Friday, February 22, 2013

Brudder Ben's tater tot casserole

Well, the whole snowstorm thing yesterday was a bit anti-climactic. We were told a week ago to expect up to 20 inches (from one of the local news stations) and it turned out to be only about 6 in most places. I'm ok with that, minus the fact that I had a really good plan of scrapbooking and coffee this morning instead of showering and commuting. The picture of my day in my head was a lot more fun than it ended up being, but such is life.
It seems as though some people can find something to crab about in any situation though. The weathermen are getting pummeled with comments on Facebook and Twitter, and are actually talking smack to other weathermen whose predictions were worse. If you live in Iowa and don't follow KCCI's social media, you're missing out on comedy gold, I'm telling you. I for one, would rather be warned of 20 inches and get 6, than plan on 6 and get smacked with 20...but that's just me. I'm fairly certain the same people complaining about the lack of snow that actually accumulated are the same people who would be griping about it if we had gotten it. I read a quote yesterday that seemed to fit perfectly:
"We can choose to complain that the rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice that the thorn bushes have roses."
If that doesn't put things in perspective for you, I don't know what will. It's Winter in Iowa, people...enjoy life a little :) OK, I'm done with my own complaining now...back to business! This here, is Brudder Ben!

Brudder Ben came back from overseas and lived with Main Man and I for a few months before finding a place of his own to reside. Things got rocky a few times, but not many siblings think they're ever going to be roommates again after moving out of the rents growing pains were expected. We also got along swimmingly sometimes, so it all evened out in the end...

One thing that greased the skids, was when Benny Boo (I'm sure he's super pumped about me sharing all my endearing names for him on the internet) would cook for us. The kid sure can throw down in the kitchen. Let's be clear here...he doesn't keep that girlish figure by cooking light. Be warned that this is a comfort food cheat meal from the depths of the clouds of heaven...where calories don't count. I've never really been a fan of tater tot casserole before this, so Brudder took it upon himself to make a believer out of me. And he did...

When I asked Brudder Ben to send me his recipe, this is what I got:

"Can of cream of mushroom, chicken, and cheese. 2lbs of beef. 1lbs of kraft cheddar made with cream cheese. 2 cups of sour cream. Bag of mixed vegetables and a bag of Sweet corn."

Don't worry, I speak Brudder talk and shall translate for you. I watched him create so I would be able to pass this gem on to you...

2 lbs lean ground beef (I added the lean part)
1 lb bag of Kraft Cheddar cheese (has to be the stuff made from cream cheese, I'm told)
2 cups of sour cream (if it were me, I would use Greek yogurt)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 bag frozen mixed veggies (Birdseye Steamfresh brand is what he used)
1 bag frozen sweet corn (Birdseye Steamfresh brand is what he used)
Cookies flavor enhancer seasoning
Cracked black pepper
Garlic powder
1 family sized bag of tater tots

Brown the ground beef (if you wanted to lighten it up, you could use ground chicken or ground turkey) in a large skillet. Season generously with Cookies flavor enhancer, black pepper, and garlic powder. Add all other ingredients, besides the tater tots, to the skillet and stir together until mixed thoroughly. Heat until warm throughout.

Pour into a greased 9x13 pan (we use disposables for convenience, as you can see below). Start to layer the tater tots on top of the casserole. Season the top with more Cookies, pepper, and garlic powder if desired. You should really desire that. Yum!

Bake at 425 degrees for 40-45 minutes (until tots are crunchtastic). Let it sit to cool for about 5 minutes and dig the heck into that masterpiece.

Try not to go back for second or thirds...and make sure you get to the gym the next day! This would've been perfect for a snow day meal after scrapbooking all day....

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