Hot Dish vs Casserole

Hot Dish vs. Casserole

Being from Minnesota the hot dish vs casserole debate is still going strong. People move here and look at us like we have a third arm when we call something a hot dish. I assure you; it has nothing to do with the temperature of the food! My argument has always been, a casserole is the dish that cook the meal in…  Whereas a hot dish is the meal.

I have family from all parts of the Midwest and hot dish reigns supreme in my vocabulary. Cream of Mushroom soup is used in place of seasoning and tater tots can be used as the crust to any meal. I am sure you all read the last two sentences a few times, especially if you aren’t from Minnesota! Cream of Mushroom soup is one of those staples in our pantry. You always buy one when you go to the store, because you will always use it in something…  especially hot dishes!

The best part about Hot Dishes, is that there is no specific recipe for one! You can always adjust the recipe what you have in the pantry or freezer. I recently had a hankering for what my grandma called Noodle Hot Dish. Thinking back, I think it was her version of Beef Stroganoff, but in hot dish form. I called my dad to see if he knew how she made it. He said she would open the pantry, pull out things she had, a can of cream of mushroom soup and sour cream and mix it all together. Super technical, thanks Dad…

He wasn’t wrong when I thought about it, her noodle casserole was always a bit different. Sometimes egg noodles, sometimes penne… sometimes ground beef, sometimes shredded. Sometimes there were veggies in there, other times there wasn’t.

That’s when I realized that was the great thing about a Hot Dish. It can be whatever you want it to be. It is meant to warm your heart and your stomach.  Remind you of memories you thought were lost forever, and the added benefit of cleaning out your freezer or pantry.

Whatever you choose to call it, make sure it has Cream of Mushroom soup in it, and you bake it at 350° for 35-45 minutes.

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