Every once in a while I find a recipe that becomes a favorite. A few months ago I saw a recipe for something called Tater Tot Casserole and I was intrigued. Homemade chili topped with 'cheddar' and tater tots and baked. It sounded good so I tried it. As with any recipe that I try, the first time I make it according to the exact recipe and directions just to see what it is like, from there I tweak it a little each time I make it.
I have made the casserole several times and it has become my go to cold weather comfort food. I make it in my large 4 quart glass casserole dish and it feeds both of us dinner for two nights and both lunches for at least one day, sometimes two days. I made this for dinner tonight and took pictures so that I could share.
(Tater Tot Casserole)
I can't remember where I found the recipe online. I find some that don't have print options and I need to cut and paste them into a word document to print so I don't end up with pages of unnecessary ads and such. I feel bad though, as I am doing that very thing now, I don't know how to add in a print option just for a recipe.
The following is a vegan recipe, which can be made carnivorous fairly easy.
TATER TOT CASSEROLE
1 Can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 Can Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes (Mexican style with juice)
1 Cup Frozen Corn Kernels
2 Fresh Jalapenos (diced - less if you want milder chili)
1 Green Pepper (diced)
1 Cup Chopped Celery
4-5 Brown Mushrooms (chopped)
1/4 Cup Cilantro (coarsely chopped)
1 Onion (diced)
2 Cloves Garlic (sliced) (I use 5 cloves)
1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (you can use soy sauce)
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Hot Sauce
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 pinches Paprika
2 Cups Daiya Vegan Shredded Cheddar Cheese
32 oz Bag of frozen Tater Tots (I use a generic brand)
8 oz Vegan Ground Beef Substitute (I used Yves Taco Stuffers)
* use cooked ground beef and dairy cheese for non-vegans
DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 375˚.
In large frying pan saute onion, green pepper, jalapenos, celery, and mushrooms until soft. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, and corn. Mix together and add Braggs (or soy sauce) cumin, oregano, chili powder, hot sauce and paprika. Mix again. I also sprinkle in some red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and if using, add vegan ground beef substitute (or cooked ground beef).
I find that the sauce is a little runny and I like my chili thicker so I mix up a little cornstarch and cold water and thicken this mixture a bit. As the veggies cook in the oven it tends to thin a bit. When the chili is to desired thickness add chopped cilantro. Stir and pour into greased casserole dish. It should resemble the following:
Sprinkle with Daiya. If using real cheese, cheddar or pepper jack would work well. If using vegan shredded cheese Daiya is by far the best tasting and it melts.
(topped with Daiya shredded cheddar)
Gently pat down the cheese to make a flat surface and place the tater tots on top for equal coverage. Yes, I always place them in this pattern. I'm crazy that way.
(with tater tots - placed just right)
Place in a 375˚ oven for 30-40 minutes. Time will vary depending on oven calibration and how crispy you want your tater tots.
(30 minutes in the oven)
Let rest for a few minutes until it stops bubbling. Scoop onto plates or bowls and enjoy.
(On salad plates for portion control)
I have calculated the calorie content for the casserole I made tonight using the Yves Taco Stuffers and Daiya cheese. Total calories were 3325; divided into 6 servings is 554 calories per serving; divided into 8 servings is 416 calories per serving. Fat content varies depending on cheese, tater tot, and meat options.
- Au Revoir
For variation you can change up the spices and if carbohydrates are of no concern it would be tasty with cornbread or french bread for dipping.
I hope you venture to try the recipe and enjoy it. Let me know if you do.
"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." - Luciano Pavarotti