Comfort food…that mysterious term that connects the human stomach to the human psyche…and leaves us lost still. In reality, it usually indicates a simple and inexpensive food that is often associated with our childhoods and that sensation that the world is a safe place and nothing is ever going to change. We all know better–life is continually throwing “speed bumps” up in front of us, leaving us with our teeth rattling and our nerves shattered. When that happens, we want to return to the safe simplicity of the past, and seek foods that are reminiscent of that past.
Tater puff casserole, even if we never ate it as children, still has that same comforting, homey style that we all crave when life gets too crazy. Its filling, tasty without being exotic, and just plain GOOD. It doesn’t hurt that it is relatively inexpensive to make and one of the easiest dishes to assemble. It isn’t something you expect to find on a restaurant menu, and it certainly wouldn’t qualify as gourmet, but it is also something that a busy mom would make when she had a long day of errands, work, laundry, and kids. It can also be assembled, covered tightly, stashed in the refrigerator, and slid into the oven when someone gets home from work/school/life, to be ready to eat in 30-45 minutes. It’s a great adventure for a novice cook making their first foray into preparing dinner, and I know it was the first dish my son prepared alone, from reading the recipe to assembling the casserole and getting into the oven. (He was 10, so he did have to have some supervision as well as help getting it OUT of the oven when everything was hot.)
Try it with your family–it’s sure to become one of those family favorite classic dishes that may never be served to a guest…but still is regularly requested. It also doesn’t hurt that it reheats beautifully in the microwave!
Tater puff casserole
- 2 lbs. ground turkey
2 c. bread crumbs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium bell pepper, finely chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning ®
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. cheese (optional)
1 small package tater puffs
Mix ground turkey, vegetables, seasonings, and egg well. Add bread crumbs. Pat onto 9×13” baking pan firmly. Spread cream of mushroom soup over top, sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Top with tater puffs in single layer. Bake at 350°F. for 30-45 minutes or until tater puffs are golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes. Cut into generous squares and serve. Makes 8 servings.