Sweet Potato Tots

Tater tots are delicious little cylinders of love.  But with more crunch.  Most of their love flavor, however, comes from oil.  There is so much oil and grease shoved into store-bought tots that they grease the baking pan all by themselves.  Sometimes I make homemade versions of convenience foods such as these.  It's oh so much more healthier, and the joy I get from seeing my family eat nutritiously is reward enough.

Nah, the real reason for today's post is that: 1) I had a few leftover sweet potatoes (there was this sale at the Try-n-Save), 2) Food52 is running yet another contest, and 3) I overstocked up on Rice Krispies to use up all the leftover Passover marshmallows (had a coupon).

Overcompensated in the lighting.  Wear sunglasses to view.

 My tots are more of the kinda-sorta variety.  Real tots are made of shredded potatoes.  This version uses mashed taters (making them technically mini-croquettes ... so sue me), whose soft inner smoothness contrasts nicely with the light and crunchy outer cereal layer.  I tossed in dried parsley as a contrast to the orange and because I mixed up tater tots with mozzarella sticks.  If you are a purist, simply omit the green ... dried parsley has no discernible flavor.   But if you were a purist, you wouldn't even be reading this since you'd be too busy tearing into a bag of frozen tots.

I thought Rice Krispies were just ... ya know ... rice.  But turns out they have gluten cooties.  If you are gluten-intolerant, use the specially labeled gluten-free Krispies, or use Rice Chex instead.  After crushing they are pretty much interchangeable.

Sweet Potato Tots
Yield:  24-28 tots 
This recipe was entered in Food52's Your Best Recipe with Cereal Contest

olive oil cooking spray
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), well scrubbed
2 1/2 cups Rice Chex or Rice Krispies, finely crushed
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes (optional)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork, then place on a heat-resistant plate.  Microwave on full power for 10 minutes.  Turn potatoes over, then continue to micro-cook for 5-10 additional minutes, or until completely cooked and soft.  Remove from oven and allow to cool (this step can be done a day ahead).

Preheat oven to 400F.  Place half of the crushed cereal in a large bowl.  Place remaining half in a medium size bowl (like a cereal bowl) and stir in parsley flakes, if using.  Lightly spritz a shallow rimmed baking sheet with the cooking spray, then line with parchment paper.  Lightly spray parchment.

Remove and discard skins from cooled potatoes and place in the large bowl with the crushed cereal.  Add salt and pepper; mash until well combined.

Scoop out some of the potato mixture and roll into a ball about an inch in diameter.   Gently press in the sides to form that familiar tot shape.  Roll tot in remaining crushed cereal mixture,  then place on prepared baking sheet.  Continue with remaining mixture.

Lightly spritz tots with the cooking spray.  Place on middle rack in preheated oven.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Flip tots, then continue to bake another 10-15 minutes or until tots are browned to your liking.


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