October 1, 2008

Tater Tot Casserole

I had a really hard time coming up with a dinner idea tonight. The only thing that I could think of was Tater Tot Casserole (see previous post), even though we have had it recently. So, I admit my choice is not very creative...BUT I am excited to have it again, anyway. It was really good the first time! The husband came home and discovered what I was planning for dinner and he got all excited, too. Apparently, Tater Tot Casserole is a new family favorite. I was in a hurry, so I did not read the recipe before starting my preparation. I vaugely remembered all the ingredients, and I did not remember what order the layers were, in the casserole dish. Instead of reading the recipe (laziness won out) I just guessed. After I put it in the oven, I went and read the original recipe and realized there were some differences (my memory stinks, so I should have known better). I hope my version turns out as good as the original recipe version. I would hate to disappoint the Tater Tot Casserole maniacs at my house.

I know you are dying to know what I did differently, so let me break it down for you. I mixed one whole diced onion and 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic into the beef with the salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder, as a first layer. Then, I put the soup/sour cream mixture down next. I topped that with the rest of a bag of cheddar cheese (maybe 1/4 of a cup) and supplemented the rest with shredded mozzerella cheese. Lastly, I put the tater tots on top. I ran out of normal tots 3/4 of the way through covering the top, and had to finish with tater tot rounds (different shape). The taste should be the same, but the asthetics will be a little different. I will let you know how my crazy, mixed up version turns out.

The Result:
I could not decide which photo I liked better, so I added them both. The casserole was good, but definitly a little less structred than the last time I made it. I think it was soupy-ier (is that a word???). It really did not hold together well. Some of my Tater Tots actually sunk! From the photo, it looks like I did not layer the top with Tots evenly...but that is not the case. I swear, I would never skimp on Tots!!!!
I think I will stick with the original recipe layer order, although I did really like the addition of more onion and fresh, minced garlic. As you can see, the cheese is ooey-gooey goodness, and we served this masterpiece with green beans. Sigh. Again, I was humbled by how much I love the Tot...especially the Tot Casserole.
My husband and I agreed that this dish would be better if saved for an "every once in awhile" occurance. I think we would get sick of it, if I was to put in regular rotation. I want to keep the 'new car' feeling as long as possible with this dish. Really, it is sooooo incredibly yummy!

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