Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Nostalgia Kitchen - Hot to Tot !

Cooking for me isn't just food, it's nostalgia.  Many of my earlier memories are of my Mom in the kitchen making most things from scratch but still spoiling us occasionally with such goodies as Kool-Aid, Popsicles, Hostess products, Tater Tots and those little crinkle-cut oven fries which we got only on Friday night with the small steak from the home raised steer, sourdough toast, green beans and orange slices.

I was a big fan of the Tater Tot and as a kid was very disappointed to find out the lyrics to that Christmas Carol was NOT "Tater Tots with their Eyes all Aglow".

Mom had a couple of recipes that were made frequently in our house. One was called "Husband's Delight" that had a mysterious creamy/cheesy layer between two layers of noodles in Italian meat sauce. It was a great way to use up leftover meat sauce and that last couple cups of macaroni or pasta shells in the cupboard.
The second was hamburger and Walla Walla sweet onion fried up and mixed with cream of something and a dash of Worcestershire sauce and topped with tater tots.  It was a typical Lutheran Basement Church Supper dish.

I had a bag of Schwans Crispy Taters (their version of Tots, a bit more expensive, but really good with no dairy or fillers for those so inclined).

What if I combine the tastier elements of both, but instead of an Italian based sauce, make a Sloppy Joe version?

Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Bake
Sweet and savory homemade Sloppy Joe sauce with peppers and onions surrounding a garlic infused sour cream/cream cheese layer, and topped with crispy tater tots.  It's nothing like Mom made, yet it was delicious and comforting, like the best of "Mom" cooking.  It had a lot of flavor but was mild enough that  kids should like it and won't even notice the extra veggies you stuck in the sauce. If you want to up the spice a bit, just add an extra shake or two of crushed red pepper to the sauce.
 Partner in Grime had a big plate and said it was good enough I should share the recipe.
With some veggies as a side dish, it easily feeds six, wasn't hard to make and  was assembled in this case, out of a mish-mash of little bits and pieces in the fridge so it  was relatively inexpensive to make.


  1. Yum. A month or two ago, my wife and I ate out at the Diamond Knot Brewpub in Mukilteo, where I ordered their Sloppy Tot Casserole for dinner. Almost exactly like what you made, except that they use chorizo as the basis for their sloppy joe.

    It was a gut bomb...a tasty, tasty gut bomb.

  2. Oooooooo! What a yummy way to have tots!


  3. Nummy!

    You made my mouth nummy...


  4. My friend makes one in a crock pot with browned ground beef, cream of something, and green beans (assorted spices thrown in). After a good spray of PAM you line the pot with tots, dump the mixture in, and leave it for 4 hours to do its thing. It is good, but yours looks even better!

  5. i know that it will cost a little...by my appreciation, i am sure, is worth it! air mail me some of that.

    and that is all. your friend,

  6. greg - chorizo would be good. I sort of just drafted this one out on paper and then gave it a go.

    idahobob - it was yummy

    That good - today, I had a big salad for lunch, but had some leftover for dinner

    armedlaughing - I didn't get near the scale this morning, we did some serious cooking and eating this weekend.

    Robin -putting them on bubbling liquid then cooking at a higher temperature made sure they didn't get soggy.

    joecostello - thanks for stopping!

    Kymber - there seems to be a lack of casserole to air ship, I am not sure what happened (but I did give a Tupperware bowl to a coworker whose wife was visiting family and was left to his own cooking devices).

  7. Tater tots make me swoon! I can eat them with every meal, haha. I like the sloppy joe spin on this tater tot casserole...I'll definitely be trying it ;)


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