As the weather warms up, it seems that our schedules become ever fuller and dinner tends to become a hurried disaster.
With the kids in sports, the wrapping up of school events, ever looming deadlines, and a full work schedule, it is seasons like this that it is most convenient to have an arsenal of satisfying quick-fix foods at hand.
Rather than warm up a frozen pizza or cave to the beckoning neon lights of the drive-thru on the way home from work, turn to a 20 minute or less recipe like the stovetop tater tot casserole and save yourself time, money, and hassle. Not only is the recipe quick to prepare, but it’s full of filling ingredients which won’t fill your daily calorie quota in one meal and won’t empty your pockets.
Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees and taking from the freezer a 1 pound bag of tater tots. Keep in mind you’ll want to get the tater tots in as soon as possible; they take a bit of time to cook and crisp up.
So, once the oven has reached the right temperature, pop the tater tots in and begin browning 1 pound of lean ground chuck (alternatively you could use ground turkey if you want to lighten things up a little more) over a medium-high heat. As the meat is browning, finely chop an onion and add to the cooking meat. Season with salt and pepper and continue to stir occasionally until the meat is fully cooked and the onions have become transluscent. After the meat has browned, add half of a 1 pound bag of frozen green beans, cover with a lid, and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Whisk together 1 10 ounce can of cream of mushroom soup with ½ a can of milk (whole, 2%, or skim all work just fine). After the green beans have had a chance to heat (be careful not to let them cook too long or they’ll become mushy), add the mushroom soup mixture to the pan. Stir over a low heat until all ingredients are mixed and thoroughly heated.
Remove your hamburger mixture from the heat, take your tater tots from the oven, cover the hamburger mixture with the tater tots and allow to cool.
In roughly 20 minutes, you’ll have prepared a meal large enough for a family of four and filling enough to keep everybody feeling as full as your schedule.