Ahh there is nothing better than a traditional midwestern Hot Dish (or casserole to all your other people) fresh from the oven. It’s best steaming hot with cheese, carbs, and a dash of vegetables to make it a good choice for your kids and what is even better about it besides the taste, is how ridiculously cheap and easy it is to make.
Hot dishes are two sided – there areabout 100 different recipies and each one is *slightly* different than the other but not by much. This is difficult when trying to discern which one to cook. The great thing about a hotdish is that you can add things you do have or subtract whatever you don’t from most recipes to get a steaming pan of delisciousness. Honestly, a hot dish isn’t a recipe, it is a loose reccomedation of adding carbs, meat, and cheese. Truly just go through your pantry and fridge and throw it in. Veggies can be canned (rinsed and drained before adding it in), frozen (cook before adding into dish), or fresh. Meat can be left out if you need. A good hotdish can be as cheap as $5 to feed the whole family!
There are some basic ingredients you need for a hotdish. Meat, carbs, vegetables, cheese, and some sort of cream like milk, cream of mushroom soup, or sour cream (or all 3!). From here it’s just math! Well, sorta. Let me just break it down for ya!
Building the dish
1 pound of meat: Ground beef or turkey, shredded chicken, or pork. Cooked, lightly seasoned as you desire.
1-2 cups of carbs: Cooked rice, pasta or diced potatoes
1-2 cups of cooked mixed vegetables like carrots, onions, broccoli, green beans, corn.. etc. Basically whatever veggies your kids and husband eat.
1-2 cups shredded cheese: Whatever kind you have
1 (ish) cups or cans of milk or cream of mushroom soup (soup preffered)
Topping of your choice: Crispy onions, cumbled potato chips, or tater tots
Assembling the hotdish
Preheat your oven to 350 if you have time, 400 if you are in a rush.
Then you need to cook up your meat of choice. Before moving it off the stove mix in the cooked vegetables, I like to do steamed broccoli, cooked onions and carrots, and corn.
Add your cooked carbs and most of your cheese and mix it well. At this point your pan is probably spilling everywhere so grease a 9×13 pan with some butter and dump your mixture in.
Drizzle the soup or milk over the dish. It will look gross. Add another bit of milk or a can of soup so your casserole looks liquid enough.
Add some salt and pepper on top and then the rest of the cheese on top. Bake until its melted on top and hot all the way through. Usually like 20 minutes. Then add your toppings and bake for 10 more minutes or just enough to crisp it if the kids are screaming. If you use tater tots, layer them to cover the entire top before cooking and bake for 40 minutes or until hot through and tots are golden brown.
Serve with sour cream or ranch if you have it, otherwise go ham. Dish it up and enjoy the silence while everyone eats.