum, I'm so hungry!

Judith Hannemann said...

Loving it Sandy!!! My sister makes it with ground turkey and the hash browns sound GREAT because they'd get all nice and crunchy with that melted cheese......OMG hunger attack!!!!! Just thinking about it.

Lacy Dillingham said...

I was wondering about spicing it up with green chilis instead of the green bell peppers?

Judith Hannemann said...

Sure Lacy!! That's the beauty of this...you change what you want and make it your own!!

Annette Koziol said...

Thank you Judith. And thank you for staying vigilant with responding to people's questions and comments. All was helpful. I'm watching what I eat nutrionally and my nutrional coach will not disown me if I make this with a lower sodium soup, a 96% lean ground beef and even regular cheese. Or even the ground Turkey. I like several of the variations and most of these things are always on hand. Quick meal. Even to throw together for an office pot luck

Judith Hannemann said...

Hi Annette--my sister makes this with ground turkey and says it's just great. I will only use very lean ground beef in mine too. Some 85% is good, but mostly I'll use 93% or even grind my own meat for this. I'm not on a health kick at all, but I could never stand to see grease pooling in something...a real turn off. I also like the idea of reduced-sodium soup here because with the cheese, this could tend to be a bit salty. As my mom used to say, you can always add, but you can't take out.

I love this casserole because with each change of ingredient, it morphs into something new again. This even reheats well. You could not ask for more!!!

NoNo Nannette said...

Instead of red bell pepper & green bell pepper I'll will use saute onion and mushroom and add can of Green Chili

Sweetz Lyn said...

Some ingredients are hard to find in Asia. Is "tater tots" hash brown? What about french onion? Can I use fried onions/shallots instead?

Judith Hannemann said...

Hi Sweetz Lyn--tater tots are chopped potatoes and onions formed into "patties" or "ball-like" shapes. Something like a thick potato pancake. In UK they call these things "roasters" I believe. I do know that French's fried onions are available in Europe, maybe Asia too? You don't say where in Asia you are. But you sure could use hash browns if you wanted to and fried onion/shallot would taste good too, even though what I use in this is more like a crispy snack food. Actually if you look up a dish called "Tradtional Green Bean Casserole" you'll see what those onions look like. It's sort of a staple in the USA for Thanksgiving. But any way you make this, it will taste good. I'd love to hear how it came out with your substitutions--and it should taste just fine, I'm sure.

Pam Gurganus said...

So you don't brown the meat first?

Judith Hannemann said...

No, Pam, that's what makes this one different. It's broken up midway in the cooking so it will cook completely. This way of doing it provides larger, solid pieces of meat, almost like mini burgers. And it's not soupy like many other versions.

Pam Gurganus said...

Thank you for responding so quickly, Judith! I'm sorry for the question, as I read back over the previous comments and saw my question was already addressed! I'm really looking forward to trying this out! :)

Judith Hannemann said...

<3 No problem Pam. There's so many comments on this recipe it could have been overlooked. There are some great suggestions for variations here that many readers have left and I'm looking forward to trying all of them!!!

Debra Blank said...

This is the way I always make my tator tot casserole and I don't even stir it half way through. I just leave the raw burger on the bottom the whole way through. I have never put f.f. onions or cheese on though....that sounds yummy :)

Judith Hannemann said...

I think our method is so much better for making this Debra!!! I prefer to see hunks of meat instead of the pre-browned ground beef/soup mixture! Much more appetizing--to me--and appealing to the eye.

BTW I had maybe a handful of those French's onions left that I wanted to use up, so I put them in this when I made it. It's a great addition!!

Dobsgal said...

Have always pre-cooked meat to avoid grease. You can play with this recipe to your families liking so easy and great tasting. Just always think what your adding is it greasy? My Mom made this dish up 18 yrs ago it's changed I see but the changes look good. Have fun with it.

Judith Hannemann said...

I use very lean ground beef in this--at least 90% or grind my own from lean steak. Not greasy at all!

Chi Van said...

I forgot to buy the french's onions! Can I leave it out or use chopped onions as a substitute?

Judith Hannemann said...

SURE Chi Van!!! I only put them in to use up the little bit I had left! You could probably even use the dregs of Doritos or Potato Chips too.

Chi Van said...

Thank you for the quick reply!! I just finished eating it and it's like the best thing I ever ate. I put in green onions and extra cheese. I replicated everything else and it was great! Can't wait to try it with other ingredients.

Danielle Hueckstaedt said...

I usually make it with the potatoe rounds/crowns and also for vegetable I use greenbeans my recipe is similar to yours but I follow greenbean casserole instructions but add cheese and hamburger to the mix and top with potatoe rounds or crowns on bottom also I brown them before hand to avoid soggy ness

Diana Diggs said...

My version of this is ground beef, corn, chedder cheese, cream of chicken soup, onion and green peppers and of course tots it is great I also add hot sauce when served

Wayne Rapp said...

You say use can of condensed soup, do you add just can of soup or can of soup plus can of water as you would do to make soup?49849624

Judith Hannemann said...

Hi Wayne--you just spread the soup, undiluted, on top of the potatoes.

Bethany said...

I am going to try and use garbanzo beans instead of the beef and see how it turns out :)

Judith Hannemann said...

That should taste great Bethany!

Bethany said...

Just an update: I used the garbanzo beans in place of the beef and it was awesome! The family loved it and the tiny bit that was leftover tasted great reheated. I did not mash them (but i suppose you could), I just tossed them in some olive oil and then put them in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish and proceeded with the rest of them steps :)

Judith Hannemann said...

I'm going to try that next time I make this. Garbanzos are my favorite!!! Thanks for letting us know!