I made another tater tot casserole and cherry brownies

United States
December 15, 2012 8:19pm CST
I've been trying to cook more because our budget no longer allows us to eat out. My boyfriend has been getting bowlfuls of tater tot casserole and he always raves about it. I finally decided to look up the recipe and found so many variations that I had to ask him which one he'd prefer. He selected one, but ground beef (or turkey) were very expensive, so I modified it. I researched a vegetarian version, tweaked it a bit and made it for him over a week ago-he LOVED it! I made notations on the recipe so that I could duplicate it again. I got an email that had a number of recipes that are five or fewer ingredients. The one that interested me was for cherry brownies. I already had brownie mix at home, so I asked my boyfriend Jim to pick up a can of cherry pie filling. I decided to surprise him and not only make the cherry brownies (which are YUMMY!), but to also make him another version of the tater tot casserole. Because I was using the casserole dish for the brownies, I had to use a different dish for the casserole-the pile of tater tots was too high for the shelves in the oven, so I put some in another dish. Jim ate the smaller dish for dinner, and he had a large brownie. He absolutely loved the dinner, and I'm looking to try a Doritos casserole next. Do you cook at home? I never did before, but that was because either my kitchen required work, or there was no one to really appreciate me cooking a meal.
3 people like this
12 responses
@p1kef1sh (45640)
16 Dec 12
I love to cook at home and at the moment I'm in a pastry making mood. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to eat too much of it but that doesn't stop me from making the goodies. When I left my job back in 2007 I went on a serious economy drive and discovered that good food does not have to cost the earth. Even better if you make too much you simply put it in the freezer and eat it another day. Happy cooking.
2 people like this
• United States
16 Dec 12
I have this secret desire to have a professional chef's kitchen. My mother always cooked-part from scratch, part from convenience. She used to make all sorts of cookies for the holidays-cream puffs and eclairs were popular when we were younger! I always wanted to cook, but when my sister decided she wanted to be a pastry chef, my mom's attentions were focused on her instead. We had cooking classes at school, so I knew how to make the basics, but once in a while, I created something from scratch out of nothing but a craving for a specific taste (I seem to remember a baked chicken dish with spices and balsamic vinegar with melted cheese that my even my mom was impressed that I just made it up). As an adult, I never really had access to a suitable kitchen-mine needed work, but we never had a place to eat properly there; and once I started having to live with room mates, their kitchens were ok, but I had no one to cook for. At least now, Jim likes my cooking, and since we've really got to tighten our belts, I'm forced to find frugal recipes and make them work with our existing ingredients.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Dec 12
Of course, I cook. I love to prepare beautiful, healthy, vegetarian meals from scratch. I use a lot of fresh veggies and whole grains, and we do not buy heavily processed convenience foods (such as Doritos). I try to always have things such as split peas, lentils and dried beans on hand. Tempeh is another mainstay in our diet. All of these are inexpensive, nutritious and versatile foods.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Dec 12
What is tempeh? I've never heard of it before. Jim (my boyfriend) is such a fan of butter beans-I'm not sure if they're available dried, but I'm looking for recipes with ingredients I know that he'll eat. I know that using dried beans is very economical. But he likes his meats; we just couldn't afford it this week. I'd love to start a vegetable garden, but we live in an apartment. I'm looking into possibly growing vegetables out front, but we receive sun there all day, so I'll have to be careful with watering and selecting vegetables that thrive in those conditions.
2 people like this
@celticeagle (118210)
• Boise, Idaho
16 Dec 12
I think we would be better off financially if we didn't go out to eat so much too. But when eating out is the only thing you really do and you really enjoy it is hard to stop. I used to make tater tot casserole too. My daughter loved it. I like the fish casserole I like. It is layer sections of mushroom, any fish I choice, and onions. And I would add some butter and a herb or two. Love fish. My BFF used to make chocolate cake and use the cherry filling on top and in the middle. It make a great birthday cake. I used to do all the cooking but when I got so sick and had to quit working I decided I would let my daughter do the cooking. I figure I did it all(and I do mean all) for many years and it was her turn to do it now. SHe can take care of the family as I used to. SHe does a very good job.
• United States
17 Dec 12
That's awesome that your daughter was able to step right in and help out when you needed it. I grew up where we ate out once a week at a nice restaurant, once a week at fast food (that was breakfast or lunch at McDonald's), and a take out pizza; the other nights, one of my parents would cook. My dad could make a cherry pie with the lattice top-that was something my mom couldn't do! I was teaching my daughter the basics of cooking when I moved; her father doesn't believe she knows anything, so he wastes his money. I'm considering getting a recipe for a tuna casserole; Jim LOVES tuna and he really should eat more seafood. I mentioned it to him earlier, and he seemed quite interested.
2 people like this
@celticeagle (118210)
• Boise, Idaho
17 Dec 12
I hope you can find a good recipe for the tuna casserole. Some of them are just yuckee.
@GardenGerty (99151)
• United States
17 Dec 12
Hubby and I are both great cooks and we have only eaten out one time since September 29. It was November 28 to celebrate my son's birthday. I did have to eat out for work the other night, but it will be reimbursed. So how do you make cherry brownies?
• United States
17 Dec 12
It's great to go out once in a while, but it's our food budget for a week sometimes! And celebrating a birthday is an excellent reason to go out! I shared the recipe for the cherry brownies earlier-it is such an easy recipe that I'll probably do it again because it was gone that quickly!
1 person likes this
@NailTech (6890)
• United States
17 Dec 12
It sounds yummy, both the tater tot casserole and the brownies. I make food here but only a few different things cause they don't wanna try anything new. My dad suggested pork chops one day and they all finally agreed to eat those, thank goodness. I make those and some chicken patties that are already made and I have to heat through basically. Then I make meatloaf. Other than that someone else either cooks or we eat out despite the fact we really can't either.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Dec 12
I'm pickier than Jim is, but I am slacking off on trying new foods because I have an abscess under a crown and it hurts to eat much of the time. I made pork chops the other night, but I used a different recipe. Basically you preheat the oven to 350 degrees; lay the chops out in a baking pan; and put a tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of butter or margarine on each one. Cover with foil and bake it for about 45 minutes; remove the foil and bake another 15. Jim liked them a lot, but I had gotten thin cut and I think they'd work better on regular cut chops.
1 person likes this
@Arieles (2474)
• United States
17 Dec 12
Cherry brownies did you say? Love brownies and all their chocolate goodness..Yummy! I use to love tater tot hot dish and a vegetarian dish sounds great. I would omit the cheese, but otherwise it sounds really good. We don't eat out either, it's just to much and our budget just isn't that flexible anymore. I love coming up with unique and creative ways though that will help save some money.
• United States
17 Dec 12
It was like eating chocolate covered cherries-SO yummy! They're gone now, but I'll be making more! The original recipe called for scallions seared in olive oil and soy sauce, but I didn't have either of those in the kitchen. I'm trying to cut more red meat out of Jim's diet-he loves red meat, but the doctor wants him to eat healthier. That's a lot of the reason I'm looking for new recipes to try, but many of the ones I saved involve a lot of ingredients or a lot of time, not really a good thing.
1 person likes this
@elisa812 (3033)
• United States
16 Dec 12
That all sounds delicious! I also like to cook at home, but I probably don't do it as much as I should. Lately, we've been bringing home food from restaurants for dinner because we just had a baby and we sometimes are too tired and busy to cook now! I have heard of tater tot casserole before, but I've never tried it. I've always thought it sounded really good though, so I will have to finally try making it sometime. I see that you shared the recipe, so I think I'll write it down to try sometime! Thanks for the recipe ideas!
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Dec 12
Congratulations on your new baby! Casseroles involve cooking one time, and can last through several meals. I couldn't believe how many variations I found online; I did this one without meat (other than cream of chicken soup) because ground beef was so expensive. Jim loves it, and I've made it two ways (though he likes it with cream of chicken soup better). It'll last the better part of the week too. You should ask your families and friends to provide casseroles so that you don't have to cook for a while. Maybe once your baby gets a bit older, you can try out your own variation!
1 person likes this
@shaggin (36845)
• United States
18 Dec 12
I looked up a recipe for a vegetarian tater tot casserole since I dont eat meat and I found one that looks really yummy. I love cream of celery soup but I dont know why they put celery in this recipe. I am going to make this in the next two days I think my daughter and I will love it. Heres the link to the recipe I am going to use minus the celery. http://www.food.com/recipe/No-Meat-Tater-Tot-Casserole-Vegetarian-27569
• United States
18 Dec 12
That's the one I used! I used cream of mushroom the first time, which Jim really enjoyed. I made it with the cream of chicken soup last time because that's all I had in the pantry. Let me know how it goes!
@shaggin (36845)
• United States
22 Dec 12
I dont like mushrooms at all I know I wouldnt be able to eat it if it had chicken or mushrooms in it so this one calling for cream of celery soup is awesome. If it called for one of the others I would have used cream of celery soup anyway I love it. My son and daughter both hated it lol but I liked it. Wasent really exactly like I expected but it was good. So now I have a bunch to eat for leftovers. Probably will have to stir it then rebake it to warm it up in the oven. If I warm it in the microwave the tater tots will get even mushier.
1 person likes this
@mariaperalta (19096)
• Mexico
16 Dec 12
I once had a tater tot dish in the usa.. was so good. Can I get your recipe for yours? I love to cook new things here. Hope you are having a great weekend there.
• United States
16 Dec 12
No problem! I mixed it up a bit, and made it two different ways. 1- 10 1/2 oz can of condensed cream of mushroom (or chicken) 1- teaspoon of garlic salt 1- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 3 Tablespoons of milk or half and half 1- 32 oz bag of tater tots (I used a bag and a half of Ore Ida tater tots) 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1/2 cup shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese Combine soup, garlic salt, pepper and half and half in a bowl, and mix well. Add tater tots and toss well so that they are coated with soup mixture. Spray 13x9 Pyrex dish with non-stick spray (I use olive oil). Pour mixture into dish. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes until cheese is melted and just barely starting to turn brown. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving. I was going to add ground beef, but it was too expensive this week; hopefully it will be on sale when I go to the store next time. That's usually how it's made; this was an improvised method with ingredients on hand. I hope you like it!
1 person likes this
• Mexico
17 Dec 12
OMG.... you are the best. thank you so much. i will make it this week here. You made my day seeing this, was so darn nice of you. Take care and again thank you so much......
• United States
16 Dec 12
Scorpiobabes, I've not had tater tot casserole in a very long time. I'll have to one one of these days. Sounds like it would be pretty easy to make. And the Cherry Brownies...yuummmmyyyyyy!!
• United States
16 Dec 12
I was surprised at just how easy it was! It smelled so good baking too-seriously yummy! The cherry brownies were SO easy too: 1-premade brownie mix 1/4 cup of vegetable oil 2 eggs 1-21oz. can of cherry pie filling. 2 Tbsp of hot water 1. Keep 1 cup of pie filling in a separate bowl and set aside. 2. Combine eggs, oil, brownie mix and the rest of the pie filling, mixing well. 3. Pour mixture in 9x13 pan that is sprayed with Pam and spread evenly. 4. Add hot water to pie filling and mix well. Pour over brownie mix. 5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. There's one left-we LOVED them here!
@natliegleb (5186)
• India
16 Dec 12
wow it must be so yummy and delicious to taste all the way and i like the pleasant odour and smell of it and the ingredients are simply mindblowing
• United States
16 Dec 12
Thank you. I tweaked the ingredients a bit, based off of what we had in our pantry, and when I made it with cream of mushroom, it smelled FANTASTIC! I like the combination of cheeses-while it's baking, it smells SO yummy!
• United States
16 Dec 12
I am going to have to cook less and less now that there are less people to cook for now.