"Cleaner" Tater Tot Casserole

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My family's diet is "clean" for the most part, but I do have a few small weaknesses, tater tots being one of them.  When I was pregnant with Daniel, I had such a craving for tater tots, that David went to Costco and bought me a 10 lb bag.  And I ate the ENTIRE thing myself.  Not in one sitting mind you, but I ate it all the same.  Sometimes with cheese melted over them.  
So lately, I have been seeing a lot of recipes for Tater Tot Casserole.  I've never had a Tater Tot Casserole before, but it looked intriguing.  The only problem is that most of the recipes called for ingredients that go against my family's "clean" eating diet.  So I started to think about ways I could clean up the Tater Tot Casserole and serve something better to my family.  
The first thing that most of the recipes call for is cream of mushroom soup.  Now I don't have a problem with cream of mushroom soup if you can find one that doesn't have a bunch of extra, nasty ingredients in it.  Sometimes you can find a good one in the health or organic section of your supermarket (although I am weary of things labeled "organic" as I find a lot of them are complete hype).  Sometimes Trader Joe's has an acceptable cream of mushroom, or you can easily make it yourself.  I have found, however, that jarred Alfredo sauce makes a GREAT substitute for cream of mushroom soup.  Now, you also have to be careful with jarred Alfredo sauce, but I find that the Newman's Own brand is fairly clean and has a great flavor.  
Next, most of the recipes call for ground beef.  I used ground turkey, not because ground turkey is necessarily better, but because I DO NOT LIKE ground beef.  At all.  I was a vegetarian for years before I met my husband and if not for my meat loving family, I would probably still be a part time vegetarian.  I find the flavor of ground turkey to be not as strong ground beef.  If you like ground beef, by all means, use ground beef!
The last ingredient that could be questionable are the tater tots themselves.  You can actually find some "clean" tater tots in the health section of your grocery store.  Look for tater tots that have minimal ingredients, potatoes, salt, maybe some vegetable oil.  

This recipe was a TOTAL HIT in my house!  My 5 year old Daniel especially loved it!

So...here's my version of "Cleaner" Tater Tot Casserole!

"Cleaner" Tater Tot Casserole

  • 3 cups tater tots
  • 1 lb ground turkey (or beef if you prefer that)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup peas
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups alfredo sauce or cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 tbsp. mustard
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used jack and cheddar)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large skillet, saute the onions, garlic, and zucchini in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the turkey and saute until no longer pink.  Add the peas, alfredo or soup, mustard, ketchup, and worcestershire sauce.  Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.  Transfer meat mixture to a 13 X 9 baking dish.  Sprinkle cheese on top of the meat mixture.  Spread the tater tots evenly over the cheese.  Bake for 25 minutes or until the tater tots are golden brown and cooked through. Enjoy because it's comfy and delicious!

Until next time, happy and healthy eating!


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