Oh yes, yes I did. I know that I should be at least a little embarrassed about whipping up a tater tot casserole, but I have decided that trailer park chic is back in vogue in the family kitchen. Sometimes, when I’m doing my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, I like to peruse their frozen section to see if I’m missing out on any vegan goodness. The other day I discovered that their frozen tater tots are completely vegan friendly, and I decided to get some for breakfast. Then, a brilliant idea dawned on me, the idea of tater tot casserole.

I cannot say for sure when I was exposed to the idea of tater tot casserole. It’s certainly not something that we ever had growing up, so I must have seen it on an episode of Roseanne or something. Anyway, I was so unfamiliar with the concept that I had to do a bit of internet research on this one. A classic tater tot casserole consists of cream of mushroom soup, ground beef, tater tots, and sometimes cheese. What’s so weird is that I didn’t have ANY of those things on hand (except the tater tots). I did a LOT of improvising, but the end result was absolutely delicious, and very low in fat when compared to the traditional preparation. One Pot, Tater-Tot Casserole

1 TBSP earth balance

2 TBSP Flour

1 c. unflavored, unsweetened soy or grain milk

1 c. vegetable broth

6 mushrooms, quartered

1/2 an onion, minced

a full bag of frozen vegetables

half a cup of veggie grounds

1 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper

1/4 c. fresh parsley

2 TBSP cornstarch mixed in 1/4 c. water

a bag of frozen tater tots

1. Get an 8″ by 8″ casserole dish. This is very important because it’s going to keep your tot- other stuff ratio in check. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Sautee the onions for 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the veggie grounds and mix well.

3. Pour this mixture into your casserole dish and add the entire bag of frozen vegetables.

4. While your pan is still hot, melt a tablespoon of earth balance and add the flour. Stir well to prevent lumps and let it cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to stick to the pan. This, ladies and gentlemen, is called a roux.

5. Add the soy milk and vegetable broth and stir well. Toss in the parsley and garlic salt. Add a little salt and pepper, tasting as you go. Add the cornstarch slowly to thicken until your mixture looks like a thick broth (not nowhere near a gravy).

6. Pour the broth over the veggies and ground beef. Cover the top of your casserole with tater tots and bake uncovered for half an hour. If it starts to brown too much on top, cover it with tin foil.