When life gives you challenges, make a casserole. The Practical Cook, in her deeply Southern way, cannot resist a challenge. This year’s schedule made Christmas Brunch a necessity, and so the recipes must rise to the occasion. As the cook has trouble simply rising out of bed when on location at her brother’s house, the recipe must be easy and feed a crowd. Sound like what you want this week? Read on.
Tater Tot Casserole Recipe
There are a million of these recipes out there, and endless variations. Here’s what I did, and what I would recommend going forward. As my brother noted, sometimes you’re in the mood for a Tater Tot. This recipe satisfies that urge, while still being a hash brown on the bottom. It’s like the mullet of casseroles, Tot on top, party in the back.
2 bags Tater Tots, thawed (or generic Tater Tots, if the guy in the freezer section recommends a different brand that has less salt and fat in it, and is cheaper, welcome to my grocery shopping world)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small container of sour cream (I used Daisy brand for this)
2 cups chicken stock
4 ounces of extra sharp cheddar, shredded
4-6 pieces of high-quality bacon, cooked and chopped
pre-shredded cheese blend to top
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and locate a large baking dish.
2. In a medium bowl, combine soup, sour cream, and chicken stock. Whisk to blend completely.
3. Layer one bag of Tater Tots (and do make sure they’re thawed) on the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/2 of the soup mixture over them. Top with 1/2 the cheddar and all of the bacon.
4. Add the second bag of Tots. Pour remaining soup mixture, cheese, and any extra pre-shredded blend over the top. Bake for 350 for an hour, checking to see if it becomes overbrown or is cooked through.
5. Serve hot!
Notes: I think the Onion Tator Tots would be awesome here, like Waffle House without the scattering, but couldn’t find them in my last-minute shopping run. You could saute an onion and add it, or toss in some diced scallions. Parsley would also be a nice choice if you wanted some green, or diced pimentos or red peppers if you wanted some red. Dried thyme would change this to a more complex dish, and I plan on trying it with 1 teaspoon or so added to the soup mixture.
Overall, this was a huge hit, very simple, impressive looking, and tasty. It is not a health food, but I don’t consider brunch, particularly a holiday one, a calorie-cutting opportunity. Special thanks to my extended family for tasting this right out of the test kitchen. I’m very lucky to be related to you all.
Are you a fan of brunch casseroles? I plan on doing a whole segment on them soon. Post a comment below if you’ve got ideas.
Email your blog requests, casserole recipes, and exercise tips to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)
Tomorrow, 2011 in Review: Top 5 Posts.