January 27, 2015

Cowboy Casserole

So here are the reasons I'm sharing this recipe:

1. It's pretty easy.
2. It tastes good.
3. It's great for feeding a group.
4. It reheats well, making it also great for cooking once for a smaller group and then having yummy leftovers for lunches or subsequent nights off from cooking.
5. It has pretty broad palette appeal.
6. You can easily customize it a bit to your tastes (add sautéed mushrooms, top with siracha or sour cream or ketchup, etc.) .

I have made it 3 or 4 times now, and it always goes over well. And I thought that such a long of a list of pluses made it worth sharing. So, thank you to thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com for sharing it. And here you go:

Cowboy Casserole (photo from thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com)

Cowboy Casserole (adapted from Taste of Home)
1 to 1.5 lb ground beef (depending on your preference, I used 1 lb)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 gloves garlic, chopped
1 can (15oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1.5 to 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (depending on how much you want to top it with)
1/2 c. milk
4 tbsp sour cream
1 bag (30oz) frozen crispy crowns (the flattened tater tots; you could use regular tots too...or even sweet potato tots!), slightly thawed

A quick side note: I use as many organic ingredients as I can when I cook, and this recipe is no exception. I used organic grass-fed beef, organic garlic, corn, cheese, milk, sour cream and even organic cream of mushroom soup! I am a big believer in organic and use it whenever and wherever I can. But, when it comes to beef I think being grass-fed makes a HUGE difference. Not only is it better for you and for the planet and for the cow, it also tastes way better. Give it a try when you cook with beef. I know it's more expensive, but I really believe that it is worth it.

About an hour before you're ready to make the casserole, pull your crispy crowns out of the freezer and let them sit on the counter to thaw a bit...they cook better/faster and get crispier if they thaw some in advance.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and cook the onion over medium heat until tender and translucent. Add the chopped garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the beef and cook over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain any standing grease from the mixture.

In a large bowl combine the soup, milk and sour cream. Whisk until smooth. Add the ground beef mixture and stir to combine. Add corn and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Mix to combine.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Layer half of the crispy crowns on the bottom of the dish. Pour the beef mixture over the top, then layer the remaining crispy crowns on top of that. Sprinkle another 1/2 to 1 cup of shredded cheese over the top and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden and crunchy.

Note: You can make this in advance (earlier in the day or even the night before) and just refrigerate it. About an hour before your ready to put it in the oven, sit it on the counter to come to room temperature a bit, then bake as directed.

Until next time, happy cooking!

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