I am going to be a bad influence with this recipe. In fact, I should probably apologize, in advance, for how bad these are for you. I just can't do it, though, because they taste soooo good! Like tictacs - you just keep popping them in your mouth. Or, as my husband would say, "Gold." Whenever anything is awesome, he says it is "gold." Words simply can't express how wonderful these things are!
First of all, it has bacon! BACON!! Let's be honest, I can't think of anything bacon doesn't make better? Can you? Me, neither, which is exactly my point. Bacon makes everything good. Second, cheese. Sharp cheddar cheese with bacon = delicious! Then, as if that isn't enough to make these tator tots out of this world, we throw in a jalapeno slice, just to shake things up. Are you feeling this yet? If not, I don't think we can be friends anymore. I'm sorry, I didn't mean that, but it is one strike against you.
I first had these heavenly little morsels at a charity dinner a month or so ago. I was there with a bunch of friends, and this was one of the appetizers. We loved them, and I decided that I would be making them at home sometime in the very near future. I knew my husband would love them, too. They just beg to be made and taken to parties. We had them for New Year's Day, but they'd be great for a Super Bowl Party, too. They're time-consuming, but very worth the effort, and you will be the star of the party if you bring these. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about.
Here's your Cast of Characters.
2 Lb. bag of tator tots
1 Jar jalapeno slices
2 Packages bacon
Lawry's Fire Roasted Chile & Garlic Seasoning (or, regular seasoning salt, if you can't find this)
Finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 425. Line a large baking sheet with foil, and place the tator tots in a single layer. Sprinkle lightly with Lawry's.
Bake for 30 minutes, then flip over and bake another 7-8 minutes until crispy.
Let them cool enough to handle them. Meanwhile, get everything else prepped for assembly, and turn the oven down to 400. Cut the bacon into thirds.
Fish out the jalapenos and keep them close at hand. Also, have a bunch of toothpicks at the ready.
Putting these things together is very simple. Place a jalapeno in the middle of a slice of bacon, followed by a tot.
Roll up, and secure with a toothpick.
Continue until you have all the tator tots rolled up. We had a few extra slices of bacon and jalapenos, so we wrapped a couple of pieces of jalapeno in bacon. You can see a couple of those at the bottom of the picture. They were pretty good, too.
Bake for 20 minutes; then turn over and cook for another 10 minutes, until done and bacon is getting crispy.
Sprinkle with cheese (Try to get more on the tator tots than I did. We were hungry and I was in a hurry.)
Bake for another minute, or so, until the cheese is good and ooey-gooey.
Use a slotted spoon to scoop these things out into a bowl, smearing the cheese all over them. The slots will drain the fat off as you're working.
Prepare to become addicted. Start planning your boot camp workout now. You'll need it after you eat half a pan of these all by yourself.