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10-Second Recipes: Sweet Potato Tots Teeter on Greatness

(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)

By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate

One of my favorite foods is sweet potato tots. Is this surprising, since plain tater tots (without the infusion of sweet potato antioxidants and fiber) are so decadent and diet busting? Not at all, the slight sweet flavor that comes along with the sweet potato makes it perfect for the addition of innovative sauces, like the honey-mustard one below.

The little darlings are fairly simple to prepare at home, too. When that's the case, you can add your own favorite flavors, not just as a sauce, but right to the heart of the tot as well, like the bacon, garlic, oregano and curry powder featured in the recipes below.

Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!

Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.


Sweet potato tots:     

Salt, to taste      
2 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled      
2 strips bacon      
3 cups vegetable oil      
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
Mustard dipping sauce:     
2 tablespoons mayonnaise       
1 tablespoon honey       
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard    
Salt, to taste 
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste    
 Yields 4 servings.

To prepare tots: Boil a pot of salted water. Add the potatoes and partially cook, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

Meanwhile, add the bacon to a small skillet over medium heat and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Finely chop the bacon when cooled.Carefully heat the oil to 300 F in a straight-sided skillet.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, shred the potatoes using either a box grater or shredding attachment on a food processor. 

Place 4 sheets of paper towels on a countertop. Dump the potatoes on top of the paper towels and fold the towels over the potatoes. Squeeze as much moisture out of the potatoes as possible. (This is the trick to make perfect tater tots; too much moisture will result in little pieces of potato all around your skillet when frying.) Combine the potatoes with the bacon, flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well to combine.

Form the potato mixture into small logs using a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon. Working in batches, carefully fry the tots in the skillet until golden brown, 2 & 1/2 to 3 minutes. Adjust the heat, as needed, to keep the oil at 300 F. Carefully transfer the tots to a paper-towel-lined plate to strain excess fat. Sprinkle the tots with salt while still warm.

To prepare dipping sauce: Combine the mayo, honey and mustard in a small bowl. Sprinkle the sauce with salt and pepper.

Serve the sweet potato and bacon tots hot with the creamy mustard dipping sauce.

2 small sweet potatoes, unpeeled      
1 egg     
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs      
Dried oregano, to taste      
Curry powder, to taste      
Garlic powder, to taste   
Yields 8 servings.

Grate sweet potato and par-boil for 2 minutes in a pot of salted boiling water. After par-boiling, place potatoes in a bowl of ice water to stop it cooking further. Drain thoroughly, carefully squeezing out moisture.

Shred potatoes. In a large bowl, mix together potatoes, egg, salt, oregano and curry powder. In a separate bowl, mix panko bread crumbs and garlic powder. Roll potato into approximately 2-inch pieces and coat with panko crumbs.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 F for 20 minutes, carefully turning with a utensil halfway through.

QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: Did Hungry Girl used to only be hungry? Bestselling cookbook author Lisa Lillien's cartoon caricature doppelganger always ate deliciously and with calories in mind. In her latest cookbook, though, where the cartoon Hungry Girl Lillien is embracing the real Lillien on the cover, Lillien brags of also eating cleanly. "Hungry Girl Clean & Hungrypromises, "Easy all-natural recipes for eating in the real world." For those used to creating diet recipes relying on a lot of processed products, this should be a snazzy change of pace, because of which an increase of energy or other benefits may be noticed.

Lisa Messinger  at Creators Syndicate is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet(Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on


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