Tuesday, February 13, 2007

An Education

One of the things that I am trying to do while cooking budget conscious is to find out how "the other people" eat. You know... the people in front of you in the grocery line with a cart full of processed and frozen foods. The people who would have no idea how to make a stew from scratch, and to whom cream of mushroom soup is a weeknight savior. I have also been working on a little project that I can't go into detail about yet, but it has forced me to prepare some foods that I would have passed over otherwise. Altogether though, not an unworthy project I must say. So far, we've been pleasantly surprised by my creations. And last night's dinner was just such a creature.

Yes, folks, we have here the dreaded Tater Tot Casserole. Go ahead. Yank my foodie credentials now because by golly, the hubby and I enjoyed this stuff. Zander proclaimed it really good, and Abigail was disappointed because the tater tots were not all by their lonesome to be dunked in ketchup. Now, this was a different tater tot casserole than others I have had. This one was doctored up to resemble a pizza concoction, and it actually was the perfect solution for using up scraps of leftovers from pizza making the other night.

It started with ground beef, onions, and seasonings browning together in a pan. Cream of mushroom soup was added, and then the whole concoction poured into a baking dish. This was topped with (in order) pizza sauce, green peppers, chopped turkey pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and then the frozen tots. The whole thing baked and bubbled away, and I was sure leery about it as I pulled it out of the oven. But like I said, it was well received. Certainly not 5 star food, but it was quite tasty, satisfied, and it used up leftover scraps. And if I calculate the cost for this dinner- non-scraps would be the beef, soup, and tater tots, it's less than $5 for the whole pan. A side of broccoli and we had ourselves a meal. Andy said I should make it again, and we both agree that some sliced mushrooms need to be added, but otherwise... not bad for cooking on the other side of the tracks, and it goes into the tried and true file. You can find my modified recipe for Tater Tot Pizza-Role in the Recipe Trove


Mia said...

My mother used to make a variation of this recipe but her recipe was different. I haven't had that in quite awhile. And so long as everyone ate it....

Erika said...

Mia, I've never seen a Tater Tot Casserole that was much more than ground beef, soup and tater tots, but I definitely like the pizza variation. My Mom never made it growing up, but we would go to friend's houses and have it there and loved it.

If I think of it as a mutant version of Shepherd's Pie, I can stop thinking about the connotations of Tater Tot Casserole. :-)