When I was a kid in the 90’s there were several meals that were staples in our family’s diet: Hamburger Helper, some sort of meal of a protein, a roll, and a canned or frozen veggie, or casseroles. Now, my parents and I cook more like Barefoot Contessa than the Hamburger Helper Glove. This is fitting of current food trends: less boxed kits and freeze-dried mashed potatoes and more artisanal ingredients and organic produce.
When I graduated from college, my mom thoughtfully assembled our families favorite recipes in a cute recipe box so that I could make some of home wherever I was. One of my favorites include Grandpa’s Party Potatoes, which my grandpa did not make but some cute Grandpa somewhere in America did and sent it into Southern Living for my mom to then adopt. I also love other recipes that my mom gives credit to people that mean a lot to our family; My Aunt Pat’s yeast rolls are in there along with my Great Grandmother’s sour cream pound cake.
I love getting to make food that has a history behind it. Whenever I have a friend who has lost a loved one or going through a challenging time, I want to make them something that they can start having a history with and that kind of thing is a casserole. I think something warm, gooey, and “safe” can be such a comfort.
I think I may be one of the few people who buys the Cream of Chicken soup at my hipster neighborhood Kroger. Solely because casseroles are responsible for the rare occasion for Cream of Chicken soup. Like, when was the last time you wanted a bowl of warm Cream of Chicken soup?
Friday night, my boyfriend and I were both tired from the week and not in the mood to go out to dinner so I pulled up trusty ‘ol Pinterest for some inspiration. To be frank, there is a lot of garbage on Pinterest. Sometimes, I will pull up a recipe and it looks like it’s just cream cheese, butter, salt, and 1/2 of a clove of garlic. I was looking for something easy, yummy, and in the vein of what I was craving (buffalo wings, natch).
I found “Buffalo Chicken Tater-tot Casserole” on PlainChicken.com
It filled all of my cravings: warm, gooey, carb filled, and buffalo slathered. I personally omitted the celery that they said to bake on top and I swapped one of the cups of sour cream for a cup of ranch dressing. Next time I make it, I will add bleu cheese crumbles.
After I pulled the casserole out of the oven and took a big bite, I felt calm. I could finally unwind with my kind, supportive significant other and watch Haunting at Hill House. (Which the show is like a really spooky “This is Us.) This is the new memory of home I’m glad I can now associate to a new casserole recipe. Buffalo Chicken Tater-tot Casserole is a great new addition to my comfort food repertoire.