Recipe: Hamburger Casserole

Jessica, my wife, regularly returns to San Diego to see her family, leaving me behind, alone. I like it that way. I am a very introverted person, and with two small children in the house, alone time is at an all time premium. If I did not have church services and meetings while Jessica and the girls were gone, nobody would see me.

People who don’t know me too well usually ask if I’ll be okay while Jess is gone. Do I need anything? Do I need anything to eat? Do I know how to cook? I usually end up explaining that I actually cook most of the meals when Jessica is here anyway, and that I like it when she’s gone not only because of the blissful solitude but also because I get to cook and eat the food Jess doesn’t like.

This is always the first dish I make after she boards the airplane.

Understand this: for most of my growing up, we were a house of guys. My brother and I depended on my Dad’s cooking or we went hungry. My Dad does not have what one would call a refined palate. We ate simple food because that’s what we had, that’s what he knew how to cook, and that’s what he liked. Of all the foods Dad cooked regularly growing up, this one was my favorite.

As always, you get the recipe as it was given to me.


1 lb of ground beef

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

12 oz of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 onion, diced

1 bag of frozen tater tots

Brown the onion and hamburger together. Season with any salt, pepper or other seasonings you like for hamburgers. Drain. Put drained meat and onions in casserole dish. Plop cream of mushroom soup onto meat and onions. Mix it all up then spread evenly in the casserole dish. Sprinkle evenly with cheese to make a layer. Cover whole thing in layer of tater tots. Cook according to tater tot package directions. Turn on the broiler near the end so the cheese is really melted and the tots are crispy. Let cool, then eat.

Anticipated Questions


Can I add other veggies?

Yes. I usually dice up a bell pepper and some garlic along with the onion. Sometimes I’ll add mushrooms, too. I’ve been known to add bacon on more than one occasion.

Bacon is not a vegetable.


No. It is not. And that is not a question. Bacon is, however, proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

What if I don’t like cream of mushroom soup?


You can use any kind of cream of ____ soup. I believe my brother recently used cream of chicken by accident (grabbed the wrong can) and said it was delicious.

Is this healthy?


Not really. Fix some healthy sides to go with it. I recommend green beans.

Why doesn’t your wife like this? Is there something wrong with her?


My wife is a self-professed food snob. She does not like tater tots, and is very wary of any and all casseroles. So yes, something is wrong with her.

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