This Cheesy Meatball Tater Tot Casserole is comfort food for the meat and potato lover. It is warm, delicious, satisfying, and so easy to prepare.
The weather turns cold pretty rapidly here in Minnesota. This week has been rainy which made it feel even colder. The days are shorter and by 5:30pm to 6:00pm, it is already dark. ‘Tis the season for casseroles and this Cheesy Meatball Tater Tot Casserole is a good place to start. Turning on the oven is a win-win situation – the food is cooked and the kitchen gets warm. Definitely the way to go.
Years ago I probably would not have appreciated this dish but having lived in this state for a decade, I now understand why the folks here love their meat, potatoes, and cheese. It is the stuff that keeps the body warm and the kitchen smelling good when you step in the front door from the cold. It truly is comfort food for the body and the soul.
The best thing about this dish is that it is easy to prepare. You can certainly make your own meatballs but I use both store bought meatballs and tater tots. The white sauce is cooked from scratch using the exact same recipe as the one found in this Green Bean Casserole. It is a sauce that works well in many dishes and I make it frequently. You can experiment and change out the dried herbs to give it a slightly different flavor. Thyme is my favorite and so I stayed with it.
- Place meatballs in a single layer in a casserole dish. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 20 minutes. While meatballs are in the oven, cook the sauce.
- Melt butter over low heat in a medium sized saucepan. Sauté onion and garlic for 2 minutes until soft. Add flour and stir constantly until mixture starts to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in dried thyme. Gradually pour in milk whisking or stirring into a smooth bubbly sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off stove.
- Remove meatballs from oven. Pour sauce over meatballs. Arrange frozen tater tots on the top. Return casserole to the oven and continue to bake for 25 minutes.
- Again remove casserole from oven and sprinkle shredded cheese on the top. Return to the oven and continue to bake for another 5 minutes.
Be sure to warn the kids that this Cheesy Meatball Tater Tot Casserole is piping hot straight out of the oven. You don’t want them to scald their mouths. Other than that, sit back, relax, enjoy your meal, and stay warm. 🙂
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎