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Not your grandmother’s casseroles

By Jessie Price, October 12, 2010 - 10:00am

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Jessie asks: What is your favorite hotdish/casserole recipe?


I was stunned to read the description of my childhood favorite meal, tater tot casserole, in your October issue. It was surreal. I grew up in Oshkosh, WI, and even in my new home, Madison, WI, no one seems to have eaten casseroles. We ate them almost every night of the week. However, we were German Lutherans, which may be why we never used the word hotdish.

My second favorite meal was pan-fried pork chops placed in a baking pan, then topped with ice cream scoops of a quick stuffing made of diced wheat bread. A sauce of thinned cream of chicken soup was poured overall. The casserole was baked until the stuffing was cooked through and the sauce was bubbly.

For another chop casserole, Mom sprinkled raw rice and sliced onions and carrots over the chops. Then leftover gravy from an earlier pot roast or beef stew was poured over. This was baked until the rice was cooked.

Another variation topped the chops with hashbrowns, cheese, and cream of mushroom soup.

Another favorite casserole was made by tossing cooked egg noodles with canned tomatoes and scissors-snipped pieces smokey links which had been pan-browned. The casserole was topped with buttered bread crumbs and baked until it was heated through and the topping was browned and crispy.

Thanks for this surreal experience and the resulting trip down memory lane.


10/23/2010 - 10:10pm

It's funny, I picked "Eating Well" as one of 5 blogs to follow for a class I'm taking and was surprised and pleased to see you as the author of the article I linked to today! I won't expose either of us online, but I am a college alum with you and yours. Saw you from afar at the reunion. I hope all is well with you both! -Sarah M.


10/14/2010 - 7:31pm

Macaroni Casserole - 1 lb box of large maccaroni or penne, cooked firm, according to package directions, 2 cans stewed tomatoes (chop them up a bit), 3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, salt & pepper to taste, 5 (or more) slices of bacon. Mix pasta, tomatoes & cheese together in a 13 x 9 pan, add salt and pepper to taste. Lay bacon slices on top (as many as will fit). Bake @ 350 degrees until bacon is browned & cheese is melted, about 35 minutes. Horrifically fattening, this dish is strictly occasional comfort-food. .


10/12/2010 - 4:27pm

The pictured recipe is Broccoli, Beef & Potato Hotdish (


10/12/2010 - 3:13pm

what is the recipe in the photo i want it

Lyn Thomas


10/12/2010 - 2:17pm

Wow being from Minnesota, I have so many. I love tater tot hotdish!! My kids love sliced potatoes with hamburger, cream corn, regular corn, and cream of mushroom soup. Many of our hotdishes don't have a name given to them. (perhaps why we say we will bring a hotdish). Hotdishes are so easy to create choose what you like and lump it together and bake! LOL Great comfort food!!


10/12/2010 - 1:21pm

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