It was a warm sunday afternoon with kids running around the house. It was a day and time I would never forget. The children that day were happy and I was finally single. A day for all of us to remember and a food that we still eat that is fulfilling.
My mom taught me the recipe once when she was not ill and young. She learned it from my cousin. I, at one time, would help my mom in the kitchen with prepping and cooking. This is why I thought on this day the kids and I could do it.
I called out to my four happy young ones. One by one they join me in the kitchen. All four lined up by age: Christopher 10, Jason 9, Crystal 7, and my little one Nate 5. I told them today we will start our new beginning on our own (recently there Dad moved out because of his substance abuse) with a food dish that will make us full and tired.
I gave Christopher a chair to get the two bowels out and the skillet. I had Jason get the can opener ready. I gave Crystal and Nate the spoon to mix everything when ready.
Our first thing was to open the tater tots and put them on baking sheet place them in them in the over for 25 minutes. We always used two bags of tater tots. One for the bottom layer and one for the top layer of the casserole.
When then got the cream of chicken and of course two cans of this. Jason loved opening cans and listening to the sound of the can opener. While Crystal and Nate put it in the bowel I started on the hamburger.
I put one pound of hamburger in the skillet on medium heat for 15 minutes. Than drain the hot grease pouring into the container on side. Than we placed the hamburger in the bowel with cream of chicken and covered it to stay warm.
We take the hot tater tots out and put them on the counter. You can see the kids were starting to drool just like I did at one time. Amazing time with them and everyone getting along being so close to age.
We pour the hamburger in the bowel with the cream of chicken and stir it. Getting it all nice and good together. You can just smell the food in the kitchen with a dash of garlic, salt, and pepper.
We than glaze the tater tots with combination of hamburger and cream of chicken. Making a nice thick glaze on top of them. Than we add the second bag of tater tots and placing two tater tots on top so we knows its done.
While its cooking for another 25 minutes the kids and I play tag outside. The sun shining down, kids all smiling, and lots of laughter. If everyday could have been this great I would be the happiest in the past. Today is not the day though to be thinking of the past. I am finally happy and at peace with my life. I can smell the food outside.
The kids and I go back to the kitchen when the timer goes off. We take out the baking dish and put another layer of hamburger with cream of chicken. We than add two bags of colby jack cheese to the top of it and put it back in the over for another 15 minutes.
Back to playing tag outside while we wait for our dinner. This time the neighbor kids decide to come over and play as well. I stood there and watched them full of giggles and laugher until I hear the buzzing of the alarm.
Kids tell the neighbors they will be back out afterwards, but I know they will be to tired. We go inside to the kitchen and pull out the dish. Oh my the cheese melting on top like a sweet glaze of heaven.
The kids grab there plates, forks, and cups to take to the table outside. All excited to have this delightful dinner together. I take the baking dish outside following Nate who ends up holding the door for me. Such a little sweet little boy trying to help his mom.
While everyone sits there patiently waiting for their food the wind slowly picks up and the smell of the tater tot casserole instantly made our mouths droll. I slowly cut the dish in to five slices and as I take out a slice at a time the cheese looks stringy and and the smell of the hamburger and taters breeze under our noses more.
Out of excitment all five dishes were made, the kids take their first bites as I fill up thier cups with orange juice. They cheer and compliment the dish saying that they want more, patiently waiting for their next serving I finally take my first bite and it brought me into my past thinking back to the good old days with my family.
The food was fantastic I just couldnt get enough of it, one bite outta another my plate was finally clean not a speck of a crumb left behind. I thought of making more since one dish wasnt enough for my entire family but just that one dish made everyone happy. After I drink my cup of juice with the kids a knock was heard at the front door.
To my surprise my mom has shown up with another dish of tater tot casserole, she wanted to celebrate that i was single. Not knowing that I already made the same dish just recently I happily invite her inside for anouther round of servings with my kids and I. Now I get to enjoy the dish that my mother taught me how to make. This dish she brought back even more memories of her and I in the kitchen.
At the end of the night kids full, tucked in, and my mom passed out in my favorite recliner. I sit here and think how blessed I am while I slowly drift to sleep.