When I was a young girl growing up in Chicago I remember the thrill of the first snow, Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation. It was a no-brainer– no homework, no projects and no tests. It wasn’t until I got older that the pressures starting building. It never fazed me that stress was a Santa-sized factor. Although, I was a chunky kid, I didn’t watch what I ate and no one did either. Now, that may have been the impetus to my battle of the bulge, but that’s another blog post—stay tuned.

Here’s the breakdown of my holiday equation:

  • Who: Mom and I
  • What: Dinner at 4:30
  • Where: My sister’s house across town
  • Why: It’s tradition and we need to eat dinner
  • When: Thanksgiving

I find myself with the dilemma of what will I make to bring. Another question is, where will I buy it? I live in the north shore of Chicago where grocery stores are a-plenty. Here’s the short list: Trader Joe’s (my fav), Whole Foods (2nd fav), Mariano’s, Jewel, ALDI, Sunset Foods, etc. Or. If I’m feeling lazy. Peapod.

I decide on Cauliflower Tater Tots—whaaat?  Yes, this is the hot-ticket for today’s paleo holiday meal. By the way, I just made that up ‘cause I’m a blogger and I can.

Ingredients:    1 small head of cauliflower

2 tbsp minced onion

1 egg

1/4 panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese (can substitute your fav)

1 tbsp parsley (dried or fresh)


To bake: Preheat oven to 375

To fry: Preheat 2 inches of oil to 360

  • Cut cauliflower into large chunks and cook in boiling salted water just until soft, not mushy. Remove, being careful to let the water drain off.
  • Run the cauliflower and onion through a grater of a food processor, or finally chop by hand. Let cool for a few minutes then stir in the rest of the ingredients and salt to taste.
  • Let it set up for 5 – 10 minutes in the freezer, or as long as you want in the fridge. This step is CRUCIAL to them staying perfectly intact!! Keep the mix in the fridge while 1 batch is cooking so that it stays cool.
  • Shape into little tater tops using a tablespoon full or so, and either place in oil or on a baking sheet.
  • Fry until golden brown, or bake for 20 – 25 minutes flipping half way through.

Baking is a healthier way to go, with less hands on time, however they do not get quite as crispy as they do when fried. Personally, I’m going with the baked version. I just spent two hours at the gym tonight and want to extend the benefits one more day.

Bonus Tip: After shaping, these can be frozen, pop them into the freezer on a baking sheet not touching and once they are frozen throw them into a Ziploc bag and just take out what you need! Making a double batch means you always have these bite size pieces of joy on hand 🙂

** Props goes to craftymorning.com for their quick n’ easy recipe.  ENJOY & Happy Holidays from the Midwest—burp (oh, excuse me).