Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fully Loaded Tater Tot Casserole for #SundaySupper

Today the #SundaySupper crew is sharing Captivating Casseroles. Before deciding on my dish, I started with the question: what exactly is a casserole?

A casserole, from the French word casse, refers to a large, deep dish used both in the oven and as a serving vessel. The word also describes the food cooked and served in said a vessel. So, essentially, a casserole refers to anything cooked in a casserole dish. Okay.

So a lasagna is a casserole? According to this definition, yes, an Italian casserole. A shepherd's pie is a casserole? Sure, a British casserole. Here's what I brought to the my casserole dish.

 My three boys eyed the dish suspiciously. I explained the project and shared the definition.

"I've seen you bake cakes in that dish." noted Jake.

"So, those cakes are casseroles?" posed R.

Yes. I guess they are.

"Cool. A cake casserole," said R.

D just stared at the pan. It probably didn't help that I had teased: D, this recipe is from your people.

"What do you mean my people?"

People in Oklahoma make casseroles - 

"And you were born in Oklahoma," interrupted R.

"I know where I was born," snapped the Wom. "Why do the people in Oklahoma make casseroles?"

No idea. But I know that they do.

When D was born, I was part of a moms' club. And many of the members graciously brought dinner over to the house so that I didn't have to cook for awhile. Meal trains are a god-send for new moms. But during that week or two after we came home from the hospital, I saw more casseroles than I had seen in my entire life. It was one of those that I decided to replicate: a fully loaded tater tot casserole with all the beloved toppings on a baked potato - sour cream, green onions, and cheese! You can buy the tater tots, certainly, but I made mine.

For the Tater Tots
  • 6-7 large red potatoes
  • 1/2 C shredded cheese (I had a medium sharp cheddar)
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • canola oil
For the Casserole
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • pat of butter
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 C pancetta, cubed
  • 2 T parsley, chopped
  • 1 T dill, chopped
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 t ground paprika
  • 1 C organic sour cream
  • 1 C medium cheddar, shredded
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • enough tater tots to cover the top of your casserole

For the Tater Tots
Preheat oven to  400°F. Scrub the potatoes clean and roast until they are fork tender. Cool them rapidly by plunging them in ice water. Change the water, and repeat, until the potatoes are cool. Shred the potatoes on the large holes of a box grater.

Place the other ingredients into the bowl - except the canola oil - with the grated potatoes and use a fork to fully combine everything. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and brush it with oil.

Preheat oven to  425°F. Using about a teaspoon of the potato mixture, form it into a cylinder about 1 inch long. Place on baking sheet and repeat until all the tots are made. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, turning once about 20 minutes into the cooking time.

For the Casserole
In a large, flat-bottom pan, brown your onions and celery in a pat of butter. Once the onions are translucent and softened, add in the beef and pancetta. Cook completely. Season with herbs, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Stir in the sour cream and spoon the mixture into your baking dish. Sprinkle with green onions.

Layer with shredded cheese, then arrange the tater tots over the top. Bake for 20 minutes - till the cheese is melted and the meat mixture is bubbling below.

To serve, scoop portions into bowls.

Here's what the rest of the crew brought to the table...

Captivating Breakfast Casseroles
Appetizing Casserole Sides
Main Event Casseroles
Decadent Dessert and Sweet Casseroles

Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. 

Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. 

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement. 


  1. "cake casserole" cracked me up!

  2. LOL, yeah, I got a lot of casseroles when my children were born---I don't think any were as scrumptious as this one!!!

  3. I joined #SundaySupper but too late to join in on this week and next week is sponsored so I can't join then we are going on vacation but I will definitely be joining you guys as soon as our schedules align. Too bad I wasn't in time for this theme because, being from the Midwest and all, casseroles are our life LOL.

    1. Can't wait to have you around the #SundaySupper table, Wendy. Thanks for always commenting.

  4. Holy cow, Camilla, you made your own tater tots?! Extra points for that huge extra step! Nothing better than a fully loaded potato so I love your casserole.

  5. This is the kind of casserole I grew up with -- only better! I never thought to make my own tots, though. Love this!

  6. I was waiting for a tater tot casserole and you went above and beyond and MADE your own tater tots! Fantastic!!

  7. how neat! you made your own tater tots??? I'll have to try this out for sure! I'm not a fan of the store bought kind so maybe your recipe will change my mind! :)

  8. Tater tots were such a fave when I was a kid, I would love this as an adult too though. Sounds awesome!

    -Julie @ Texan New Yorker

  9. This is such a perfect casserole! I love the homemade tater tots and the comforting ingredients here! Filing and making!

  10. I've never made tater tot casserole. It looks oh so tasty. I think I need to start with making this one.

  11. Thank you for looking up the origins of casserole, Camilla. Thank you, too, for the heart-warming story of neighbors acting in very neighborly ways. Last and not least, very much appreciate your yummy, tummy-pleasing (and healthier than regular tater-tots) casserole =)

  12. Tater Tot Casserole is very popular in Minnesota. I have never tried it, but am excited to try your recipe. It looks fantastic!

  13. "Mom train" sounds like a great idea! This casserole with homemade tots works for me!

  14. I have never had a tater tot casserole. I feel like I've been missing out on something lol