This simple one skillet Bolognese Tater Tot Casserole made with Prego® is a delicious family dinner that you can make perfect any time of year with pantry staples. Think of a cross between a classic bolognese pasta and that quintessential midwest style tater tot casserole. With a cast-iron skillet, this meal boasts slowly caramelized onions in white wine, the secret vegetables of a classic bolognese, and ground beef…all cooked together in one skillet, topped with plenty of cheese, tater tots, and herbs. Simply cook the skillet in the oven to create the perfect crispy tots and cheesy, one skillet dinner!
When I’m cooking up a meal for the family, I like to stick to our weekly meal-plan, and this is a great one to add to the list. But, even if it’s not planned ahead of time, it’s one of those meals I usually have all of the ingredients for –– between our pantry staples like Prego® Pasta Sauce, Italian Tomato Sauce with Roasted Garlic and a stocked freezer of meats and veggies (yes, including tater tots)!
I have to say, I’ve seen tater tot casseroles all over Pinterest. Families seem to love them, and for good reason. Who doesn’t love a crispy tot slathered with all kinds of other goodness?
So… this is my spin on it. It’s quite a bit different that the classic midwest tater tot casserole. But, you guys, it’s so good, too. And? We’ve got extra veggies in it as well!
One Skillet Bolognese Tater Tot Casserole: The Details
Of course, you need to start with a great skillet. I’ve talked on about my cast iron skillet before and love it in black, but there are some other great colors, too.
You could use any oven-safe skillet, or even a Dutch oven to make this recipe happen… basically any pan that can cook on the stove and move to the oven.
But, I will say, I love knowing that my cast iron skillet will last for years.
Even if you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can STILL make this Bolognese Tater Tot Casserole! Just cook everything on the stove first, transfer to a baking dish and “make it work”! (Name THAT show.)
Tips for an amazing Bolognese
It all starts with the vegetables! Now, I used Prego® Pasta Sauce, Italian Tomato Sauce with Roasted Garlic to make it easy on me and save time – who doesn’t love some flavor-boosting while time-saving, right?!
To start off the sauce, I like to slowly caramelize onions. My favorite way to get that deep, golden caramelization? Cooking them in butter, olive oil… and white wine! If you don’t want to use alcohol in cooking or don’t have in on-hand, you can use vinegar or broth.
Most traditional bolognese sauces contain celery and carrot, and I thought it was the perfect way to add in some veggies to a family dish!
Once the onions have caramelized, push those to the side and add the meat and vegetables (either chopped celery and carrot or even frozen vegetables of choice) to the pan.
After browning the meat, add in some milk to get that creamy texture of bolognese, and a little more white wine, if desired, before adding in the tomato sauce.
Instead of crushing my own tomatoes though, I added in Prego® Italian Sauce because it’s made with vibrant-red, vine-ripened tomatoes and savory Italian seasonings, saving me time in the kitchen without sacrificing that homemade taste everyone loves.
Don’t forget the Tater Tots
The key to our Bolognese Tater Tot Casserole is of course, the tater tots.
We’ve got two tips for making this dish really stand out. First, make sure to add the layer of cheese BEFORE adding the tots.
You want the tater tots in this casserole to crisp up when in the oven, giving that beautiful texture to each bite. The later of cheese helps the tater tots from falling into the sauce and soaking up the added moisture.
Second, go ahead and keep the tots frozen (and in the freezer) until it’s time to add them to the dish.
The toppings for our Bolognese Tater Tot Casserole
When it’s time to serve, you never want to miss the toppings.
I still keep fresh basil on hand for my go-to Italian dish topper, but you could use parsley or thyme as well.
And because cheese is ALWAYS a good thing, I added a sprinkle of fresh parmesan as well. That’s it! Simple. Easy. Delicious. And needs to be on your weekly meal plan ASAP.
Looking for some other simple family meal ideas or one-skillet dinners? We’ve got a few!
- Easy Garlic Toast Pizza Recipe that Kids Love to Eat
- Delicious Cast Iron Lasagna (a Lodge Cast Iron Recipe)
- One-Pot TACO Mac and Cheese
- Family Favorite Recipe: Goat Cheese One Pot Pasta
- One Pan Salmon Skillet with Garlic Lemon Butter
If you make this one skillet bolognese tater tot casserole, be sure to leave a comment and give this recipe a rating, I’d love to hear what you think! I always love to hear from you all and do my best to respond to your comments and questions.