One of our all-time favorite family meals is Tator Tot Casserole. It's a simple, no-fuss recipe that doesn't take long to prepare and can be cooked using just one dish. Because I knew our afternoon would be a bit crazy and I wouldn't have time to bake it between Girl Scout runs, I decided to see if I could deconstruct the flavors we love so much and make it suitable for slow cooking in the crockpot. The results are out of this world. My family raved about this Southern-Style Hamburger Hashbrown Casserole and just about emptied the pot. There were only enough leftovers for three of us to have lunch the next day. That's a pretty big deal around here.
Southern-Style Hamburger Hashbrown Casserole
medium onion, chopped
bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound hamburger meat
1 can cream corn (I used the fresh creamed corn we put up in the freezer.)
2 cups cheddar cheese (at least this much, but more is always good)
1 bag (2 pounds) Southern Style Hashbrowns
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
Salt & Pepper, to taste
It's a little hard for me to give exact quantities for some things because it's really a matter of taste. I keep chopped celery and bell pepper in my freezer, so I just pull out what looks good to me for each recipe. Referred to as the Cajun holy trinity of cuisine, onion, celery, and bell pepper is typically used in equal parts.
Saute chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil.
|The cajun holy trinity of cuisine|
Add hamburger meat, salt and pepper, and cook until no longer pink. Drain
|melding the tastes together|
Spray crockpot with non-stick spray. This will make your clean up so much easier -- ask me how I know. Layer meat mixture in bottom of crockpot. Pour creamed corn over top.
|cheese and more cheese|
Combine soups and a can of milk. I used one Cream of Celery and one Cream of Chicken, but you could easily use whichever cream ofs you have on hand. You can even use two of the same cream ofs. I like the extra zip that a can of cream of celery offers. Evenly pour soup/milk combo over cheese.
|spreading the love|
Place lid on crockpot and cook on high for 6 hours or so until everything is heated through and all bubbly from the melted cheese. Stir and serve. Total yumness here.
|Excuse the picture, please. It was the second helping before I remembered to snap it.|
I served this with hot cornbread (totally gone in the picture above) and dressed-up green beans. Oh, my stars was it good. I added a little garlic powder, a lot of brown sugar, and some sliced almonds to the green beans and wowed the family. I used fresh canned beans, but you can use store bought as well. And add bacon. Next time, I'm definitely adding bacon to my green beans. I'll share that recipe another day -- because you're simply going to want to try it for yourself.
This was good stuff. And I hear in some parts of the country they call it a hotdish. But down here in the South, it's a good ole casserole and would be fit for taking to a church potluck or a funeralizing.
Let me know what your family thinks. Yummy.
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