Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook, aka the Casserole Queens, can do wondrous things with the most basic ingredients—and usually, one of those items is cheese. Witness their Tater Tot Casserole, which uses just six ingredients (plus salt and pepper). It's a delicious combination of ground beef, mushrooms and tots, laced with shreds of sharp cheddar cheese.

Serves 6


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1 (2-pound) package frozen Tater Tots


Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat, combine the ground beef, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook, breaking up any lumps with the back of a spoon, until the beef is browned through, about 8 minutes. Drain off the grease and place the beef in the prepared casserole dish.

Wipe out the sauté pan and return it to the heat. Melt the butter, then add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms release their juices and start to brown, about 6 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Spread the mushrooms over the beef, and then spread cream of mushroom soup on top of the mushrooms. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole and top with the Tater Tots.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover the dish and bake for 15 minutes more, or until golden brown on top.

From The Casserole Queens Make-a-Meal Cookbook: Mix and Match 100 Casseroles, Salads, Sides, and Desserts (Clarkson Potter) by Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock.

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