Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Diane Prather: 'Cheesy Taco Cups' great for kids

Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

— When I first started writing this column, I featured a recipe for "Tater Tot Casserole," made with a layer of ground beef, green pepper, onion and followed with cream of mushroom soup and shredded cheese. On the very top is a layer of potato puffs.

After the recipe was printed, readers wrote and called in with a variations of the potato puff recipe, including the addition of vegetables such as peas and green beans.

In my quest to try out new recipes from clippings I've saved, I came across still another potato puff casserole.

The ingredients for "Whole Meal Ground Beef Casserole" are: 1 pound ground beef, 1/2 medium onion (chopped), 1/2 cup celery (chopped), 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (unthawed), 1 can cream of asparagus soup, 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 package (1 pound) frozen potato puffs (unthawed). (Note: there are several brand names of potato puffs.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. You'11 need a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish (smaller than a 13 x 9-inch dish).

Crumble the beef into a skillet. Add onion and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until meat loses its red color.

Drain off grease. Add frozen peas, which have been separated into small pieces. Mix together the asparagus soup and milk, until smooth. Add soup, salt and pepper to the meat mixture. Mix well. Then transfer to the ungreased casserole dish. Arrange frozen potato puffs close together on top to cover the entire casserole. Bake uncovered in the oven for about one hour. Makes four to six servings.

I made the casserole according to the directions. I shook a little salt and pepper, from shakers, into the casserole mixture but didn't taste it. Since the asparagus soup has a mild taste, seasoning is needed. I didn't add enough. I think I might try adding a little shredded cheese on top, before putting on the potato puffs.

As the name implies, this dish is a complete meal since there's meat, potatoes, and a vegetable. You might serve with a green salad and bread. It's a good casserole.

I found this next intriguing recipe for "Cheesy Taco Cups" when I was checking out some materials for Ag-Day. It comes from "Power Up with Lean Beef," a pamphlet from the Colorado Beef Council. It's a recipe just for kids.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then gather up these ingredients: 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, 1 package (11.3 ounces) refrigerated dinner roll dough or (16.3 ounces) reduced fat buttermilk biscuit dough, 1 package (1.25 ounces) reduced sodium taco seasoning mix, 3/4 cup sloppy Joe sauce, and 1/3 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican four-cheese blend- For the topping, you'll need thinly shredded lettuce (about 1 1/2 cups), chopped tomato, sour cream (optional), and sliced ripe olives (optional).

Preheat oven to 350 decrees. Separate biscuits and press into 3 1/2-inch circles. Turn the muffin tin upside down and press biscuits over the muffin cups. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until browned. Remove and put on a platter.

Brown ground beef with taco seasoning mix over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Stir in sloppy Joe sauce; cook 2 to 4 minutes until hot and bubbly. Stir in the cheese. Spoon beef mixture evenly into the biscuit cups. Add desired toppings.

Send your recipes to me at Box 415, Craig 81626 or call me at 824-8809.

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