Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The MacCheese Totserole

Time for another cooksperiment from the Nuclear Toast kitchen. I think you'll quickly see where the name comes from.

The ingredients are simple: one onion, 12oz ground "meat", frozen macaroni and cheese, and tater tots.
The raw materials

Pour out the tater tots to cover the bottom of a baking pan. (I started to smush the tots, but gave up after the first one. Too hard.)
The tot layer

While the tots are in the (preheated) oven browning, I diced the onion, carmelized it in a bit of EVOO, and tossed in the fake meat. Salt and pepper to taste.
Heatin' up the middle

Once the tots are browned, layer the meat/onion mixture over them.
The protein layer

Then add the mac-n-cheese... OH CRAP, it's still frozen! Oh well, only way to soften it up is to put it on top and back in the oven.
Brick o'maccheese

After about ten minutes or so, it was soft enough to break apart and spread around. Back in the oven, baby.
The cheesey layer

After about 15 minutes, I turned on the broiler to make the top nice and crispy.
Baked goodness

Let's eat! Hot sauce to taste.
Lookin' good

The lab notes:

  • Even though I'd had the mac-n-cheese in the fridge for a day and a half, it was still a brick. Plan ahead so it's thawed to spread more easily (and finish sooner).

  • I also had the tots in the refrigerator. They were pretty thawed but still took about the same amount of time to brown (following the package directions).

  • You can use ground beef, of course. Although the guys at work couldn't tell the difference, so using fake meat can alleviate part of the guilt of the tots-n-cheese.

  • Leftovers can be microwaved, although it comes out a bit mushy that way. Preheat the oven, microwave to take the chill off, then 15-20 minutes in the oven.

  • I set the oven to 450 for browning the tots, and just left it there for the whole thing. Also 450 for warming the leftovers.

  • This is filling but, as you might expect, awesome delicious.

The beauty of this recipe is you can put most anything you want in the middle layer. Experiment, and let me know how it works for you!


Anonymous said...

OMG this looks so good in all the wrong ways. I had to forward it to my fellow Tots loving friends.

Sabra said...

I have the sudden urge to travel to Wal-Mart just to pick up the missing ingredients for this.

Shannon said...

that looks delicious!!!

Michelle said...

I made this and posted it up on my blog: http://foodshenanigans.com/2009/06/07/casserole-of-doom/

Everyone at my poker night is now indebted to you for it's awesomeness.