Affordable Family Meals: Tater Tot Casserole

I just posted a new (?) recipe up on my recipe website and I hesitate at calling it 'new' because it's for one of the oldest standbys that I know! It's for Tater Tot Casserole (or... "Hot Dish" if you live in Minnesota where they have odd names for things... LOL).

While I was preparing todays post for the budget blog I thought; Wait a minute! That casserole is one of the most affordable meals for a hungry family. I need to mention it here! So... I am.

When the grocery bill goes up, up, up! You need food that is filling and affordable. This is one of them and you just happen to be lucky enough that it's incredibly easy (an 8 year old could make it as long as you trust your 8 year old to brown the meat - which they can if you teach them.) Now, don't turn up your nose at using a can of cream of mushroom soup. I know, I know, I went through that whole 'ewww... canned soup in cooking!?' stage too and for a while made my own 'homemade' versions of our cream based soups. You know what? It was a heck of a lot easier to just buy the $1 can of soup and tasted just as good! I do have to say that I *only* buy the 98% fat free version of the cream soups and it's NOT because of the 'low fat' they tout. I found this particular version tastes better than the 'regular' version. It has just a bit more spice to it and isn't as bland. It just happens to be a little healthier too.

Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 large onion, diced or chopped
salt and pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 large package tater tots (or french fries)
1/2 - 3/4 c frozen pea's

Brown the ground beef in a pan on the stove over medium high with the chopped or diced onion until cooked through. Remove from heat. Add the can of soup and stir in the pea's. Place in a greased casserole dish or baking pan (I used a 10" square). Top with the tater tots or fries in a single layer. Salt and pepper. Bake in a 375 - 400 degree oven for approximately 35-40 minutes until crisp and golden.
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