Friday, July 19, 2013

Pinterest in Practice: Freezer Tater Tot Casserole

While I was pregnant, I put together some freezer meals to get through the first month or so of having an infant.  We were blessed to have help for a couple of weeks, so the freezer meals have lasted longer than I expected.

Most recently, we ate the Tater Tot Casserole that I found at Just A Little Nutty.  Here's the original pin from Pinterest.

I adapted the recipe for more vegetables in an effort to add veggies to our diet, so here's the recipe:

Tater Tot Casserole

1/2 lb ground beef, browned
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 T milk
1/2 can cream of mushroom soup
4 oz Velveeta
8 oz fresh or frozen vegetables
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 package frozen tater tots

Place all ingredients in freezer bag and freeze.  
To use, place frozen meal in slow cooker on Low for 6-8 hours.

  • Taste: The casserole tasted as expected.  It was full of cheesy, potato-ey goodness.
  • Prep: The preparation for this meal was incredibly easy and fast.

  • Appearance: As you can see in the photo below, the casserole ended up looking like a gooey mess, which is fine if you are expected it, but I wouldn't serve this to company.
  • Healthiness: I added extra vegetables to this recipe, but it is still rather unhealthy with the cheese and tater tots.
  • Texture: Though the casserole tastes delicious, the tater tots lost all form in the crock pot and did not have the crispiness normally associated with tater tots. 

Because I didn't have 6 hours to cook the casserole, I put it in on high for a couple of hours and then switched it to low for another couple of hours.  Though I often use this little shortcut, this time it backfired.  The casserole was looking great after the first couple of hours on high, but after another couple of hours on low, it burnt!  I can only imagine that it would have been worse had I cooked it on low for a whole 8 hours!  The other major complaint that I have is the loss of tater tot form, not only were the tater tots not crisy, they simply fell apart when I stirred the casserole together.  Finally, even though I added almost twice as many vegetables as the recipe called for (about 16 oz), the casserole definitely could have used more.  The flavor was great if you are looking for yummy comfort food.  

Taste/Flavor:  A
Ease of Preparation:  A+
Prep Time:  A+
Presentation:  D

Overall Grade for this Pinterest in Practice Project: B-

Tater Tot Casserole

Alternative Recipes:

To improve this dish, I would recommend:

  • Double the vegetables
  • Omit the tater tots from freezing.  Prepare them according to package instructions and add to casserole immediately before serving.

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