I went to Alma College (Go Scots!), a small liberal arts college smack dab in the middle of Michigan. With just over 1,000 students, it is a residential campus with just one main cafeteria. One of the popular dishes was the tater tot casserole. The chefs would repurpose the left over tots from breakfast and layer them with sausage and cheese and serve it for dinner. During my Junior year the catering company changed hands the old company didn’t leave the recipe for their famous tater tot casserole.
There was a bulletin board near the dish washing room where students could leave comments and the staff would respond with an answer or explanation. After the change in catering company the tater tot casserole disappeared from the menu, it was so disappointing! To try to bring the famous dish back, my friend Andy Kibbe would fill out a comment card almost every day asking the new company about the tater tot casserole signing them with fake names and including odd requests like how he would like to have the staff wear roller skates etc.. He would remove the comment cards after the staff would post their response and add them to a collage in his dorm room. Ah, college memories!
I recently ran across this recipe for tater tot casserole in Cooking Light and it made me think of Andy and his funny comment cards so I wanted to give it a try. It didn’t live up to the famous dish from Saga but it was pretty darn good. It calls for low fat sour cream but I used yogurt, we enjoyed it for a special weekend breakfast with scrambled eggs and fruit. Here is the recipe…
- 6 bacon slices
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (32-ounce) package frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- ½ cup fat-free sour cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed 30% reduced-sodium, 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- Cooking spray
- Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, and crumble. Discard drippings in pan. Add 1 cup onion and garlic to pan; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the potatoes; cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Combine crumbled bacon, ¼ cup cheese, green onions, sour cream, salt, pepper, and soup in a large bowl. Add potato mixture; toss gently to combine. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining ¾ cup cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Remove casserole from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Bake casserole, covered, at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until bubbly around edges and cheese begins to brown.