The chili cooks while the tater tots partially bake .... but if you really wanted to, you could use canned chili instead and save yourself that step - although, I highly recommend making the chili yourself. It just tastes better in my humble opinion. I did not put beans in this ... but if you want to, feel free to add a can of drained and rinsed beans.
We like to have this with fruit and a salad for an easy meal. Here's the recipe:
Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole
Yield: 8 servings
1 bag (32 oz.) tater tots
1½ lb. lean ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
A few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
8 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz. can of water (use the empty tomato sauce can)
2 cups (8 oz.) Cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream (optional)
Green onions, sliced (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Arrange the tater tots in the bottom of a 9x13-in. baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook and crumble the beef with the salt, pepper and onion until the beef is no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Return the mixture to the skillet. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, tomato sauce and water to the skillet. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches your desired consistency. (I like ours the consistency of Sloppy Joe's, but make yours how you like it).
Top the baked tater tots with the chili. Sprinkle with the cheese. Return to the oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through. To serve, top individual portions with sour cream and green onions, if desired.
Loaded Tater Tot Casserole