A layer of ground beef, black beans, taco seasonings, cheddar soup and cream cheese combine in this Mexican Tater Tot Casserole that’s topped off with tater tots and melted grated cheese.
The other day a friend shared with me that she is having her young teenage children each take a night and cook dinner for the family. It’s a “mother appreciation” summer course! (Take that Summer School!) One I highly support! (I wonder if I can get them to come over here…hmmmm!)
As she was sharing this experiment with me, and how it’s going, her oldest made the comment that cooking was hard so she made chili! I could tell her mother was in fear of a summer full of weekly chili for dinner! (I’d be afraid too! Very afraid!)
It got me thinking…What would be an easy casserole that young chefs would have fun making? One for teens who may be participating in similar “appreciation courses” this summer? It also needed to be a dinner that kids and parents would both love! (I had my job cut out for me!)
I’m happy to present to you Mexican Tater Tot Casserole! A casserole that combines a “chili” like base, topped with a crispy, crunchy, cheesy tater tot top! YUM! Let’s get cooking kids!
In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add 1 pound ground beef and 1/4 cup diced onion.
TIP: Always preheat the pan you’ll be cooking in. It offers the best cooking experience and proper food preparation. Think about it…every cooking show with professional chefs…is the skillet hot or cold?
Cook until meat is brown, breaking meat up during cooking, and onions are translucent! DO NOT DRAIN the meat!
Add 1 can rinsed black beans and 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning. Mix until well combined. The taco seasoning will absorb all that liquid!
Add 1 can Cheddar Soup. I know…this step doesn’t look pretty and I was a little worried how it would turn out…but trust me! It’s amazing!
Mix until well combined.
Now for some flavor fun!
I was shopping last week and I came across a new product I hadn’t seen before. Philadelphia Dips! It’s in the refrigerator dairy section in your market by all the other chip dips!
It’s loaded with flavor!!! It’ll wake ya up! So yummy! It’s absolutely perfect in this casserole. If you can’t find it…no worries. Regular Cream cheese with Jalapenos.
Add 1/2 cup of Jalapeno Cheddar Dip or a 1/2 cup of cream cheese with jalapenos if you can’t find the Dips. Mix over medium heat until cream cheese is incorporated into beef mixture.
TIP: If you don’t like heat…substitute with cream cheese with chives. I will warn you…this dip has heat!
Once meat mixture is well combined pour into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Make sure mixture is spread evenly.
Top with 1 1/2 cups grated cheese. This is one cheesy casserole! (I love cheese! My grandmother thought I was half mouse!)
Place the tater tots lightly on top of the ground beef mixture. Line them up like little ones on a field trip…like little Tots! Yep…Tater Tots! (It was a pun that was not going to be missed! Sorry…no I’m not!)
Bake in Preheated 375° oven for 25 minutes until tater tots are golden brown and base is bubbling!
Carefully sprinkle 1 cup grated cheddar cheese on top of tater tots! And slide casserole back into the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted.
Isn’t that beautiful!
Allow to cool 5-10 minutes…that way y’all won’t burn the roof of your mouth!
While the casserole is cooling…top with chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and diced fresh tomatoes. I love the color and depth this adds to this festive casserole!
When ready to serve, top with a scoop sour cream and more cilantro, onions, and tomatoes. The sour cream adds another depth of flavor and helps “cool” the heat from the jalapenos in this Ground Beef Mexican Tater Tot Casserole!
It was love at first bite! I’ll be honest…I held my breath on this one! (And not because my mouth was on fire! It’s wasn’t!) I wasn’t too sure how the Tater Tots would work with the beef and bean mixture! Oh my heavenly stars!!! It’s delicious!
The bottom of the tater tots mix into the meat mixture while the top of the tots stay golden, crispy, and cheesy! I loved the potato bits with the meat base! It’s like a kicked-up Dutch oven dinner! Olé!!!
When Mr. Nest dug into this dish…he raved! He even went back for thirds! (Okay fine! I admit it…I had seconds! It’s SO good!)
This casserole was ready in under an hour! I can also say with all certainty that your family will L.O.V.E. this dish! It’s kid friendly, adult friendly, and budget friendly!
A fun easy casserole your teens can make for dinner. I do recommend helping your kids pull the casserole in and out of the oven. I don’t want anyone getting burned! Please be careful!
Serve this dish with a side green salad or fresh fruit and you’ve got dinner!
Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope you’ll let your teens join the “mom appreciate” course this summer and cook up this casserole!
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