Tag Archives: ellsworth

Ellsworth Tater Tot Casserole

13 Jan


From the kitchen of Karen Ellsworth

Tonight, we made this for dinner. And it was fantastic, as usual.

To think, I dated Nathan Ellsworth for nearly three years before I finally tried this tasty dish. So many wasted dinner opportunities.

I grew up a little food spoiled, I think. Frozen foods definitely weren’t my thing and my parents never expected me to eat anything I didn’t like as long as I tried it first. So when Nathan would periodically suggested tater tot casserole for dinner, I would sort of brush him off the same way I do when my mom wants to cook frozen pizza again (I hate Red Baron! I will never convert. Ughhhhhhh.)

Anyway, a little over a year ago, when Nathan’s parents were down visiting us from Iowa, Nathan’s mom, Karen, offered to make us something we would enjoy for dinner. Needless to say, tater tot casserole was nominated and I am so glad that it was!

I think it’s the special way that Karen bakes the tater tots before they actually go on the casserole that makes it so delicious. Or maybe it’s the copious amount of cheese. Either way, I knew a good thing when I tasted it.

Below is the recipe as Nathan and I make it now. Tater tot casserole is a beautiful, evolving thing, and  this may be slightly different from the one that Karen originally wrote down for me. Regardless, it is homage to the classic, and definitely  hits the spot.

Now, when Nathan suggests tater tot casserole night, I am as excited as he is! We even scarf down the re-heated leftovers. 🙂

Ellsworth Tater Tot Casserole


1 lb. ground beef

1 small onion (chopped)

1 (10 ½ ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon pepper

garlic powder to taste

18 ounces tater tots (1/2 of a bag)

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Pre-cook tater tots for 5-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and onion. Cook until the ground beef has browned.
  4. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.
  5. Lightly grease a casserole dish. Add soup, milk, pepper and garlic powder. Add the ground beef mixture and mix well.
  6. Top with tater tots.
Cover and place into the oven.
  8. Bake covered for 40 minutes.
  9. After 40 minutes uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes (or until bubbly and the cheese browned.)

Mmmm, mmmm, MMMMMM!

Does anyone else have any family favorite recipes that they would like to share? I love collecting old family and community cookbooks and trying the things inside them. Don’t be shy folks, share the vittles!