Cheesy Cauliflower Baked Tater Tots

I remember the time when this blog was where I spent most of my days…cooking…taking pictures…chatting with others…and then…oh well life just kicked in:)  Nowadays I am quite busy with work, kids, after school homeworks, extracurricular activities on other days…oh and how can I forget shopping and cleaning days on the weekends.  Sound familiar?  Not that I am complaining I love my life and my beautiful family, I just feel bad that I can barely find time to write and blog lately.

Sometimes I do question myself is this blogging really worth all the time and effort I am putting into this? I mean I know some of my family and few close friends are reading this and I’ve seen some great dishes made from my recipes…but on some days I feel that I might be just writing to myself…is anyone actually reading this?:)

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I guess I’ll start my today’s recipe with dear “Diary”:)  It’s been few days since I’ve been staying at home, since my older daughter has been running a fever, high fever.. she is exhausted, tired and so sick…my poor “baby munchkin” as I call her.  Well today is Tuesday and she is still sick…so we finally we took a short trip to our new doctor, who reassured us that everything is okay with her and that she just need to stay home for another few days.

After coming home from the doctor and taking a short trip to our favorite stop and shop…ofcourse to get some viatmin C (lemons) and some other goodies that can be eaten with tea (with lemon:), we also decided to try making something different with Sasha…since we were stuck home for the rest of the day anyway.  In the store I remembered that a while ago I stumbled upon a recipe of Cheesy Cauliflower Tater Tots, which looked pretty good and healthy.  After a short discussion with my sick munchkin and my refusal to make another cake:) we decided to give it a try!

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I didn’t remember the original list of ingredient and quite honestly did not have any intention sticking or even trying to find an original recipe…so this one is purely our own…but which turned out absolutely yummy!   I know it did because even Sergey was hesitant to try something that had cauliflower in it…and no potatoes…but then after eating about 3 of these, had asked for five more:))) so I guess it was both kids and man approved…well at least in our family! (P.S.  please ignore all of my run on sentences, spelling mistakes…it’s pretty late when I am writing this:)

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Ingredients

3/4 of Medium Cauliflower Head
1/2 Red Bell Pepper 
1/2 Green Bell Pepper 
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper 
1/2 Purple Onion 
3 Medium Size Eggs or 2 Extra Large Eggs
1/3 Cup of Shredded Cheese Mix
2/3 Cups of Parmesan Cheese
2/3 Cups of Breadcrumbs
Garlic and Herbs to Taste

 

How to make Cheesy Cauliflower Tater Tots

1.  Open up your Cauliflower head and cut the stems out, leaving only flower buds.

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2.  There are few ways to cook cauliflower, the healthiest method would be to salute it.  We however decided to take the easy way out and just boiled it for 10 minutes.  However if you do want to go the better route of cooking it and making it more tasty you can do the other method listed below.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large saute pan or a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place the saute/roasting pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting.

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3.  While cauliflower is cooking you can chop your onions and your peppers.  We bought the pack where everything was already cut up in order to save us some time, but if you want to do it yourself…your food processor can help or a sharp knife if you good with it:).   The keys is to chop everything very very small.

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4.  Saute your onions first, then add the rest of the peppers and salute for a little longer about 10-15 minutes altogether.  I have seen other recipes where these vegetables are just added raw, but I personally do prefer onions and peppers slightly cooked for this recipe.

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5.  Once your veggies are ready, place them in a big bowl.  Then you can start adding your spices and cheese to it.  I didn’t have any fresh garlic at home, so I used freezes dried garlic…which is my second best alternative…but if you have fresh one…it’s better of course.  I added about 2 cloves, but you can add more according to your taste.

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6.  Then I added some  herbs, again no fresh greens were in my fridge at that point and we forgot to buy them when we went shopping so I used freeze dried cilantro.  You may add some parsley, chives and any other greens to your liking.  Again, if you have fresh ones it’s better.

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7.  Now it’s time for cheese.  Add 2/3 of a cup of shredded cheese mix or more…this will all depend how much cheese you want in your Tater Tots:)

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8.  Then add more cheese:) it’s cheesy Tater Tots after all:)  I added additional 2/3 of a cup of Parmesan Cheese.

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9.  Add  2/3 cups of bread crumbs, mine were already with spices…you can also leave extra breadcrumbs if you want your Tater Tots coated with crumbs when they bake.

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10.  It will start smelling really good at this point:)  but we are still missing our start of the show – Cauliflower.  Hopefully by now your cauliflower is ready (try not to overcook it…it still should be quite crunchy)!  Let it cool…

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11.  Now it’s time to get your sharp knife or a food processor and chop it up quite well.  Make sure you don’t have big pieces because it’ll be hard to form them.  Also, make sure you don’t puree your cauliflower if you decide to do it in a food processor…maybe only few pulses will do…and small batches at a time.  I decided not to risk overprotecting it and just chopped it all with a knife.  As you can see on the photo below…I still have few large pieces…try to make them as small as you can.

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12.  Once your cauliflower is ready add it to the bowl with other veggies and cheese and mix it all well.  In order for our mixture to stick together…let’s add some eggs.  I started with 2 eggs, but since my eggs were quite small I added 3 to my mixture.   If you see that your mixture is not sicking well together..then add another egg.  Mix everything well…add salt and pepper to taste.

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13.  Preheat your oven to 400F and start forming your Tater Tots on a non stick pan.  In the photo below you will see that I’ve tried using parchment paper (to prevent sticking)…this was a big mistake…because the mixture produced some liquid in the cooking process and the crust on my first batch was soft and not crunchy.  Don’t make this mistake…and use non-stick surface and oil it well.  I just used some cooking spray…but any oil will do.  Just spoon a table spoon of mixture into your hands and form an oval shape forms…you can also make them round or flat as a pancake:) use your imagination:)

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14.  Cook your Tater Tots in the oven for 25-45 minutes approximately turning them over half way through cooking.  Make sure they are not sticking to the pan, add some more oil if necessary.   I am eyeballing the cooking time because I made a mistake of using the parchment paper and my cooking time was slightly extended.  I would say just wait until each side has a nice golden crust and just try it:).  It supposed to be soft and juicy…make sure you don’t over cook it though…otherwise it will get too dry.

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15.  There are many sides you can serve these with…we really liked them with some sour cream…however they will also go well with ketchup or any other veggie dips.

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I hope you will enjoy this recipe:) I know it’s these were all gone from our fridge the same day we made them:)

Love,

Natalie

Cheesy Cauliflower Baked Tater Tots
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Cheesy Cauliflower Baked Tater Tots with onions and peppers.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Serves: 20-30 pieces
Ingredients
  • ¾ of Medium Cauliflower Head
  • ½ Red Bell Pepper
  • ½ Green Bell Pepper
  • ½ Yellow Bell Pepper
  • ½ Purple Onion
  • 3 Medium Size Eggs or 2 Extra Large Eggs
  • ⅓ Cup of Shredded Cheese Mix
  • ⅔ Cups of Parmesan Cheese
  • ⅔ Cups of Breadcrumbs
  • Garlic, Salt/Pepper and Herbs to Taste
Instructions
  1. Open up your Cauliflower head and cut the stems out, leaving only flower buds.
  2. Boil Cauliflower for 15 minutes or saute. To salute place the cauliflower florets in a large saute pan or a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place the saute/roasting pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting.
  3. While cauliflower is cooking you can chop your onions and your peppers, chop them very small or use your food processor to help you out.
  4. Saute your onions first, then add the rest of the peppers and salute for a little longer about 10-15 minutes altogether. I have seen other recipes where these vegetables are just added raw, but I personally do prefer onions and peppers slightly cooked for this recipe.
  5. Once your veggies are ready, place them in a big bowl. Then you can start adding your spices and cheese to it.
  6. Then add ⅔ cups of bread crumbs, mine were already with spices…you can also leave extra breadcrumbs if you want your Tater Tots coated with crumbs when they bake.
  7. Once your cauliflower is ready, cool it and then chop it really small. Make sure you don’t have big pieces because it’ll be hard to work with the mixture. Also, make sure you don’t puree your cauliflower if you decide to do it in a food processor…maybe only few pulses will do…and small batches at a time.
  8. Once your cauliflower is ready add it to the bowl with other veggies and cheese and mix it all well. In order for our mixture to stick together…let’s add some eggs. I started with 2 eggs, but since my eggs were quite small I added 3 to my mixture. If you see that your mixture is not sicking well together..then add another egg. Mix everything well…add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Preheat your oven to 400F and start forming your Tater Tots on a non stick pan. Do not use parchment paper, instead use non-stick pan and oil it well. Just spoon a table spoon of mixture into your hands and form an oval shape forms…you can also make them round or flat as a pancake:) use your imagination:)
  10. Cook your Tater Tots in the oven for 25-45 minutes approximately turning them over half way through cooking. Make sure they are not sticking to the pan, add some more oil if necessary. I am eyeballing the cooking time because I made a mistake of using the parchment paper and my cooking time was slightly extended. I would say just wait until each side has a nice golden crust and just try it:). It supposed to be soft and juicy…make sure you don’t over cook it though…otherwise it will get too dry.
  11. There are many sides you can serve these with…we really liked them with some sour cream…however they will also go well with ketchup or any other veggie dips.
  12. Enjoy!

 

 

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