Healthy “Tater Tot” Casserole

Healthy “Tater Tot” Casserole

Day 2 of 30 Day Recipe Challenge

Let me clear one thing up right away.  This casserole resembles tater tot casserole, Healthy Tater-Tot Casseroleexcept more awesome and with no tater tots.  A few of you may have enjoyed tater tot casserole as children.  I know I did (minus the mushrooms) and that is what this creation reminded me of, but healthy.

We ate tater tot casserole often when I was a kid.  l  Probably because it was easy and my mom knew we would eat it.

I know most moms just want dinner to be easy and enjoyable and figuring out how to do it and make the kids happy can be a challenge.  This recipe is the solution to that problem!  It takes a bit of prep work (nothing that requires a culinary guru), but can be prepared in advance, frozen and then reheated the day you plan to have it.

A great tip for busy moms is to block out one each week as a food prep day.  It can be any day.  The best one is one that you actually have time and will do it.  It also doesn’t have to take all day, but knowing that there is a specific day of the week you do your prep work can help you plan.  I work from home, so for me that day is not on Saturday or Sunday because my family is home and that is family time . . . So I choose a weekday.

Today I’m sharing a simple healthy remake of Tater Tot Casserole.  Ok, this is NOTHING like the tater tots, cream of mushroom soup and ground beef you grew up with.  This is actually a whole grain (not a single potato shred in it) and packed with veggies.  Good news is that it is super close in taste and texture – which means it is simple and that is something that appeals to kids.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 3 cups of filtered water
  • 1 lb of grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 cups of squash, peeled and cubed in 1/2 pieces
  • 1-2 cups of frozen peas
  • 2 four ounce cans of sliced mushrooms (I get my organic ones at Costco)
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions

Prepare short grain brown rice per the package directions.  If you buy in bulk, I used 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice to 3 cups filtered water.  Put both in a large pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover for 55 minutes.  Brown the ground beef.  I used the rice pot so that I didn’t make as many dishes dirty.  In your largest casserole dish, and I mean a big one, mix all the ingredients together.  Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.  You’ll know it’s done when the squash can easily be pierced with a fork.

This recipe makes such a large batch, that it is PLENTY for a family of 4 to eat twice.  So that means you could easily split this into two containers and freeze one and eat the other tonight.  I love cook once, eat twice!  Remember the smaller the casserole dish, the baking time might be reduced.  :)

Another thing I love about this dish is that short grain brown rice has lots of fiber and nutrients, so it’s healthier than processed tater tots.  It’s also lower on the glycemic index and that means stable blood sugar instead of a crazy spike and then drop.  Plus, to be honest, it’s probably less expensive!  Seriously…I get 12 pounds of it at Costco for about $13 and this recipe only calls for 1 1/2 cups and you could honestly use less.

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