Hash brown casserole recipe

Homemade tater tot casserole made from scratch. Serves two!

I know. You’ve been waiting your whole life for your favorite casserole to be scaled down to serve two. Me too. I had to wait until a really strong craving for tater tot casserole hit before I tackled it. I mean, sure, tater tot casserole always sounds good. But, I needed one of those ‘gotta have it now!’ cravings to hit before I could conquer the recipe. Only then could I eat spoonful after spoonful of the same dish with only a slight variation between batches.

I get a lot of requests for your favorite homestyle casseroles scaled down. I’m currently working on broccoli rice casserole. I’m having trouble deciding, though—with or without chicken? Please, weigh in!

As you know, I’m an overachiever. So, I made cream of mushroom soup from scratch for this recipe. The recipe makes a heaping cup of homemade condensed soup. However, the store-bought can is only 10 ounces, so you could easily substitute. And I won’t judge you one bit. Sometimes, dirtying up one more pan in the kitchen brings me to the brink. If you’re not having one of those days, I say make it from scratch! I use extra-rich Kerrygold butter and a pinch of thyme, so I think my from-scratch recipe is pretty special. Special, as in better-than-the-can, but really, this is a judgement-free zone. Use what you like!

Small batch tater tot casserole

One thing I really love about this recipe is that it doesn’t use the whole bag of tater tots. So, my late night cravings for hot tater tots with ice cold ketchup swirled with mustard can still be satisfied. Tell me I’m not the only one who swirls mustard into ketchup. What about gobs of black pepper into ketchup? Anyone? Is this thing on?

Small recipe tater tot casserole

Back on track: casseroles are warm and cozy and delicious and you love them. I love them, too. But really, we all just love tater tots. *drops mic*

Yield: 2

Dinner for Two: Tater Tot Casserole!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound organic ground beef
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 5 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • frozen tater tots, to cover the entire surface of your casserole dish
  • 1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350, and spray a mini casserole dish (mine holds 2 cups of water to the brim) with cooking spray.
  2. In a skillet, brown the beef over medium-high heat. Break up the beef with a spoon as you go.
  3. Scrape the beef out of the pan and onto a paper-towel lined plate. Don't worry about leaving too many drippings in the pan-we're reusing it.
  4. Return the pan to the heat and add the butter, mushrooms, onion and thyme. Saute until the onions begin to soften, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the salt and pepper.
  5. Next, sprinkle the flour on top and stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the milk and cream, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often.
  7. Turn off the heat to the thickened sauce, and stir in the salt and pepper.
  8. Place the ground beef on the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with a layer of tater tots. Spread the cream sauce on top, followed by the cheese.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and the tater tots are cooked through.