By Cheryl Brown
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Tater Tots are making a comeback, but they're moving way beyond breakfast or cafeteria lunch trays. They're filling in for tortilla chips in nachos (tot-chos), giving pepperoni a run for its money as a pizza topping (tot-zza), and making impressive appetizers (wrapped in bacon, stuffed with cheese, or coated with Buffalo wing sauce).

The tot has come a long way from its humble beginnings. More than 60 years ago, potato giant Ore-Ida wanted to find a use for potato slivers left over from making french fries...and the Tater Tot was born. These days, there are food trucks—like Tot Boss in St. Paul, Minnesota, and El Toro the Tot in Denver—dedicated to this comfort food. Restaurant chefs are drizzling them with sauces like hollandaise and sriracha ketchup, and even making tots from scratch, flavored with truffle oil, caramelized onion, and more.

Even with all the new ways of treating tots, we still love them straight up, too. Maybe not as much as movie nerd Napoleon Dynamite, who kept a pocketful around for snacking, but close. Find recipes for tot-chos and classic casseroles here. —OneSmartCookie

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