But Jill, you may (or may not) ask, isn't it a little soon to have an anything week? I mean, you've posted two entries, you have three followers, and you're using a generic Blogger template. Also, aren't you a little bit concerned that if you post more entries about hotdish than anything else, you won't just have a Hotdish Week, but a Hotdish Blog?
Well, if danger is gasoline then I am the match, baby, and I won't even bother closing the cover before striking. It's September, I'm nostalgic for northwestern Minnesota in the fall, and I just found my stash of vintage cookbooks that I never use yet refuse to part with. For those of you that grew up on Beef-n-Tatertot Casserole and Cheesy Calico Bean Bake, here's a trip down memory lane. For the rest of you poor lost souls, I have created this handy guide. Feel free to print it out and save it for use in the field. The life you save may be your own.
We'll begin at the beginning.
Is it hotdish?
- Are the recipe instructions simple? Will they fit on one side of an index card?
- Do the ingredients have a long shelf life? Are most of them processed, canned, boxed, or frozen?
- Is everything cooked together in a single baking dish or crock pot?
- Is the seasoning limited to small amounts of salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion salt, parsley, oregano, Soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce?
- Is there some form—or even multiple forms—of cream soup involved?
- Is the main body of the dish potato, white rice, canned beans, or “noodles”?
- Is it topped with one or more of the following: Fritos, saltines, Ritz crackers, tater tots, potato chips, chow mein noodles, a pound of cheese, or Durkee French Fried Onions?
- Does the name of the recipe sound ethnic, but does the actual food item bear no resemblance to the cuisine of that or any other world culture?
- Bonus points: Would it make chef Gordon Ramsay cry? Would he then recoil as if from a deadly asp, drop multiple f-bombs, overturn the dining room table, and vanish, wailing, into the frozen and godforsaken night? Well, uff-da, who died and left him in charge of what is delicious?
Now that you understand the basics, here are some typical specimens, so you may better identify feral hotdish in the wilds of the buffet table. The following recipes have been copied verbatim from the Family of God Lutheran Church Cookbook, circa 1984. These are the dishes that were often served and eaten at the Sunday potluck dinners of my youth, were likely famed amongst the congregants, and requested time and time again, from people with names like "Alvira Petersen." Let this knowledge haunt you as you peruse them!
2 packages thawed broccoli, chopped
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup butter or margarine
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 16 oz. jar of Cheez Whiz
3 cups Minute Rice
Fold together, place in cake pan or glass baking dish. Cover with crushed saltine or Ritz crackers. Cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
SQUISHY.African Chow Mein
1 can cream of mushroom soup1 can chicken wild rice soup
2 cans water
1 ½ lb. Hamburger
1 onion or more
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup raw rice
1 to 2 tablespoons Soy sauce
Brown meat, onion and celery. Combine with remaining ingredients. Bake in slow oven at least 1 hour at 350. Slower baking is better. Cover top with chow mein noodles the last 15-20 minutes.
THIS IS NEITHER AFRICAN NOR CHOW MEIN.Mexican chicken casserole
1 chicken (cooked)1 dozen tortillas
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 grated onion
1 can green chili salso [sic]
1 lb. Shredded cheese
Cut and cube chicken. Cut tortillas into small pieces. Combine soups, milk, onion, and salso [sic]. Put 2 tablespoons chicken broth—You know what? That's really all you need to know. I mean, cream of mushroom soup, in Mexican food? On what unholy plane does that make sense? OH MY GOD THE HUMANITY.
So there you have it: Hotdish 101. Join us for the next exciting installment, which will appear when you least expect it, and may or may not contain games and activities. I like to keep things unpredictable, to keep you off balance. It's all part of my