Monday, November 9, 2015

That's a Hot Dish!

No, I'm not complimenting your latest recipe or culinary masterpiece.

I'm talking about the famous "Minnesota Hot Dish". You probably know it better as a casserole.

I don't know why they call it a hot dish here. The name mystifies me; although it still works. Maybe "casserole" just sounds too fancy for these blue-collar, church going, Midwestern folk?

Anyway, a recent Minnesota transplant asked me for some good hot dish recipes, as she has to make one for her daughter's Brownie troop. Besides the obvious Tater Tot Hot Dish, I suggested a Chicken Wild Rice Casserole. Wild rice and Minnesota are like peanut butter and jelly. It grows in abundance here, and is very popular.

But besides that, I didn't have a lot of recipes to offer. I'm not a huge fan of the hot dish, mostly because it's normally filled with heavy cream, canned soups, sour cream, frozen veggies, and/or some kind of mystery meat. They're really not all that healthy.

So imagine my surprise and pleasure when I was given a free cookbook from our new church this weekend - filled with hot dish recipes! We recently started attending a local Lutheran church, and they had a bazaar this weekend - Widows Weekend.

Let's stop here for a moment to clarify. This past weekend was our deer hunting opener. "Widows" means hunting widows, not women with deceased husbands. But for all intents and purposes, every weekend until December the hunters will be in their cabins or deer stands from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening, thereby creating "widows". Some even take time off of work to get out there during the week.

Prime shopping time for the ladies - while the guys are away, the girls will play!

Emily and I stopped by a few, had a delightful turkey salad lunch at our new church, bought homemde Christmas cookies by the pound (good thing I have that extra freezer in the basement), and got a free church-ladies cookbook.

Here are some of the better recipes:

See? Casseroles. Some with mysterious ingredients. Like what the heck is canned Veg-All? I'm guessing a can of mixed veggies. I'm sure there are ways to lighten these recipes up and make them a little more diet-friendly.

Truth be told, I will likely never make any of these casseroles. Unless a friend needs some good freezer meals. 

Have you ever had an actual "hot dish"? Got any good casserole recipes?


  1. I learned some interesting Minnesota terminology today! I am not a fan of casseroles either. I always disliked them at the church pot luck growing up.

    1. I don't mind them when they're not soggy, but usually they have way too much liquid and then they're not so good.