Today is my dad’s 78th birthday! We went over to pick him up and bring him over to see our new farm and spend a few days with us. He loves our new farm, and he always loved his birthday.
One of his favorite meals that my mom made, usually for his birthday, was tater tot casserole. As I got older it became one of my favorites too. I think it is because it was simple, had the meat and potato thing, and I probably liked it because dad did.
I have referenced my dad many times over the years in my blog posts, some for fun, some for nostalgia, and a lot because I looked up to him. Being a dad myself starts to put things in perspective. I remember him correcting me on something or I would challenge him with “when I have my own kids, I will NEVER do that” and that sort of thing, only to do much of what I said I wouldn’t do. I think that is how it goes. Fathers to sons, sons to their sons, and so forth. And yes, like most grandpas, he is more patient with his grandkids than his own (that is what Molly says anyway).
But lets get back to the casserole.
Look, it’s a poor man’s casserole in the same line as a tuna casserole or hamburger casseroles, green bean casseroles, and so many midwest/church picnic type dishes that mom’s would make because they were cheap, could be hearty, and would feed a lot of people.
What makes this one a little different, is that traditionally the browned burger would be followed by green beans, and then tots, and of course topped with the canned mushroom and cheddar cheese soup although my mom subbed out the green beans (not sure why) and put in broccoli. That is how I always knew it and always loved it.
So happy birthday to dad and give this recipe a try!
Tater Tot Casserole
1 lb burger – browned
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
1 can each cream of mushroom and cream of cheddar cheese soup
Place browned burger on bottom of a “casserole” pan (whatever that is). Add broccoli, then pour mushroom soup over that, layer with frozen tater tots, and pour cheddar cheese soup over top of it all.
Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown and a little bubbly.