Tater Tot Casserole

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When you were a child, you probably looked forward to any meal that included tater tots. This simple little potato nugget tastes similar to french fries, but tater tots somehow seem more exciting and delicious than ordinary fries. Your kids probably love them as much as you did, but when you're trying to eat healthy, you tend to skip frozen foods in favor of something you make yourself. Once you take a lot at this recipe for tater tot casserole, you might find yourself excited about tater tot night again.

Start with one pound of boneless chicken. Chicken breasts are delicious, but chicken thighs are a little more economical. No matter what you choose, cut the chicken into bite size pieces and set inside a skillet. Cook the chicken over low heat until cooked through. If you prefer beef, cook a pound of ground beef instead.  Add one small can of cream of mushroom soup, or make gravy with the meat drippings by adding some broth, milk and flour. Add one cup of water to the mixture if you use the soup, and stir until well combined. While the mixture cooks, add one bag of frozen corn and one bag of peas, or the equivalent in your favorite frozen vegetables.

Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased or buttered baking dish. Pour one bag of tater tots over the top of the mixture and make sure they are evenly spread around in one layer. If you're feeling a little fancy, you can arrange the tater tots in a pattern on top of the casserole. Bake the mixture for 25 minutes at 425 degrees or until the tater tots are lightly browned on top. This is also a great make ahead dish. Place everything inside the dish except for the tater tots and cover with plastic wrap. Thirty minutes before dinner time, remove the dish from the freezer, top with the tots and bake as directed.

Tater tots aren't just for dinner either. Create a quick make ahead breakfast dish with tater tots, bacon, cheese and eggs. Whisk one dozen eggs with ½ cup of milk and season with salt and pepper. Cook one pound of bacon until slightly crispy, and arrange the bacon in the bottom of a casserole dish. Cover the bacon with one bag of tater tots (spread evenly) and pour the egg mixture over the top. Cover the eggs with several handfuls of cheddar cheese and bake at 325 degrees until the eggs set.

Tater tots are a great and versatile food. You can pair these little potato nuggets with a simple turkey hot dog for a quick and simple dinner, or you can create a make ahead dish for those nights when you don't have a lot of time. Some stores even carry sweet potato puffs, which will add more nutrition to your meal...and they're delicious!

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