Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tater Tot Chicken Parmesan PLUS Casserole - Church PotLuck Main Dish

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I am becoming quite nostalgic while working on my "52 Church PotLuck Dishes".  Almost daily I am pondering recipes, new ones of course, but also reminded of the dishes that I always gravitated to in the heyday of my youth.  Back in that little Baptist church in the middle of a cornfield in the middle of Illinois in the middle of the last century, a PotLuck meal was arranged about once a month.  Depending on weddings, funerals and work days sometimes more often.  The seemingly endless bounty was a joy to behold and remember.

I will confess to being a bit of a picky eater back then.  But like all pre-teen boys, I loved them tater tots!   I would put up with a lot of questionable extras just to get a taste of that top crusty crunchy tot covering.

This recipe would have been one of those that I would have went back for seconds on... Top layer of Tots, covering everything good about Chicken Parmesan...

Chicken, Tomato Sauce (home made whenever possible), Mozzarella Cheese Parmesan Cheese and breading (OK, the Tots are counting as breading... Everything that makes a Chicken parmesan, all wrapped up in a casserole dish.  I then took a look around my pantry and started adding vegetables like my Sainted Mother would have... Onions and peppers, corn even a couple of fresh diced tomatoes.

But, those veggies were the price an 8 year old Baptist boy was willing to pay for a Tater Tot Casserole.

OK... Here's what I did...

Tater Tot Chicken Parmesan PLUS Casserole

  • 1 Bag of frozen Tater Tots
  • i Medium Red Onion, cut in half and sliced into half moon shaped rings
  • 4 Medium Sweet Banana Peppers
  • 3 TBS Butter
  • Meat from 1 Rotisserie Chicken, stripped from the bones, diced
  • 3 Cups Marinara Sauce
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Can Sweet Corn, Strained
  • 2 Large Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the Butter.
  3. Add the Peppers and Onions to the butter and saute until soft and the onions turn opaque, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour these into a 9X11 Casserole Dish. Top the peppers and onions with the diced Chicken
  5. Top the chicken with the Marinara Sauce
  6. Top the sauce with a thin layer of the Mozzarella Cheese
  7. Top the Cheese with the Corn
  8. Top the Corn with the diced Tomatoes
  9. Top the Tomatoes with the Tater Tots
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes until the tots are golden brown and starting to char!
  11. Garnish with additional Mozzarella cheese, sauce and Parmesan Cheese.
  12. Serve HOT and ENJOY!


This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Church PotLuck Dishes"!

A list of something NEW worthy of being shown off at a neighborhood BYODish (Bring Your Own Dish) Party, a Family special occasion dinner, Any Big Holiday Gathering or of course that glorious day when you bring a dish to share with your Church family...

Ages ago, literally almost a half century ago I was listening to our pastor talking about a PotLuck Dinner. It happened to be scheduled around a church work day when we were expected to weed, polish and do general cleaning and maintenance around the church (you know, back in the day when there were no no-wax floors and church pews smelled of Old English furniture polish). I am of course paraphrasing, but as I recall the pastor said,

"A potluck, like a church requires work. At a potluck everyone is expected to contribute.. At a church no one should come empty handed and no one should leave unfed".

I will confess that in my youth I brought more store bought plastic spoons and forks than I ever brought covered dishes and crock pots of fresh made love and caring delights. But now that I have become a hobbyist cook, I occasionally am reminded of those days and people from my youth. I reminded and I do wish that I could drop a dish of some new creation on those old tables at my fondly remembered Liberty Baptist Church.  Tables covered with newspapers and loaded with God's bounty prepared with love and caring... Enjoy


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