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There’s quite the story that goes with this Loaded Baked Potato Tots Recipe.

Last week I shared what would be the first recipe in a new series called College Cooking. My 21 year old bonus-son and his roommates requested some recipe inspiration.

Loaded Mashed Potato Tots with Sour Cream & Cheddar Dipping Sauce
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College Cooking Challenge

“Start a recipe series called College Cooking and give us a new recipe each week that we can prepare in our off-campus housing kitchens!

Be sure the ingredients are readily available (and affordable) but help us break free from blue box mac ‘n cheese, frozen pizzas, and fast-food meals.”

When we went down for their initial move-in visit, little did I know that they had planned a cooking challenge for me. A ‘Chopped-like’ College Cooking Competition.

They gave me 5 typical college survival ingredients and asked me to turn them into an Appetizer, Entree and Dessert.

Oh boy!

My College Cooking Challenge Mystery Ingredients

  • Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Frozen Chicken Tenders
  • Steak-umms
  • Cap’N Crunch

I can honestly say all but ramen noodles were making their debut on Lemony Thyme!

Before I planned my recipes, I was able to ‘shop’ from their pantry and fridge/freezer. No question they have their staple ‘survival’ ingredients, but they also had a nice array of spices and cooking essentials.

We made a run to their local Walmart for the remaining ingredients! That was an adventure in itself. Envision a college town Walmart the day after move-in weekend. Chaos but we nailed it!

The College Cooking Challenge Results

Cooking for these kids was a blast! I found some pretty creative ways to incorporate their go-to staple ingredients. And most importantly they loved the results and ate every last bite!

For the Appetizer Round I made Nashville Hot Chicken & Waffle Sliders, incorporating the frozen chicken tenders.

And I also made these Loaded Baked Potato Tots with Sour Cream & Cheddar Dipping Sauce! They were a huge hit!

Loaded Baked Potato Tots

My challenged included a 4-pack of microwavable instant mashed potatoes. Let me say a couple things about that. Of all the mystery ingredients, this was the one I feared most. All I could envision were thin and flavorless ‘watery’ mashed potatoes.

I now feel a bit foolish! They are nice and thick and taste pretty darn good straight out of the microwave. I can see why these meat & potato loving kids stock their cupboards with them.

*Partly attributed to the sodium count which weighs in at 690 mg. per serving.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

So for this recipe, whether you use instant or have leftover homemade mashed potatoes is completely your choice.

Loaded Tots Ingredients

  • You’ll begin with 3 cups of mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crispy cooked bacon
  • 2 Tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • Panko or plain breadcrumbs
  • Combine all ingredients and mix well
  • Using a teaspoon, scoop out mashed potatoes and shape into ‘tots’
  • Roll each tot in breadcrumbs
  • Place tots on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet
  • Bake at 375 deg. F. for 25 minutes
  • Serve with Sour Cream & Cheddar Dipping Sauce
Loaded Baked Potato Tots with Sour Cream & Cheddar Dipping Sauce3

You can certainly pan-fry these tots but oven-baked yielded a nice crispy tot with cheesy loaded mashed potato inside! And this dipping sauce is crazy good with cheddar cheese and bacony love.

There was not a tot to be found after the appetizer round!

Don’t forget to follow us @LemonyThyme on Instagram and Facebook! And check out our Instagram Story Highlights for how the entire College Cooking Challenge went down! More recipes to follow!

All my best,
xo Libby

Loaded Mashed Potato Tots with Sour Cream & Cheddar Dipping Sauce

Loaded Baked Potato Tots Recipe

You can certainly pan-fry these tots but oven-baked yielded a nice crispy tot with cheesy mashed potato inside!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

For the Loaded Baked Potato Tots

  • 3 cups mashed potatoes cooled
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup crispy cooked bacon finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chives snipped
  • 1-2 cups dry plain breadcrumbs

For the Sour Cream & Cheddar Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons crispy cooked bacon finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chives snipped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (or garlic powder & salt)

Instructions
 

For Loaded Baked Potato Tots

  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Using a teaspoon, scoop out potato mixture and form into tots. Roll tots in breadcrumbs then place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve with Sour Cream & Cheddar Dipping Sauce.

For Sour Cream & Cheddar Dipping Sauce

  • Combine all ingredients and chill until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Hollis.