Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday's Fab Five - Tater Tot Casserole

Another super easy dinner to freeze...

When you find those big family packs of ground beef on sale, stock up.  You can cook five meals out of 5 pound pack and freeze them in freezer ziplock style bags and it takes up VERY little space.  Then you can pull one out and have dinner on the table in a jifffy and not have to clean a skillet!!!  Woohoo!!! 

On Cooking Day:  Cook a bunch of ground beef.  For these pictures, I was only cooking 2 pounds of meat, but normally, I do 5 pounds.  When you cook five pounds, make sure you use a large skillet (I prefer 12 inch) and I think a pasta spoon works great to break up the meat chunks. If you family likes onions, you could dice an onion and put it in with the meat while you are browning it. After you have cooked the meat and drained it, add 1 can of cream of mushroom soup per pound of meat.  Save some out for dinner and then freeze the rest.  Use those freezer style ziplocks and this casserole can be ready in a jiffy.  For tips on filling bags, see this post about spaghetti.

Casserole Assembly:  Place the meat mixture in a casserole dish and top it with frozen tater tots.  You can also put a layer of cheese between the meat mixture and the tater tots if you'd like.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until tots are browned and meat mixture is bubbly.

On Defrost Day:  You can partially defrost the meat in the microwave, but move it to another dish as soon as you can get it out of the zip-lock (for my microwave, this is about 1 minute.  After that, the bag starts to melt...).  As soon as it is defrosted, follow the directions for casserole assembly.

I like to serve this casserole with a salad and/or green beans.

**I had planned to give you a gluten free substitute for cream of mushroom soup, but that will have to wait until next week.  Sorry!

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