This Cowboy Casserole Is Topped With Crispy Tater Tots and Cheese

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With a creamy beef filling and a cheesy tater tot topping, this is sure to make a regular appearance in your weeknight rotation. After all, any recipe that starts with crisping bacon then cooking onions the bacon fat is bound to be delicious! Thanks to easy prep and the convenience of frozen tater tots, this can be on the table in less than an hour. Bonus: Because there's corn and spinach in the filling, there's no need for any additional sides. Now, saddle up for this cowboy-approved !

What is cowboy casserole made of?

The filling is made with ground beef, chopped onion, garlic, spinach, and corn. It gets its creaminess from a can of cream of mushroom soup and milk. Once the filling is done, you add it to a casserole dish, top with cheddar cheese, a layer of tater tots, and parmesan on top. Then it bakes in the oven until the tots are crisp and golden brown. The final step? A sprinkle of crispy bacon and chives on top!

What can I use instead of cream of mushroom soup?

Just about any creamy condensed soup will work in this casserole. Use what's already in your pantry! 

Should a casserole be covered when baking? 

It depends on the recipe. For this cowboy casserole, you'll want to forgo the foil. The time required in the oven is relatively short when compared to other hearty casseroles because of the precooked filling. Tater tots help lock in the moisture of the meat mixture, but you'll want to leave them exposed so that they can get nice and crunchy on top. 

Can I make this recipe ahead of time? 

You could make the entire filling a day ahead, let it cool, then refrigerate. When ready to bake, heat the filling on the stovetop over medium heat until warm, then top with tater tots and cheese and bake as directed.