Book cover for TOTS!: 50 Tot-ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-tot-o Pie

TOTS!: 50 Tot-ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-tot-o Pie

Dan Whalen

Workman Publishing Company
May 15, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0761189947

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Dan Whalen is the culinary mad-genius creator of the popular recipe blog The Food in my Beard and the author of Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook and the forthcoming The Art of the Mash-Up. Since starting his website in 2008, he has published more than 1,000 recipes that have been viewed over 6 million times, and has produced numerous viral videos including a Quesadilla-Bun Burger video that has racked up 24 million views. His work has been featured in Saveur, Bon Appétit, Serious Eats, Fine Cooking,, MSNBC, and Huffington Post, among others. He lives in Boston, MA.

It’s a fact: Americans love tots, and last year consumed 3.5 billion of them. And not just at home. From fast-food joints to high-end restaurants, chefs are joining the tot trend, serving exotically spiced tots or fun mash-ups like Totchos, with tots replacing the corn chips in nachos. But now, prepare for TOT-al domination! Created by mad-genius food blogger Dan Whalen, TOTS! elevates the friendly little tater to its place in the culinary spotlight.

This irresistible cookbook with a nubby tot-texture on the cover offers 50 delicious, playful, and surprising recipes for snacks, appetizers, inspired main dishes, and inspired sides, even desserts. (Yes, you could create an entire tot-centric dinner.) Here are party dishes like Buffalo Tots and Tot Poutine. A Tot Caesar for an elegant starter. Tots for breakfast, like Tots Benedict and a Tot Shakshuka, and tots for dinner—Moules Tots, Chicken Tot Pie, Tater Tot Pizza, and Bibimtot. Side dishes—next Thanksgiving, try Sausage and Tot Stuffing. And for sweets lovers, Tot Churros (deep-fried and dipped in chocolate ganache), Apple Tot Crumble (that crispy salty tot topping really plays off the warm sweet apples), and Tot S’mores—a heavenly melt of a dish.

Every recipe uses frozen commercial tots—but Dan Whalen also shows die-hard tot lovers how to make tots from scratch and then alter their creations with different spices (think Tots Vindaloo) and sauces. It’s TOT-ally awesome.

Bacon-Wrapped Tots

Serves 5

Dress up your tots in a bacon suit. For some reason, wrapping tots in bacon makes them feel fancy (it also makes them delicious). You could serve these as passed hors d’oeuvre at the most elegant party, or just whip up a batch to devour at your next game night (the recipe scales up easily). I highly recommend serving these with the Chipotle Mayo on page 16 or the Horseradish Sauce on page 19. 

  • 24 frozen tots
  • 12 bacon strips
  • Dipping sauce(s) of your choice, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet.

Cut the bacon strips in half crosswise. Wrap a piece of bacon around each tot and place each, seam-side down, on the rack.

Bake until the tots are browned and the bacon is cooked through and crispy, about 25 minutes. (The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the bacon, so keep your eyes on them!)

Transfer the tots to a platter, skewer each with a toothpick, and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Moules Tots

Serves 3

Moules frites are easily one of my favorite things to order at a seafood restaurant. If you eat a dish like this outdoors in the summertime, ideally with your feet in the sand or resting gently on the grass, you will remember it forever. Don’t be afraid to work with mussels—they take a little while to clean, but they cook in minutes and are very inexpensive.

  • 1 pound frozen tots (about 45 tots)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 pound spanish chorizo, finely diced (see Notes)
  • 2 celery ribs, leaves roughly chopped (to equal 1/4 cup) and ribs finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 21/2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and rinsed (see Notes)
  • 1/4 cup banana pepper rings
  • 1/2 cup citrusy, hoppy beer, such as IPA
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place the tots on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss the tots gently to coat them evenly with the oil, then spread them out in an even layer. Bake, carefully flipping the tots halfway through the cooking, until crispy and browned, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has rendered a lot of its fat and is starting to crisp up, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped celery and shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 3 minutes.

Add the mussels and banana pepper rings and stir. Add the beer, bring it to a simmer, and cook until all of the mussels have opened, 3 to 5 minutes. (Discard any mussels that remain closed.)

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the celery leaves, parsley, and lemon juice. Pour into a large, shallow bowl or a platter.

Serve immediately with the tots on the side to dip into all that delicious broth or, if you have a big enough bowl, dump the tots right on top of the mussels and dig in!

Notes: Spanish chorizo can be found in the grocery store near the ham, bacon, and other cured and cooked meat products. It is sold fully cooked (like a hot dog) and has a smoky, paprika-y flavor.

To clean mussels, rinse them in cold water and pull off any strings or barnacles that are attached. Sometimes you will need to pull off the beard, which is a stringy membrane that sticks halfway out of the seam of the mussel. Grab on tight when you find one and pull it out firmly. If you find an open mussel, tap the shell with your finger and see if it closes automatically. If it doesn’t close, discard that mussel.

This material may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from TOTS!: 50 Tot-ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-tot-o Pie. (Workman Publishing Company; May 15, 2018; $12.95/Paperback; ISBN: 978-0761189947).

Contact: Lathea Williams