A Mother of a Tater-Tot Recipe

Let’s face it, kids love Tater Tots, but who needs all that  disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate? Am I right? Well, now for the mom who has way too much time on her hands, there’s a recipe out there for homemade ones. The photo on Pinterest looks like this:

Oven Baked Tater Tots

8 Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced 1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten

2 cups crushed potato chips Preheat oven to 400 ̊F.

Boil potatoes in a large pot until barely fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to pot.

Gradually add the milk and mash the potatoes with a potato masher until mashed, but still lumpy. You might not need to use up all the milk. It is important to keep the potatoes lumpy and a little dry so it is not so messy to roll into balls.

Separate the eggs, flour and potato chips in three bowls; set aside.

Form the potato mixture into 1-­‐inch balls and place on wax or parchment paper. Roll each ball first into the bowl of flour, then the egg and finishing with the chips. Once coated, form the balls into the tots formation. Place on baking sheet.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.

Source: Pennies Original 

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So, I set out to make some. I didn’t have any russet potatoes handy, so I went with the red ones I had.

I boiled them for 20 minutes…

added just a little bit of milk…

and rolled them into balls, that admittedly were a little larger than the average Tater Tot. The mashed potatoes were extremely sticky to work with. I tried refrigerating them for a while, and that helped, but only a little. I didn’t use 8 potatoes, I only used 6, and they were small. But look how many potato balls it yielded!

Next I got the three bowls and prepared the flour, egg, and mashed potato chips, which I had crushed into small crumbs as well as I could using a meat tenderizer. But here’s the thing: if I’m using potato chips, doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of homemade? I mean, is it really any healthier than the real thing? Sure, the tots aren’t fried, but weren’t the chips?

This was bar-none the messiest recipe I have ever encountered, and that includes the time I made blackberry jam using a salad spinner and an old moonshine still. Plus, those chips left a lot of greasy residue at the bottom of the bowl.

So messy that I couldn’t do more that two tots before having to wash because of the decreased dexterity.

Because I was uncomfortable with the potato chip factor, I rolled half the batch in panko crumbs instead. Then they went into the oven for 15 minutes.

These were some of the potato chip ones.

I don’t know if it was because my tots were so big, but after 15 minutes they were still kind of mushy, so I turned up the heat to 450, which is what the store-bought tots bake at, and I flattened the balls so that they were more like Crispy Crowns. Then I baked them for another 10 minutes or so. We like them on the crispy side, so I was looking for more of a golden brown color.

Potato Chip

Panko

They were okay, but a lot (let me stress that again – A LOT, maybe 1.5 to 2 hours including cooking time) of messy work. The panko ones were kind of bland, even after I added some salt. Not something I would do again, but it was worth a try.

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