I'm always on the hunt for good, quick, crock-pot recipe- especially ones that require very little prep time and few ingredients. I came across this particular recipe on one of my frequent trips down the Pinterest Popular board. You can see the original post here: http://www.thecountrycook.net/2012/07/cheesy-chicken-tater-tot-casserole-slow.html. The pictures made it look delicious, and I figured it would probably please my picky preschooler and my cheese and bacon loving husband. When I decided to make it we had plans with friends of ours to come over for dinner so I thought it would be a good trial run where I could get multiple opinions at the same time (with the backup plan of Little Caesars if the recipe went south).
First you need these ingredients:
1 bag of frozen tator tots
2 cups of cheddar cheese
1 bag of bacon bits (not Bacos, real bacon bits)
1 pound of thawed chicken breasts (cubed)
3/4 cup of milk
The most time consuming part of this recipe is the cubing of the pound of chicken. I used dethawed Great Value brand chicken breasts. Once the chicken was cubed I started the rest of the meal prep. Anyone who has read my blog before knows that I am a huge fan of Glad Crock-pot Liners so I threw one in the crock-pot and sprayed it with cooking spray (the original recipe called for spraying the inside of the crock-pot with the spray so I followed suite, if you don't use crock-pot liners make sure you do this, if not it's probably not necessary). First you put in half of the bag tator tots, 1/3 of the cheese (I admittedly didn't measure the cheese, just eyeballed it when it looked like the potatoes were well covered) and 1/3 of the bacon bits (again, I just eyeballed the amount).
In go the tator tots
After the bacon bits, put in the pound of thawed chicken (cut into cubes) in the crock-pot and season with salt and pepper, enough to cover but you don't have to go crazy with it.
Next add another 1/3 of the cheese (or however much you think you need) and 1/3 of the bacon bits. Finally add the rest of the tator tots, cheese, and bacon. Pour 3/4 cup of milk over the top of everything and put the lid on and set the timer for 4-4.5 hours on low.
I put this in around 12:45 this afternoon and we didn't get back from our afternoon bowling trip until well after 5:30 and didn't get around to eating it until 6:45. My crock-pot automatically turns itself to keep warm after the timer is done (which if yours doesn't, I highly recommend spending the 40ish dollars to get one that does) so I wasn't worried about it still being in the crock-pot for awhile after the timer had gone off.
After cooking and sitting on keep warm for over an hour.
There was a consensus among the group that this was a very tasty dinner. The potatoes fell apart and had a very hash-brown like quality, while still having a little bit of crispness to them. The chicken was well cooked and tender and made for a good protein for this very cheesy bacony concoction. The kids seemed to like it (though we had to play a game of "how many more bites until we're done" but they didn't complain that it didn't taste good) and all the adults had seconds. The amount you get is quite generous as this fed two preschool girls, 4 adults with small second helpings, with enough leftover for one lunch this week. We also discussed at dinner how this could probably be easily transferred into a breakfast casserole by taking out the chicken and pouring scrambled eggs and milk over the top. I will be trying that in the near future and if it goes well it can be a Pinterest original (or at least a fun Pinterest fail). All in all it was a good crock-pot recipe and a good solid Pinterest Win!