Making Dinner Out of Nothing

What is it?
Dinnertime with Momma Vicky.

Sometimes your pantry,refrigerator and freezer can run low on supplies. This has been happening in my household often lately (for various reasons) and being the master of throwing together stuff and making it into a meal is a gift that I have.

I found myself with a quart container of ground beef, half a bag of frozen tater tots and some cheddar cheese. Not much else and I needed to make it into dinner for 4. Hmmm.

My son makes this wonderful casserole that he calls "ManSlop", I don't know the ingredients except that it is ground beef on the bottom and mashed potatoes on top so, thinking of this casserole I came up with this dinner.

Here is how I did it.
Remember, I was low on everything, so I did my best.

1 quart container with lean ground beef (I imagine it was a little over 1 lb. of beef)
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 lb. tater tots
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I had plain breadcrumbs only)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried minced onion (again- no fresh!)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup water

Step 1- In a mixing bowl I combined the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs,paprika,chili powder,garlic powder,onion,salt, pepper and water. Mixed in together and then I used a baking dish and formed it into a large patty that covered the bottom of the pan.

Step 2- I baked this in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes. I drained off any fat from the pan.

Step 3- I took the tater tots and lined them on top of the meat. I returned this to the oven for 30 minutes.

Step 4- I spread the shredded cheese over the top of the tater tots and returned to the oven for about 5 minutes.

Step 5- I served this with a side of vegetables (there was also a can of green beans left) and it was a delicious meal for 4!

This was great because I was able to make dinner with one pan to wash! Plus, although it seemed like there was "nothing" to eat, I just used my imagination and threw together a decent dinner.

When someone does get to the grocery store, there will be an awful lot of stocking up to do. Casseroles are a perfect way of making something for dinner when you think that you do not have enough food at home. You often can stretch a small amount of something to feed your family. It has worked for me on several occasions.

Take-out is expensive! Why not just get creative with what you have at home?


  1. Today I had to make dinner out of nothing. I found a can of chiken, mixed it with a half cup of mayo, chopped onion, and about a cup of grated co-jack cheese. I divided it among 3 large buns and baked it open faced for about 20 min at 350. I then butter the inside of the top of the bun and put that in the oven with the open face sandwiches and broiled until the bun was golden. I served with cantaloupe and rice pilaf. It was a great supper after all!

  2. Your casserole looks really fun, and I think it would be much better than takeout!