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Sloppy joes don’t always have the best reputation. For many of us, sloppy joes take us back to middle school, when hair-netted cafeteria workers would scoop out a greasy spoonful and dump it on a sad little hamburger bun on our plastic trays.
But Karly at Buns in My Oven proves that sloppy joes can be elevated into a satisfying, flavorful meal that will please kids and adults alike.
Plus, she adds tater tots and turns the whole thing into a casserole, which is just genius.
With her sloppy joe tater tot casserole recipe, you can have a family-friendly entree that requires just 15 minutes of prep time.
To start you brown ground beef alongside onions and peppers, then you add extra flavor with the help of sloppy joe sauce.
You can use a canned option, like Hunt’s sloppy joe sauce, or you can sub in a sloppy joe seasoning packet, such as McCormick sloppy joe seasoning mix, combined with a can of tomato paste and water or tomato sauce.
Karly adds in corn, plus shredded cheddar cheese and cream cheese to make it extra creamy.
After you pour the sloppy joe mix into a casserole dish, you top it with tater tots and more cheese, then pop it into the oven to bake. You’ll want to read the full recipe at Buns in My Oven to get all of this yum started.
A quick note on the tots: You can be flexible here. For example, if you use Ore-Ida tater tots, you could choose crispy, extra crispy or mini. You can even opt for veggie tater tots, like Green Giant’s broccoli and cheese tots or cauliflower tots.
And you don’t have to pre-thaw the tots: Simply toss the frozen tots into the casserole dish and let your oven do all the work!
It is also possible to prep everything this ahead of time, then stick the dish in the freezer to bake in the future. You may want to go ahead and make two pans: One for dinner tonight, and one to freeze for another busy weeknight!
Once you do get it out of the oven, top your finished sloppy joe tater tot casserole with chives, and serve alongside a green salad for a perfectly balanced dinner that takes little prep work.