Monday, April 30, 2012

What is 'Hotdish'??

 Hamburger 'Hotdish' and Broccoli

Oh I know, it's not very cosmopolitan to call it 'hotdish,' for now everyone says 'casserole.' I'm not sure why that's supposed to be better, but...

When I was growing up, anything that was a mixture of food and wasn't cereal was called 'hotdish.' We ate a lot of hotdish because it was cheap. (My parents lived through the Great Depression, which resulted in a lifestyle of frugality.) Living on a farm, we usually had beef in the freezer. So any combination of ground beef, rice, noodles, celery, onion, tomatoes, peppers, and usually a can of some poison soup (the most extravagant ingredient)...was called hotdish.  It filled us up. That was the objective.

 So even today, one of my 'emergency' dinners is 'hotdish.' I almost always have cooked basmati rice in the refrigerator and an assortment of peppers and olives, so it's easy to throw something edible together in a few minutes. Although I never use poison soup, I sometimes use a plain yogurt to hold things together. In this case, I didn't use any. I might use yogurt if I were using canned chicken breast rather than ground beef as the base. Sometimes I use a jar of canned tomatoes. It all depends.

Note: My mother would not have used the olives, the Liquid Aminos, the Worcestershire sauce, or the Cayenne. Scandinavian cooking, at least that which I grew up eating, does not tax the taste buds. Personally, I enjoy the more flavorful additions in the recipe below.

Emergency 'Hotdish' Dinner - Recipe:

Ground beef
Garlic, minced
Onion, diced
Peppers (various), diced
Celery, thinly sliced
Worcestershire sauce (enough to taste good)
Bragg's Liquid Aminos (enough to taste good but not enough to give me a headache)
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Sliced Kalamata olives (or black olives or whatever olives you have on hand)
Cooked rice (or cooked noodles or cooked spaghetti or...)

In a little olive oil, brown the ground beef, garlic, onion, peppers, celery in a skillet on Med-Hi.
Add some Worcestershire sauce, Bragg's Liquid Aminos, stirring and tasting (PLEASE use a different spoon for each taste. I shudder to think of anyone putting that spoon in twice. Ewwwww!) Sprinkle on a generous dusting of cayenne, salt, and pepper. Slice kalamatas or black olives and add to mixture. Stir in a couple cups of cooked rice.  Cover and turn burner to low, heating thoroughly.

Serve with Tarragon/Garlic Broccoli, Angela's new recipe.

Broccoli with Tarragon and Garlic

Steam a couple heads of broccoli. Sprinkle with some Tarragon flakes and garlic powder. Place in skillet that has a couple T. olive oil in it. Actually, this link takes you to her official recipe. I'm sure I'm using more olive oil than she calls for. Check it out. She has a lot of good recipes there.


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Empty Nester said...

I've never heard the term hotdish- we've just always called them casseroles. I made one last night. LOL My grandmother was a young married woman with a child during the depression- she kept her pantry FILLED with canned goods. And, in the cellar, she kept all the veggies she 'put up' herself. I never appreciated helping with all of that until now! Wish she was still here to lend her expertise. What the heck is poison soup?

Yenta Mary said...

Hotdish is one of the greatest culinary triumphs in the universe! People don't want to admit it, but they love it - supreme, delicious comfort!!!

Amy Burzese said...

That looks yummy. My kind of comfort food. But, I probably would use a can of poison soup. :)

Unknown said...

I hadn't heard the term hotdish until I was in my 30's, if you can believe that. It was always called casseroles in my family. Either way, they are cheap and can feed a lot of people. I love that you jazzed this one up a bit for your taste. YUM!

Bethany Nash said...

I usually refer to it as "Cream of Poison" soup. Unless I make it myself. :)

Cranberry Morning said...

Right. Actually, if you look at the ingredient list on the back of almost any can of soup, it is looooong and in fine print. Many of those words are things the human body should avoid, such as modified food starch, yeast extract, monosodium glutamate, etc. I just refer to it as 'poison soup.'

Amy said...

Looks yummy! I had never heard of the term "hotdish" until I married my Minnesota man. According to my mil a hotdish has a meat, a vegatable, tatertots and a can of poison soup. lol I never use the canned soup either, gives me the willies!! :)

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Oh hotdish, how I remember you! 3 bean hotdish was one of our favorites as a kid. Ok I say favorite but what I really mean was something we tolerated and didn't run screaming and crying from the dinner table. It involved hamburger, bacon, and (surprise!) 3 kinds of canned beans (great northern, pork & beans and kidney usually). Add ketchup, mustard and brown sugar and dinner's done.

Your hotdish looks a lot fresher & tastier than the ones I remember from being a kid. I need to keep hotdish in my mind when figuring out what to do with left overs. Thanks for the post Judy!

Vicky @ Mess For Less said...

This sounds so easy to put together and delicious. And I like "hotdish" better than casserole. Pinning this!
Vicky from

Heide at ApronHistory said...

I hadn't heard that term until Becky married Ian. We are just learning how to make our own white sauce, as we are not a fan of "Poison Soup" either. The Broccoli with Tarragon looks great!

laurie said...

We grew up with hamburger hot dish.A good comfort food!

Jeri said...

This looks yummy!! I have to try it!! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog to say hi!! I'm folowing you too =)

Lois Christensen said...

Never heard it referred to as hotdish! Looks really good and so easy. Your pictures and instructions for making soap look great! Need to show hubby!

Chatty Crone said...

I don't know the exact name and don't care - that looks GREAT, sandie

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love broccoli and know I would love both of these dishes! I'm off to look at soap! Hugs! I'm having a giveaway...stop by soon!

Mama Hen said...

This looks delicious! It made me hungry as I scrolled down. Perfect for a cool or rainy day. I hope you are doing well! have a great day!

Mama Hen

Ruth Kelly said...

Never heard of hotdish before but it depends on what part of the country you were raised. My mom put together dishes like that only we called it goulash.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I ordered some soaps today! I can't wait to get them and post about them! Thanks so much for the great sale!

George The Lad said...

Looks tastie, and leftovers make good meals. Me and Tess get leftovers but there not good for the waist line!
Its the moors we are going to
Have a Good week
See yea George xxx

Shiloh said...

Your hotdish looks really good. What's poison soup??

Cranberry Morning said...

For those unfamiliar with 'poison soup,' Poison soup is what I call any of your typical soups with the long ingredient list. 'Cream of...' are usually the worst, but the ones with monosodium glutamate, modified food starch, yeast extract, etc. They're all things that give me a fierce headache and make me feel nauseated for a few days. Good to avoid. I think if we don't know what ingredients are, we probably should avoid them.

Emily Thompson said...

I didn't grow up with this term, but my mother in law uses it all the time! Thanks for linking up to Tasty Tuesday at Nap-Time Creations. Just wanted to let you know I will be featuring you at tomorrow party! Come by and grab a *new* featured button!

Lady Behind The Curtain said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your recipe is being featured today at Menu and Party Idea Round Up from Cast Party Wednesday #39!
Thank you for sharing your recipe with us at Cast Party Wednesday! ---Sheryl---

Candace said...

Around my house growing up, it was called "goulash" and we had it often! Now we simply call it "stuff". Whatever it's called, it's always good. Comfort food at its finest!


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