This post is sponsored by my friends at Tony Chachere’s, but all opinions expressed are my own – just as always. Thanks for supporting the brands that support my family and me.
Ok, in an effort of full disclosure, I’m relatively new to the whole “Tater Tot Casserole” thing. It just wasn’t something that we ever had when I was a kid. But I became an instant fan of the cheesy casserole as soon as I had it in my early 30s. (Yes, it took me until my 30s before I had it. Call me deprived, I guess.)
And, in all honesty, I have no idea why this gooey, delicious combination of ground beef, onions, cream of mushroom soup, and tater tots hadn’t entered my life before then. But, Lord, I’m sure glad it did.
Tater Tot Casserole, sometimes called Tater Tot HotDish in the upper midwest, is classic comfort food. It requires only a handful of ingredients, can be made pretty quickly, and can easily be adapted to suit any family’s particular food peculiarities. I’m looking at you, picky eaters!
All of these things combined makes this dish perfect for those busy weeknights. And we all can use more easy weeknight supper ideas, right?
Now, many of the Tater Tot Casseroles I’ve had in the past were a bit on the dry side. If I’m going to eat a casserole, I want super gooey, cheesy deliciousness. You know what I mean?
So when my friends from Tony Chachere’s asked me to kick up a traditional tater tot casserole recipe and give it a creole flair, I knew we also had to amp up the gooeyness and cheesiness. So that’s exactly what I did.The Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning is the perfect spice blend to add tons of zing to something that can sometimes be a bit boring in the flavor department.
A few things to keep in mind…
When it comes to the cheese, I went with pepper jack. The thing is, it can often be a little harder to find it pre-shredded in the bags at the grocery store. So you can buy an 8-ounce block of pepper jack and run it over the box grater to grate it yourself, or you can opt for another type of cheese like Colby-Jack or Monterey Jack. Either should work just fine in this dish.
When you only have a few ingredients in a recipe, you want to make sure you add in as much flavor with each of those ingredients as possible. With that in mind, I used onion tater tots rather than the regular potato-only variety. Regular tots work just fine though if you can’t find the onion ones.
I really like the texture and flavor of the tots when they’re crunchy. With this casserole, it can be hard to get them that way without a little extra help. To do that, I turn the oven on broil and return the casserole to the oven to toast the tots for 3 to 5 minutes. Just watch them carefully or they’ll burn. No one wants burned tots!
Kickin’ Creole Tater Tot Casserole
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, plus more for topping
- 2 (10.5-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
- 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
- 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
- 3 to 4 cups frozen onion tater tots
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Brown meat and onion together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain off fat.
- Return meat to the skillet over low heat and add ketchup, Worcestershire, Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, mushroom soup, and drained tomatoes and chilies. Stir to combine and allow to heat through. Spread evenly into the prepared dish. Top with pepper jack cheese.
- Cover top of mixture with tater tots. Sprinkle a little more Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning over the top of the tots.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until tater tots are browned and heated through. (If the tots aren't cripsy to your liking, a few minutes under the broiler should crisp them right up.)