Tater Tot Casserole

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tater tot casseroleThis is one of my absolutely favorite “frugal” recipes.  With school starting soon, expenses have increased and frugal, simple meals like this one are great budget savers.  The best part is that children really seem to love this meal, especially with a salad and some fruit. 

I’ve made this casserole a day ahead of time and kept it in the refrigerator when we are really busy.  That way, the older kids can just pop it in the oven while I’m off with the younger ones.  However, the meal is simple enough that it could be made by a teenager, should your teenager choose to cooperate and participate in the process!

To make the meal, you will need:

1 large package of tater tots(I buy the store brand as you get more at a cheaper prices)

2 cans of mushroom soup(if your family doesn’t like mushrooms, I’ve used cream of celery soup too. Use “store brand” for more savings.)

1 cup of milk

2 pounds of ground beef, turkey, or chicken(if your kids will eat ground turkey, you can use this to make the meal even cheaper)

Salt and Pepper to taste

To make the casserole:

Put the tater tots in the oven to start to brown them.  While they are browning, cook up the ground meat.  When the meat is cooked, drain off the fat.  Add the milk and the soup to the meat and heat on medium.  Mix the meat thoroughly with the soup and the milk.

Spread the meat in a 9 x 13 pan.  Cover with the tater tots.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat in the oven at 450 degrees until the tater tots are finished cooking.  Depending upon the brand used, this time can vary.  See packaging for more details on cooking time of the tater tots.

I have a large family: 5 children who are eating “regular food”.  If you have a smaller family, or a family with a small appetite, you can adapt this recipe by using a smaller bag of the tater tots and only 1 pound of ground meat.  Cut the milk to about 1/2 cup and use only 1 can of soup. Also note that if your family doesn’t like creamy soups, you can use canned cheese soup instead of that!

This is a great recipe which you’ll be using over and over again!

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