Several of you asked for the recipe.
First of all, let me remind you that you can always google a recipe you've tasted or heard about. For several variations of Tater Tot Casserole, click HERE and HERE and HERE. You get the idea.
My original recipe was this:
AUNT DAR'S TATER-TOT CASSEROLE
2 pounds ground beef, salted.
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can condensed milk (not sweetened, obviously, but I've had people ask)
1/2 cup shredded cheese sprinkled on top
Cook hamburger and onion until meat is browned. Put a layer of frozen tater tots in a 9X13" pan and spread meat over them. Mix milk and soup and pour over all. Top with cheese. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.
Combining several recipes I found on the Internet, this is more like what I make now:
MY OWN TATER TOT CASSEROLE
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup onion (a little garlic never hurts anything, either)
2 cans cream of chicken, mushroom, or celery soup
1 can condensed milk
1 pkg tater tots, frozen
2 cans green beans or four cups mixed, frozen vegetables, cooked
1 cup cheese, or as much as you like... I use at least 1 cup. Sprinkle on before, after, or halfway through the baking.
Layer everything the same as in the above recipe, except I put the tots on top, then the cheese last.
I added the veggies to this dish so I wouldn't feel quite so guilty at serving such an unhealthy meal; and I noticed that when I'd simply serve the veggies as a side dish, most kids (and many adults) ignored them. I just layer them over the ground beef, then pour on the soup mix; nobody has complained yet.
My daughter and I, upon much deliberation, decided this stuff looks much prettier if the tater tots are on top, and that's the way I usually make it these days. The taste really isn't any different that I can tell; I've actually made two pans at one meal in the past, putting the tots on top in one and on the bottom in the other.
So there you have it. Read several recipes and decide what version you choose to make. This is definitely a kid-friendly dish.