Hooked on Hotdish Casseroles

By Jessie Price, "Hooked on Hotdish," September/October 2010

Find out how we took on the classic make-ahead casseroles of the Midwest hotdish and gave them a fresh, lighter, EatingWell spin from wild rice to Tater Tots.

It was time to start slimming down these dishes. I wanted to try another classic, wild rice and chicken casserole, but I skipped the canned soup and made up a quick light, creamy sauce instead. That opened the floodgates. I realized rules were made to be broken and if I wanted to lighten them all, use fresh vegetables, skip potato chip toppings or never use canned soup, that was just fine. It was hard to go wrong and, frankly, I was hooked on hotdish.

When I talked with the EatingWell Test Kitchen team about developing these recipes, we knew we probably wouldn’t follow all the hotdish rules, but I’m pretty sure the recipes we developed are just right. They’re healthier, with fewer processed ingredients, and use homemade sauces instead of canned soup. They’re easy to put together, they can be made ahead and taken along, and many can be popped in the freezer and reheated later. And most of all, they taste like rich, satisfying comfort in a casserole dish. Perhaps next time I see the relatives in Minnesota, we’ll share one of these hotdishes together.

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