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Cascadian Farm Spud Puppies

Our editors transform the humble tater tot to utter greatness for game day, weeknight dinners and more! See what they made.

Chipotle-Cheese Dip with Tater Tot Crust
Chipotle-Cheese Dip with Tater Tot Crust

Although my freezer is constantly packed to the hilt, I make room for shortcut sides like Cascadian Farm Spud Puppies. Proving these little nuggets are true workhorses, I tried ’em out in my own take on this cheesy jalapeño bacon dip, found on the blog Life’s Ambrosia. I started out by frying up some bacon until it was nice and crispy. Once the bacon was done, I chopped it up and stirred it together with some softened cream cheese, a spoonful of mayo and a handful of both cheddar and cojita cheeses. And since I’ve been obsessed with mixing cream cheese and chipotles (thanks to this recipe), I finished the dip mixture off with a couple generous tablespoons of diced chipotle chiles in adobo, before dumping it into a deep-dish pie plate. Next comes the weird part: Into a blender went half a bag of Spud Puppies, which I pulsed until they were granular in texture. From the blender, spread them on top of the cheese-dip—I was highly skeptical of this step. But when I pulled it out of the oven 20 minutes later, the potato-crust was browned and crunchy (not soggy, like I had feared), making it the perfect texture foil for the spicy, creamy dip. —Meghan McAndrews, senior editor

Bacon Wrapped Tots
Bacon-Wrapped Tots with Seasoned Sour Cream

Each February my husband and I go to our friends Michele and Mike’s house for the biggest football game of the year. It’s a motley crew, and everyone brings a dish and drinks to share, while our hosts take care of the main course (last year they mail-ordered barbecue from Salt Lick in Austin, Texas!). So I wanted to try something that had solid potential to be my contribution to this year’s party. I par-baked both the bacon (I’m in the crispy-bacon camp) and tots separately at 400 degrees; then I cut the bacon strips in half so there was a nice tot-to-bacon ratio before wrapping the bacon around each tot and securing with a toothpick. They went back in the oven for another 10 or so minutes, and I gave them a quick flip to ensure even crisping. I made the seasoned sour cream following this recipe I found that sounded really similar to the version I dunk waffle fries in at the local sports bar. These disappeared so quickly in the test kitchen that I’ll most definitely be making a double batch for game day! —Erin Madsen, executive editor

Barbecue Pork Totchos
Barbecue Pork Totchos

Back in my broke college days, while everyone else was spending their extra dollars on late-night drive-thru menus, I saved up mine to make biweekly visits to a local chain restaurant, Space Aliens, for “the largest barbecue baked potatoes known to humanoids.” The whole thing was cheesy—literally and figuratively—but it’s just the sort of dish that begs to be recreated now that my kitchen has more than a microwave and hot plate. Swapping out the giant baked potatoes for tots, I started by baking them according to package directions. Next, I scattered the tots across a large platter, covered them with ready-made barbecue pulled pork (if I had more time, I would have made it from scratch using this recipe), sprinkled everything with a generous handful of shredded cheddar, then finished with a giant dollop of sour cream, crumbled bacon and thinly sliced green onions. There’s nothing exact about the recipe, but the results are out of this world! —Kayla Knudson, managing editor

Tater Tot Casserole
Tater Tot Casserole

Is there anything more Midwestern than a basic tater tot casserole? I think not. Combine cheese, meat and potatoes together and you have a stick-to-your-ribs dish perfect for any chilly day. This hearty casserole not only feeds a crowd, but it’s incredibly simple to make if you’re short on time or just want something quick and easy. While some people like to add veggies to their casserole—think Green Giant corn or green beans—others keep it simple. I decided to be a purist on this one and stick to the basics: ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, plenty of cheddar and a package of Cascadian Farm Spud Puppies. The result? A deliciously cheesy casserole—aka ideal wintertime comfort food. —Claire Davidson, associate editor

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