Southwest Tater Tot Casserole

Got married this weekend.

Made our wedding party the Chocolate Zucchini Bread in mini loaf pans from the previous post.

Huge hit.

Love him.swtatertotcasserole

Tots!!   It’s just one of those nights, no energy, but you don’t want your husband to cook, aka the ‘Drive-Thru’. It’ been a busy week and you want something hearty but don’t have a lot of spare time to get to fancy.  Do you also have 20 cans of Cream of _________ you need to get rid of, and you’re actually afraid at this point they will go bad because they’ve been in there for….years? I do.  Ooops. If Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom, Chicken, or Tomato for under 50 cents, I can’t not buy at least….5 🙂 It’s just something that happens, and I just now have the place to store the excess, where as before I didn’t.

There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, sort of. They’re all quick adds though, so don’t let the long list steer you away from making this. You can also cut out as much as you want, really the key ingredients are Cream of Chicken, Beef, TaterTots, and Cheese. From there you can add, remove, or substitute as you wish and it will still turn out great! Another thing I would recommend is spreading this out over a shallow dish. If you have the tater tots on a single layer instead of stacked it will be more visually appealing as well as less mushy.

*If you’re making this at home, it’s a great dish to include your kids with, you can’t mess up a casserole, and it’s fun for them to add ingredients, pour, and mix.

REHEAT~~ This will easily feed 4 people if not more, so if you’re like us and don’t finish even half of it, freeze it!! It warms up great if you take the time to put it in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Southwest Tater Tot Casserole

1lb of beef

1/2 onion, diced

1/4 cup or smallest can of tomato sauce you can find

1 can of cream of chicken

1/4 cup milk

1/2 can black beans

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 can of corn (use the rest of the cans of corn and beans for quesadillas or burritos the next day!)

3 cups of frozen tater tots

2 handfuls of your choice of yellow cheese

1 bag of mozzarella (or another white cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. With a tablespoon of oil in a pan, add your onions, let cook for about 3-4 minutes until they begin to become translucent. Once translucent remove onions and set aside.

3. In the same pan, brown the beef, drain and return to pan. Add the tomato sauce, the onions, corn, and black beans; heat now to low.

4. In a bowl add your milk and Cream of Chicken, whisk together. Then add your chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper. Whisk again until completely combined.

5. In a shallow dish, (I used an 8×10 casserole dish, or any shallow casserole dish), spread the hamburger mixture evenly. Then add your yellow cheese, just enough to cover the hamburger. (this will give you a nice but slightly cheesy middle).

6. Then over the hamburger pour over the soup mixture, then top with half of the mozzarella.

7. Finally add your layer of tater tots. I did just enough to cover the surface but not enough to double layer. Then sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tots.

8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the  mixture is bubbly. If you need to brown the cheese on top just a bit more and you’re bubbling, set your oven to broil for about a minute.

9. Top with parsleyswtatertotcasserole2

Zucchini Bread: Chocolate, Chocolate Chip


Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Chobani, Zucchini Bread: That was an exhausting title. Thanks to our good friend Jason, we’ve been getting zucchini the size of pumpkins delivered to our house a couple times a week. We all know Brad prefers things out of a plastic package instead of something that comes from the ground… so I had to figure out how to incorporate these zucchini monsters into our weekly rotation, because if it’s healthy and not covered in sugar or cheese he’s probably not going to eat it.

I really do love him, I swear. But I might a little more if he would eat vegetables and fruit….is adding whole wheat (anything) to the list too much??

Mini Food-Processor. Pulverize. Boom. This is how you make bread dangit.

I am no stranger to zucchini, pumpkin, or banana bread. Obviously zucchini and pumpkin are seasonal, so when zucchini’s start appearing on my counter, bread starts pumping out of the kitchen. What’s the difference between the three? Zucchini bread is dangerous. Ya, dangerous.

Shout-out to Mom and Dad for the Mini Food-Processor gift this last birthday, no more bloody knuckle bread!  I used to grate them by hand with just a basic cheap hand grater. Well, I get going to fast, or slip, or stop paying enough attention and hit  knuckle, not a very sanitary situation. Don’t worry, a simple hand grater works just fine, just takes longer. You want another bonus feature of food-processor? Ok, sure…. you can absolutely pulverize the zucchini, it doesn’t look as pretty this way, but the person eating your bread (Brad…cough) will never know that there is something healthy in there. It really evens out the texture to regular bread if you’re weird about funky textures.

Brad told me this was his favorite bread I’ve made to date, so you should probably take this into serious consideration. It also didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings this made our entire house smell like a chocolate muffin factory the entire day. Who needs Yankee Candle?!

My absolute favorite thing about this bread, is the little bursts of chocolate. Every time you hit one of those little partially melted chocolate chips, and you get a little bit of extra chocolatey goo with that bite 🙂


2 cups flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sift if necessary)**

**make this 1/4 if you want less chocolate intensity

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 container of plain Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)

2 cups zucchini, drained

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bread pan with Pam, then coat with a tbsp of flour.

2. Peel zucchini, and cut into chunks and place into food processor. You can also grate it by hand if you want, but this way gets the texture more even across the board. Once you have all your zucchini pulverized or grated, take a handful of the zucchini and squeeze out all the excess water.

3. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk well, set aside.

4. In a second bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. I just used my whisked and went at it. Switch to a spatula here, and add yogurt to combine.

5. Pour your wet ingredients into your dry slowly, whisking the entire time, just until combined. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.

** If you want your chocolate chips to not melt into the bread and remain whole, I recommend freezing them for 30-60 minutes before adding them to the mix.

6. Bake for 50 minutes, or until you’re toothpick comes out clean. Place pan on wire rack to cool.

Adapted from Barbara Bakes