Friday, March 18, 2016

Foodie Fridays: Tater Tots Waffle

I just couldn't resist trying an unusual potato recipe in time for St. Patrick's Day!  This dish couldn't be easier, and it is a lot of fun to make.  I have never been fond of French fries, but Tater Tots have always been a guilty pleasure.  I try to restrain my intake, but when I learned about this recipe there was no way I was not going to give it a try!

We have a very old waffle maker which is seldom used (I don't care for waffles either), but it worked fine for my Tater Tots waffle despite the fact that there is no temperature control and you must guess when the waffle maker is hot enough.  The timing is very important for these waffles, because if you open the waffle maker up too soon the potatoes stick to both the top and bottom and become a crumbly disaster (as I learned on my pitiful first attempt).  If you have a fancier machine that lets you know when the contents are cooked, you may not need my more detailed instructions for cooking time.

Some recipes suggest adding cheese to the Tater Tots before cooking, but I was paranoid that they would stick again so I just melted some cheese on top after they were cooked.  Served with some catsup, which is my favorite way to eat Tater Tots, this waffle is great as a side dish for two, or, if you are feeling decadent, as a hearty if not especially healthy meal (be sure to add a nutritious vegetable on the side to lessen the guilt!).  This is not exactly "Bon Appétit!" food, so I'll just say "Happy Eating!"

Tater Tots Waffle

30 Tater Tots (or whatever number tightly fills your waffle maker), thawed
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
2-3 T. shredded cheese
catsup for serving

Toss the Tater Tots with the seasonings in a large bowl.  Heat up your waffle maker.  Place the seasoned Tater Tots in a single layer on the bottom of the waffle maker, packing them in as tightly as possible.  Close the lid and press down firmly to close the machine as much as possible.  Cook for about 6 minutes.

Gently try to lift the lid.  If the potatoes do not stick, they are done; otherwise, cook for 1-2 minutes longer.  Turn off the waffle maker and lift the lid.  Carefully loosen the waffle with a spatula, and then use the spatula to lift and move the whole waffle to a plate.  If desired, sprinkle the top with shredded cheese and microwave for up to a minute to melt the cheese.  Serve with the catsup.  Serves 2 as a side dish, or one as a main dish.

Notes: The best way to decide how many Tater Tots to use is to lay frozen ones down on the bottom of the unheated waffle maker until it will hold no more.  Move the Tots to a bowl and allow to thaw.  Use any seasonings you like -- you can even add some finely diced onion.  If you are brave, toss the cheese with the Tots before cooking, and pray that if you cook them long enough nothing will stick!  Top your Tater Tots waffle with any sauce you like (salsa, hot sauce, etc.).

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