Somewhere along the way we seem to have forgotten about the shear joy of sharing a meal with people we care about. A lifetime of memories are made in the kitchen and at the table. Sharing a meal is often where we learn the art of conversation and manners. It is where we pass on values and traditions.
Cooking may seem frivolous in a time-crunched society, but cooking stimulates creativity. The late Julia Child believed that food is more than sustenance and children must be taught that cooking is akin to art. Cooking is as creative as music, drawing. Cooking helps children learn to love food - children should experience food hands on. Research shows that hands-on cooking is a great way to improve mealtime practices and eating habits of children. They need to taste, to touch, smell and listen to food.
But enough with all the soft, feel good and scientific stuff, cooking and eating are just plain fun.
Tater Tot Casserole is a favorite of a colleague's daughter. Her favorite thing about this casserole is lining up the tater tots exactly the same. Her mother says that even though the recipe states to dump it all together, it actually cooks better when the tater tots are "lined up".
Serves 8 to 10.
1 package (32 ounce) tater tots, thawed
2 cups (8 ounces) American or Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can (10¾ ounce) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
½ cup onion, finely chopped
¼ cup butter, melted
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup corn flakes, crushed
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1. Coat a 9 X 13-baking dish with cooking spray. Place tater tots in baking dish; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cheese soup, sour cream, onion, butter, and pepper. Pour over tater tots. (If desired, casserole can be assembled up to this point and refrigerated.)
3. Toss together cornflakes and one tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake in a 350F oven for about 1 hour or until casserole is golden brown.
To make this dish a little healthier, use reduced fat cheese and sour cream.