Wednesdays are one of the few days that we actually eat dinner at a normal time. We are late eaters. We like to have dinner together so we are sitting down to dinner any time from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm. But, Wednesdays are generally a bit earlier as no one has anything after 6:00 pm. It is a huge treat for us all to be home at once for an evening.
Generally on Wednesdays I make a casserole because I can prepare all or most of it the day before or the day I am serving it and I can spend more time with my family rather than cooking.
I had ground turkey to use and we love Sloppy Joes but I don’t make them very often. I decided to make this casserole with Sloppy Joes in the bottom rather than the usual savory meat and gravy I would make it with.
This was yummy! The kids loved the cheesy topping on the Tater Tots. There was enough leftover for 2 lunch servings which were quickly claimed.
You can make the meat mixture the day before and refrigerate until you are ready to use. Or make it on a weekend and freeze it until you want to use it. Thaw in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. ground turkey or beef
- 1 large pepper, red, green or orange, diced
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 bag Tater Tots (I prefer the smaller crowns)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 13 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- In a large skillet over medium heat cook ground turkey, onion, and pepper in olive oil. Break turkey into small pieces as it cooks with the side of the spoon.
- Once turkey is cooked through and peppers have softened, remove pan from heat and drain any grease from the pan. My turkey was very lean so I skipped this step. If you are using beef or have quite a bit of fat in your pan you will want to drain it off.
- Add ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, ground mustard and water to the skillet and stir well. Return pan to medium heat and cook until water cooks off and sauce has thickened.
- Pour meat into the casserole dish.
- Pour the Tater Tot Crowns over the top of the meat. Spread to evenly cover top of casserole.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until Tater Tots are becoming crispy on top. Remove pan from oven and turn oven onto broil.
- Sprinkle top of casserole with cheese. Return pan to oven for 1-2 minutes until cheese melts and begins to brown. Watch the dish carefully as it can burn very quickly!
- Remove dish from oven and allow to rest for 3 minutes.
- Serve hot.