I don’t know about you, but Tater Tots are probably my favorite form of potato. Those little nuggets that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside just speak to my soul.
Brandie requested cheesy tots for this last Friday night Qwerty meal, and then Cat made the best suggestion of her entire life; tater tot nacho bar.
It was divine. The tots were the perfect cheese, quac, onion, meat, sour cream, etc receptacle.
And then the leftovers for breakfast the next day was more than a girl could dream of.
Tater Tot Nachos - or - Totchos
- Tater Tots - 1 cup "scoop" for each person served
- Suggested toppings:
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Nacho Cheese
- Seasoned Ground Beef
- Sour Cream
- Purple Onion
- Green Onion
- Diced Tomatos
- Enchilada Sauce
- Bacon Pieces
- Bake tater tots per packaging directions
- Prepare toppings while tots are baking, including shredding and chopping.
- Place tots in a bowl and cover with your favorite toppings!
Bonus kitty close up:
Unlike most of the writers here at Qwerty Cafe, I really don’t have any formal training in how to make food. I did work at an organic bakery and cafe before organic was cool, but I was totally flying by the seat of my pants.
I mostly rely on instinct and knowledge cribbed from my mom and aunts over the years.
Combine that lack of training with no energy and a house full of busy people who haven’t had time to shop recently, and you get today’s recipe. The, “I Have Noooo Idea What I’m Doing” Casserole. It’s sort of a breakfast casserole, even though I had originally considered making a quiche. Or ordering pizza.
And, frankly, when I throw something together like this, I’m almost always expecting to have to resort to ordering delivery food, but then am pleasantly surprised at how things turned out. I wish I could remember this and add it into some kind of food maker confidence bank, but that’s not how my brain works.
This thing may not be pretty, but golly, it was tasty. I hope you like it too. 🙂
The "I Have Noooo Idea What I'm Doing" Casserole
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 large russet potatoes, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 4 Tablespoons squeeze-bottle garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
- ½ cup whipped cream cheese
- Start by preheating your oven to 350.
- Then cook the bacon in a large pan over medium heat until crisp.
- Remove bacon from pan and set aside.
- Cook onion, garlic, and red bell pepper in bacon drippings until soft (about five minutes).
- Add in butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and potatoes. (Toss to mix evenly).
- Whisk together your eggs, milk, cheese, remaining salt, and cream cheese.
- Transfer potato mixture to large casserole pan and stir in tomato.
- Pour egg mixture over potatoes.
- Cook for 40 minutes in oven until firm and/or lightly golden.
Somewhere from the aether, the idea of a cheeseburger soup got into my head.
Something creamy and beefy and really filling.
This soup did NOT disappoint.
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large onion
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 8 ounces pasta (macaroni, ziti, bowties)
- 1½ cups milk
- 10 ounces Velveeta
- ¼ cup potato flakes
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- Dice the bacon and saute in the bottom of a large pot until cooked but not crispy.
- Dice the onion and add to the pot to cook in the bacon fat until transparent.
- Add the ground beef and saute until cooked through.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce and the ketchup and combine.
- Remove from the pot and set aside.
- To the pot add the beef broth, the water, and the pasta.
- Cook covered on high heat until the pasta is nearly done done to your liking. This should be about 10 minutes.
- Return the ground beef mixture to the pot along with the milk and the potato flakes. Cook for a few minutes on medium heat until warm (if the milk brought down the temperature).
- Cube the Velveeta and add that to the pot with all of the seasonings and stir until the cheese is completely melted.
- Season additionally to taste. Serve warm.
I may be born and (mostly) raised in San Francisco, but the Montana years shine through now and again. This particular recipe is a nod to the late nights I spent studying with my bestie over cheese fries and coffee in a truck stop diner near Bozeman, MT. When I think of cheese fries, these are what spring to mind: thick fries drowned in flavorful, cheesy sauce. This recipe delivers exactly that, plus green onions and bacon.
If we’re honest, everyone is a little persnickety when it comes to french fry particulars. I prefer this sauce with wedges or crinkle cut, baked rather than fried – but you do you. Whatever speaks to your cheese-fry-loving heart, ya know?
If it glistens, it must be good for you, right?
Smothered Cheese Fries
Recipe type: Delicious, Appetizer
- 1 large ziplock bag
- 4 strips bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup shredded Gouda
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- Approximately 1 cup of milk or heavy cream
- Large bag of frozen French fries of your choice (crinkle cut, wedge, etc).
- Prepare fries according to preference and place in a large casserole dish.
- Combine the cheeses, cornstarch, and spices in the ziplock bag and shake until evenly mixed.
- Lightly warm about ½ cup of the milk or heavy cream in a medium pot.
- Stir in the cheese mixture and cream cheese.
- Continue to stir over medium-low heat until cheese starts to get melty.
- Add in about ¼ cup more milk and continue stirring.
- Keeping stirring until well combined - add a little more liquid if the mixture seems too thick to pour (should be very smooth, not chunky).
- Pour over fries.
- Sprinkle with green onion and bacon bits.
I threw this quick dinner together a few nights ago without realizing just how delicious it was going to turn out.
This casserole was incredibly tasty, very filling, cheap, and above all, super easy.
I highly recommend trying this any night of the week.
Mac and Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole
- 1 box Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 can chili
- Frozen tater tots, enough to cover the casserole
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to the boxes direction and mix in the can of chili.
- Spread the mac and chili cheese mixture into a large glass baking dish on top of which arrange the frozen tater tots in rows.
- Place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove and sprinkle the top evenly with cheese, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Serve warm
I spend a lot of my time in the car during the week (about 10 hours) and do some of my best thinking there. Most often I forget about my genius ideas as soon as the engine turns off, but this particular thought was so persistent there was no way I was forgetting.
Get this (and I know you already know what I’m going to say, but just go with me on this)…
Instead of noodles!
I had a few moments of doubt before I started cooking as to whether I was legitimately a genius, or if I was delusional.
But as soon as I got to the second layer, I could tell that this was to be one of my most bestest creations.
- 2 jars of your favorite red pasta sauce
- 25 oz (1 bag) of frozen ravioli with your desired filling (I did a layer of portabello mushroom and 5 cheese)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 15 oz Ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- In a medium skillet, saute the onion with the ground beef until browned and set aside.
- In a small bowl add the ricotta, egg, and seasoning and mix until smooth and fully combined. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In the bottom of a large glass baking dish, spread several tablespoons of the pasta sauce to coat.
- Evenly place one layer of ravioli on top of the sauce in rows. Mine fit just about perfectly, hopefully yours will too.
- On top of the ravioli evenly dollop one half of the ricotta mixture.
- Then sprinkle half of the ground beef onion mixture evenly over the ricotta.
- Pour the rest of the first jar of sauce over the entire tray and spread until the ravioli are completely covered/submerged.
- On top of that add the second and last layer of ravioli and repeat steps 5 through 7.
- Cover the sauce evenly with the grated mozzarella.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Cool for 10-15 minutes and serve warm.
We’d like to take just a moment to celebrate something dear to us. Something versatile, delicious, and … gooey.
Here at Qwerty Cafe…
Because it’s melty.
And a whole lot of sexy.
From Abbaye de Belloc to Zimbro, you have been there for us, Cheese.
Thanks a lot.