Food has a way of evoking memories—the smell, the taste, the people who cooked it and ate it with you. Tater tot casserole is one of those recipes for me.
It reminds me of my mother-in-law. She was a dear woman and didn’t fit any of the bad mother-in-law stereo types. She used to make tater tot casserole. So when we were first married, my husband wanted me to make it too.
I remember making it one time when we were visiting my in-laws. My mother-in-law was amazed at how evenly I lined up the tater tots. She was more of the throw-them-on-there type.
See what I mean? Food has a way of evoking memories. I miss her, but I still make tater tot casserole and think of her.
Of course, at one point I had to modify the recipe to be gluten free, which is easily done with homemade creamed soup. I’ve also made other changes over the years.
The recipe I used to use included white rice with the ground beef. I decided there were enough carbs with the potatoes on top and removed the rice. Instead, I added flavorful ingredients such as bell pepper and garlic.