Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Venison-Tater Tot Skillet Casserole

It’s the season for comfort food, and Jeff Benda has shared his family’s take on a familiar dish.

“This casserole is a quick and family-friendly recipe that layers ground venison, extra veggies, and Tater Tots for a simple skillet dinner,” he said. “Prepping is easy by using a few staples everyone should have in their pantries. My 7-year-old daughter loves helping me make this dish, using the mule deer we got together while hunting in the Badlands of North Dakota.”


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 pound ground venison
1 15-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1⁄2 teaspoon each, salt and black pepper
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 16-ounce bag Tater Tots


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and diced onion and sauté for 3 minutes.

3. Add the ground venison, break into small pieces, and cook for 6 minutes.

4. Turn the heat to low and add the corn, soup, salt, black pepper, and spinach and mix thoroughly. Cook on low for 2 minutes.

5. Remove skillet
from heat and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the casserole. Add the
Tots to the casserole in a single layer, arranging them in circles,
starting on the outside and working your way toward the center.

6. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until the Tater Tots are golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve.

About the contributor:

Jeff Benda is based in North Dakota, where he’s an avid outdoorsman and family man. He spent 25 years in the restaurant industry and ran a successful catering business. He now focuses his time at home cooking.

It’s a creative outlet to transform wild game and bring it into traditional recipes from around the world to help expand people’s perceptions. His goal is to celebrate local fish and wild game and provide achievable, bright recipes designed to build confidence for new cooks and inspire everyone to elevate their cooking. Benda is a field staff writer for Harvesting Nature.

Follow him on Instagram: @wildgameandfish and online at

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