Tater Tot & Ground Beef Casserole is the ultimate comfort food. You won't believe how simple this dish is to toss together!
Hey, y'all! Welcome to my latest series on the blog; Make Ahead Mondays! Let me tell you, meal planning and meal prepping has been a game changer for me. Recently, our family grew from a family of 2 to a family of 5 when our latest group of foster children joined us.
Before, when it was just the two of us, I'd meal plan- meaning I'd sit down on the weekends and figure out what meals I was going to prepare throughout the week. I'd jot down a grocery list and head to the store to stock up for the week. Now that we're moms to a 5-year-old and 1 1/2-year-old twin boys, I had to switch over to meal prepping. Meal prepping, for me, means planning out our menu, grocery shopping, and then spending a couple of hours 1 day a week whipping up all of our meals for the week and tossing them into the freezer until we're ready to use them. Ya'll, I have so much more time on my hands doing things this way AND there's a hell of a lot less dishes.
Throughout this series, I'm going to share with you the recipes I use to on these meal prep days. Hang on tight, your life is about to get so much easier! This week, I'm highlighting my Crockpot Tater Tot and Ground Beef Casserole.
Okay, let's be honest. This dish is ugly. Like dog ass ugly. I know it, you know it- we all know it but let me tell you it is freaking delicious! This stuff is the ultimate comfort food. It's a delicious combination of meat, potatoes, veggies, and of course, cheese. Lots of ooey, gooey cheese.
This recipe was somewhat inspired by my Cheesy Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole- a family favorite. The twins (almost 2 years old) are ridiculously picky so whenever I find a meal they'll it, I toss it into our rotation and try to come up with similar recipes. The boys will sometimes eat ground beef, they eat tater tots, green beans, and love cheese so I thought I'd toss all of these things together and come up with an easy dinner recipe.
Tips for Making Freezer Meals:
- Keep an eye on your grocery stores sale flyers and stock up on meat when it's on sale.
- Print off recipes your family likes so you don't have to hunt them down or create a special Pinterest board with all of your favorite freezer meals.
- Label each Ziploc bag with the name of the meal, simple directions and cooking time.
- Make sure you have all of the essentials before you get started- bag holders, gallon size bags, quart size bags, permanent markers, bag holders, and slow cooker liners are great to have on hand.
Gallon Size Ziploc Bags
1 lb ground beef
1 small white onion, diced
1/2 cup milk
2 10.5 oz cans cream of mushroom soup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
32 oz bag tater tots
2 14.5 oz cans green beans, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar
To Enjoy Now:
1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef and saute the onion over medium-high heat. Drain the excess fat.
2. Add the cream of mushroom soup, milk, salt and pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine.
3. Add half of the tater tots to the slow cooker. Spread them out into an even layer. Add the green beans. Layer the remaining tots on top.
4. Pour the beef mixture on top. Top with cheese.
5. Cook on low for 5 hours- DO NOT OPEN THE LID DURING COOKING TIME.
When I grocery shop, I buy all of the ingredients I need to make meals. I've found that if I don't bag all of the ingredients together, I end up using ingredients (like cheese) in other meals. Therefore, I like to just bag it all together. If you are a bit more organized that I am, you don't need to add the green beans, tater tots, or cheese to the bag.
To Enjoy Later (as a freezer meal):
1. Label a gallon size Ziploc bag with the meals name, directions and cook time. Set aside for step 7.
2. In a large skillet, brown ground beef and saute the onion over medium-high heat. Drain the excess fat.
3. Add the cream of mushroom soup, milk, salt and pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine.
4. Place the beef mixture in a gallon size bag. Remove all of the excess air and seal.
6. Add 2 cans of green beans, drained, to a 1/2 gall or quart size bag. Remove all of the excess air and seal.
7. Add the beef bag, and bean bag to the labeled gallon size bag. Add in the bag of cheese and bag of tater tots.
8. Thaw overnight or for 24 hours.
9. Add half of the tater tots to the slow cooker. Spread them out into an even layer. Add the green beans. Layer the remaining tots on top.
10. Pour the beef mixture on top. Top with cheese.
11. Cook on low for 5 hours- DO NOT OPEN THE LID DURING COOKING TIME.
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