Cowboy Casserole {quick & easy meals}

I recently took a mini vacation to Iowa to help out one of my very best friends. In between cuddling a tiny newborn and chatting it up with my bestie. I took the opportunity to stock their fridge/freezer. I was nice to help them out, I really hope I was successful in my attempts to make life easier. I mean even tired you can throw a smoothie pack some ice & yogurt into a blender.  {pictured below, are a mix of spinach, strawberries, blueberries, banana, and even a couple with pineapple. you can definitely adapt these times savers to your taste buds! Just fill a plastic bag & pop in the freezer for a later date}

And even when you’re exhausted you can put a casserole in the oven so hubby (& you) doesn’t starve.
I tried out a new recipe that was first introduced to me by a friend here in Arizona. Her sister in law makes something for their freezer a couple times a month (or so) and it was so yummy when she brought it over {plus the boys, hers and mine, loved it!} This one is truly a comfort food. It is a yummy mix of hamburger, cheese, and tater tots with a taste similar to Shepard’s pie. I found the recipe for it all over the Internet but used the one from Spark People in my first test.  Or course I had to modify it a little being that it was going in the freezer I didn’t feel it needed the layer of tots on the bottom. And below the directions you’ll find my thoughts on how I plan to change it up in the future! No matter how you decide to make it I’m sure it will be delish! {eh, I hope! Sarah… have you tried it yet?}

Cowboy Casserole
Source: the good ol fashioned Internet, JSUELLIS at Spark People
Serves: approximately 6 people
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-45 minutes

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I prefer 85/15 or 90/10 personally)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can (15oz) whole kernel corn drained
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (I went for low sodium, always trying to be healthier)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp sour cream (I used Greek yogurt)
1 bag (30oz) frozen tater tots

Note: If you’re making this to eat right away then let the tots sit on the counter to thaw while you prep everything. If it’s going in the freezer for later then keep ’em frozen until you need them.

1. Grease a 9×13 baking dish (use a foil pan for a freezer meal it’s so convenient)
2. In a large skillet cook the onion until tender and translucent. add in chopped garlic and cook for another minute. add in ground beef and cook over medium heat until no longer pink. drain the mixture and place in to a large bowl. Set aside
3. In a small bowl combine the soup, milk and yogurt (or sour cream). Whisk until smooth.
4. Add in hamburger mixture and stir to combine.

5. Add in corn and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Gently mix.

6. Pour hamburger mixture into baking dish and use spatula (or spoon) to smooth the top. Layer the top with tots. Sprinkle with remaining cheese (or just save for after it is baked)

7. From here it is up to you… Cover with foil, label and put it in the freezer for another day or bake in the oven at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Until the tots are golden brown and crispy.
What I would change: I made a few notes such as lower fat options, i.e. the meat, cheese, soup & swapping sour cream for Greek yogurt. But the next time I make this I will be giving ground turkey a try instead. Even though it’s summertime I can see myself prepping up a few freezer meals that I can pull out for days that we’re just too tired to cook! Because we’ve spent the whole day at the pool of course! Guess I’ll get my pinterest self busy finding a few more freezer recipes just for this purpose!! 
That’s all for today. I’ll be back soon with some of the happenings around here. There is much to share as the Mr. was out of town for the past week for work. We kept ourselves busy even with Cash refusing sleep. Hopefully these teeth come through soon, mommy is tired.
Happy Wednesday friends!

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