The weather has cooled, and it is September. While most Minnesotans are lamenting the return of the chilly weather I am excited, because it means the return of hotdish.
While some regions may refer to hotdish as casserole, that's just plain old wrong in Minnesota. Hotdish is an amazing standby that can feed dozens, freeze for months and, best of all, is CHEAP!
Standard hotdish is made of a starch, meat and usually some kind of canned soup mixed in. The reason that hotdish is more of a cold weather food is because it sits like a rock and must be baked. My favorite hotdish is tater tot hotdish which is made of tater tots, ground beef, canned cream of mushroom soup and if I want to pretend it's not a heart attack in a pan I add some frozen vegetables. Calhoun's favorite is pizza hotdish, which is made of egg noodles, canned tomato sauce, pepperoni, cheese and some herbs and spices.
The return of fall also marks our return to graduate school. I am in my last year of law school and Calhoun is starting his fifth year of a PhD program so we're a little busier come fall. Now, don't get me wrong, I could eat grilled meat and fresh vegetables all year but hotdish is the easy meal that my small family needs when we both go back to school. You'd be amazed at how much work can get done during the 60 precious minutes during which a hotdish is baking in the oven.
The other thing about hotdish that I must mention is in reference to a cookbook given to me by my mother-in-law. She collected recipes from family and friends and handed me an amazing three ring binder full of Calhoun's favorite foods, easy recipes and generally cheap eats. And the tab that is all hotdish is the most plentiful and well used portion of the cookbook.
I'm thinking it's hotdish tonight!