chili-corn tot bake… with bonus breakfast!

092713chilicornNeither of us has outgrown our love for tater tots… which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is the foundation of a strong and happy marriage!

I’ve made a tater tot casserole before using ground beef and cream-of- something soup, which was great, but this is it’s hotter, sexier cousin.  The chili underneath really adds another layer (no pun intended) of complexity and flavor.

Why be boring when you can be sassy?

As a bonus, you can use the other half of the tater tots as an easy and delicious breakfast the next day.  Double duty deliciousness!

The recipe required normal tater tots, but I somehow ended up with a bag of tater “preemies” – they were about a third of the size and coin-shaped.  Honestly, I think I prefer these!  They cook more evenly… and is there anything worse than biting into a half-frozen tater tot?  Ugh.  No.

Also, I doubled the amount of chili powder and onion called for and simmered it for about half an hour rather than just 10 minutes.  If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can begin the chili in a regular pot and then (carefully) transfer to an oven-safe casserole dish before topping with the tots and cheese to finish up in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cups cooked red kidney beans (I drained and rinsed 2 cans of beans and then used 2 cups)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (I used 4)
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion (I used 2)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) corn kernels
  • 1 pound tater tots (about half of a 30 ounce package)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F.

  1. In a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the ground turkey. Drain if necessary and return to the pot.
  2. Stir in the beans,
  3. diced tomatoes,
  4. tomato sauce, corn, chili powder and onion. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, covered, for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to make friends.  Everything is cooked at this point, so feel free to taste-test and adjust your seasonings as needed.
  5. Arrange the tater tots on top of the chili in the pot, then sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.  Cover the pot and transfer the pot to the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the tater tots are cooked through and the cheese has melted.  Allow to cool slightly before serving (Dutch ovens really hold onto their heat, so the dish will be boiling hot for a while after being taken out of the oven).

Bonus Breakfast “Hash Browns”

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