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Tater Tot Casserole, by Beverly Hicks Burch

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Tater Tot Casserole

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Do you remember the very first time you tasted a little culinary gem called a tater tot? If you are under 59 year old, it would be a fair statement to say you’ve probably tasted this little ubiquitous gem at least once in your lifetime.

For you see, after the inception in 1953 they began showing up everywhere. On school lunch plates, cafeterias, Sonic drive-ins and yes, they even began to show up around the world under different names. In Australia they’re called potato gems, potato royal or potato pom-poms. In the UK they’ve been called oven crunchies and in Canada they’ve been called Tasti Taters and Spud Puppies. Even in our own USA they can go by different names like the potato puff name in the Northeast.

Whatever you call them…they’re not your Grandma’s French Fries! They are a 100% pure American invention. The founders of Ore-Ida Corp. needed to use every bit of their product…the potato, and they found themselves with leftover slivers of potato after cutting their potatoes for the other products. They decided to make a hash brown like product that was formed and as my niece Abbi says, “Ta-da”! The tater tot was born.

I’m not sure at what age my tater tot epiphany happened. I do know that over the years it evolved. For one, my dipping sauce of choice is barbeque sauce and two I always bake mine, never fry them

But, my favorite evolution for the tater tot was a recipe I found several years ago. Sophisticated and new enough to elevate the tater tot to adult level, but yummy enough to keep the kids coming back for more. I cooked up a batch for Tall & Handsome…his first tater tot casserole experience, and his response was, “You can make this for me again.” Of course, I made a few adaptations to the recipe. My favorite is adding just a taste of my favorite “food group”…bacon! Winking smile

Tater Tot Casserole

2 tablespoons butter

1 10 ounce can cream of chicken soup (can use “healthy” cream of chicken)

1 cup lite sour cream

1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 32 ounce package frozen Tater Tots

¼ cup finely chopped onion

3 strips cooked bacon, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with a cooking spray.

2. Cook bacon. (I cook mine in the microwave.) Drain and blot grease from bacon. Chop bacon and set aside.

3. Combine butter, cream of chicken soup, sour cream and cheese in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir constantly until cheese is melted and all ingredients are blended well. Remove from heat.

4. Stir in onion and bacon.

5. Arrange the frozen Tater Tots in the 13 x 9 pan. Pour cooked cheese/soup mixture over Tater Tots.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Enjoy!!

Tater Tot Casserole

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Comments: 2

  1. Joan Ricks February 2, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Hi Beverly, I’ve tried two of your recipes so far. The healthy noodles and the salad. I work with Reggie at Sykes so he brags about your recipes and foods so that I had to check it out. They are amazing the ones I’ve tried and even made again for guests. I’m going to try the tator tot casserole for Super Bowl 50 since I’m having the party at my place. Any tips on what else I can serve, please let me know before Sunday! 🙂

    • BamaSteelMagnolia February 3, 2016 at 2:59 am

      Hi Joan. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’m always happy to hear from my readers. I’m also glad you’ve found some recipes you enjoy! Reggie is very supportive and isn’t bashful when it comes to sharing info about my food blog. I don’t know if he’s shared, but he’s a good cook himself and we have a great time cooking together. He’s really handy with the grill – I call him my grillmaster because he’ll brave all kinds of weather to grill year round.

      As far as ideas for Super Bowl 50, I’ve got a few: (1) Reggie recommends my homemade Nuts and Bolts (Chex Mix) it’s really easy to make, is so much better than the store bought, doesn’t have the preservatives etc. in it and is just downright better. I make it for holidays and get-togethers and it flies out of the bowl. I streamlined the ingredients by using Crispix instead of so many different Chex cereal. http://www.bamasteelmagnoliasbistro.com/2009/12/23/nuts-and-bolts-by-beverly-hicks-burch/

      (2) A stand-by favorite is always the cheese dip, but when I married my New Mexican cowboy I discovered a new and updated version of the tried and true cheese dip. New Mexican Style Queso is another dish I’ve taken to pot luck get-togethers with great results. I’ve actually seen people ladle it over food other than corn chips. Reggie introduced me to this recipe after I met him. I don’t know how I ever ate cheese dip before. I always try to find the 2% Velveeta and the recipe adds a can of chopped tamales including the chili sauce! http://www.bamasteelmagnoliasbistro.com/2012/10/16/new-mexican-style-queso-dip-by-beverly-hicks-burch/

      (3) Meaty Ranch Beans have been a much requested dish when I do sign up sheets. If there’s even a drop of sauce left in the pan, there’s a race to see who can “sop” it up with their bread. I’ve always been amazed at how such an easy and simple recipe gets such great results. http://www.bamasteelmagnoliasbistro.com/2013/03/13/meaty-ranch-beans-by-beverly-hicks-burch/

      (4) If you’re looking for something for people with a sweet tooth and you want to razzle dazzle them – well, this will do it. It is like Turkish Delight for Reggie. He cannot eat just ONE. I was astounded when I discovered the ingredients – and it’s so easy! Tasty Toffee will have everyone thinking you’re a master candy maker. http://www.bamasteelmagnoliasbistro.com/2012/12/04/tasty-toffee-by-beverly-hicks-burch/

      I hope these ideas help. If you need some more, let me know and I’ll get together with my consultant a little more 😉 He always enjoys food discussions.

      Thanks again for stopping by,
      Bev

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