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Fajita Tater Tot Casserole

January 17, 2014


Mark it in your calendars – Josh gets an “I told you so”.  Ever since I met him in 2008, he has been going on and on about something called tater tot casserole.  The idea of something that is just ground beef, condensed cheese soup, and potatoes sends shivers up my spine.  Tater tots are definitely something I can get behind, though.  Fun fact:  I once received a bulk-sized package of frozen tater tots for Christmas.  They may or may not have included a note that said “Napoleon, give me some of your tots”.

Fajita Tater Tot Casserole

I probably should stop there.  But I’m going to keep going.  That was the year I was taking high school Chemistry.  We were paired up with a random classmate to make VSEPR models and for some reason, I suggested to Paul (who I had never even conversed with before) that we make them out of these tater tots.  He went along with it, but frozen tater tots do not really hold up well to being held together by toothpicks in a pentagonal bipyramidal configuration.  We had to coat them in varnish so they wouldn’t fall apart by class the next day, and it pretty much put me off on tater tots for years.  Needless to say, how weird I am didn’t win me any friends.  But we were told we had the most unique display and got full points for creativity ;-) Oh. And we may have written “Tina, come get some ham” in ketchup on the foil we presented on, ha.

Fajita Tater Tot Casserole

My long history with tots aside, this is GOOD.  Pretty? No.  So just close your eyes and eat it.  It’s a Mexican take on Josh’s old favorite.  It was the best way I could think of to up the veggie factor while getting rid of the weird, canned cheese soup.  We topped ours with sour cream, but it wouldn’t have needed it if I hadn’t made it a touch too spicy for Josh.

Fajita Tater Tot Casserole
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Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

 

Ingredients
  • 1 lb frozen tater tots (do not thaw!)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper
  • ½ onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Optional: 1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce/liquid aminos and 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 15 oz can or cooked black beans
  • 3 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ recipe enchilada sauce or 8 oz canned enchilada sauce
  • 1½ c reduced fat Mexican cheese (vegans, use cheddar Daiya or other cheese swap)
  • black olives, sliced

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare a 9 x 13″ casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Roughly chop the peppers and onion. Saute over medium heat with the garlic until soft. Stir in the soy sauce and liquid smoke, if using. Add the black beans, taco seasoning, and salt and pepper.
  3. Pour a thin layer of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish and spread out.
  4. In a bowl, mix the frozen tater tots, veggie/bean mixture, and 1 c of the cheese. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and press down lightly. Top with remaining enchilada sauce.
  5. Bake, uncovered for 40 minutes.
  6. Top with remaining cheese and olives. Return to oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is melty and exposed tots are crispy.
  7. Serve as is or topped with green onions, sour cream, or ranch.

Notes
I added the optional soy sauce and liquid smoke to give it a little more of a “beefy” taste.
If preparing gluten free: ensure all ingredients are gluten free, paying particular attention to your choice in soy sauce, taco seasoning, and tater tots.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅛ recipe Calories: 320 Fat: 12 Carbohydrates: 41 Sugar: 12 Fiber: 8 Protein: 14

 

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11 Comments
    Earleen Dillman Apr 07, 2014

    *You should take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the web. I will recommend this site!

    Reply
    Web`s Best: Recipes with Tater Tots | Cool Material Mar 04, 2014

    […] If you’re looking for a main dish that showcases tater tots, this Fajita Tater Tot Casserole is perfect. They’re not a topping or a side, they’re the main attraction. Can we make this happen, Taco Bell?(Recipe) […]

    Reply
    Abbie @ Needs Salt Jan 19, 2014

    This dish looks so delicious and festive! I must try this sometime.
    Pinning!

    Reply
    cleaneatingveggiegirl Jan 17, 2014

    You seriously have no idea just how excited I am about this recipe! I LOVE tater tot casserole and my veggie version is one of my favorite things to make (and apparently everyone elses too since it it one of my most popular posts). I cannot wait to try this!

    Reply
      Kelly Jan 17, 2014

      Hannah, I’m glad Josh talked me into it! It’s seriously taken me 6 years to try tater tot casserole. I’ve been missing out.

      Reply
    Gretchen @ Two Healthy Kitchens Jan 17, 2014

    Mmmmm … I do love me some tater tots! There is just something so comforting about them! Maybe it’s because those little gems of goodness were a staple on the lunch tray in elementary school – a time when everything was just plain easy. No responsibility, no worries – just who would get the best swing on the playground. Ahhh … to be a kid again!
    I for sure want to eat this. Now. Not later. And with your enchilada sauce?? YUMMO!!!

    Reply
    marcie@flavorthemoments Jan 17, 2014

    I grew up on tator tot casserole! I loved those things growing up and haven’t had them since. Your version is more grown up with fajita-style veggies — nice touch!

    Reply
    Joanne Jan 17, 2014

    Well I definitely do love tater tots. And while I never thought I would make a whole casserole out of them, you definitely make a persuasive case with this one!

    Reply

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