I recently went to potluck with co-workers, and when I asked what I could bring this was the email I received:
Hi Meghan – I’m making my famous green chile stew, but we could use another main dish. Can you bring a Midwestern casserole (I think you call it hotdish). Ann [another coworker who is from Iowa] puts tater tots in hers. Your choice though – whatever you want to bring is great.
Well, being the good Minnesotan that I am, I couldn’t deny this guy and my other coworkers Midwestern casserole.
For those of you who don’t know what hotdish is (this surprises me because it’s so common where I come from, but even my very own husband had never heard of hotdish before he met me), Wikipedia defines hotdish as:
Hotdish is a variety of baked casserole that typically contains a starch, a meat or other protein, and a canned and/ or frozen vegetable, mixed together with canned soup. The dish is popular in Minnesota. (You can read the full entry here.)
The thing is, though, I didn’t have my own recipe for hotdish. GASP! I know! I thought about looking online or in my Minnesota State Fair recipes book, but recipes that call for a can of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom or cream of anything gross me out to no end. I just couldn’t stomach the thought of mixing cans of soup with noodles and topping with tots. Eeeew!
So, here is a healthier version of hotdish with whole ingredients and no cans of cream of anything! I used a recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook - hippie hotdish as Andrew calls it - and added a Minnesotan touch of potato chips on top. It was a big hit at the potluck, and I had enough to make a second smaller casserole, which I served to some other Midwesterners who practically licked their plates. I’d say my first attempt at hotdish was a success.
Broccoli Mushroom Noodle Hotdish
adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook
1 1-lb (or 12 oz) package wide flat egg noodles
2 Tbs butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped onion
1 large bunch fresh broccoli, chopped
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
½ tsp salt
Fresh black pepper to taste
3 eggs, beaten
3 cups (1 ½ lbs) cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ cups fine bread crumbs
1 cup (packed) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed potato chips (preferably with ridges)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking pan (I had enough filling for a 6x6 baking pan too). Cook noodles until half done. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; add onions and garlic and sauté until soft. Add broccoli, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Stir frequently until broccoli is bright green and just tender. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, cottage cheese and sour cream. Add noodles, sautéed vegetables and 1 cup of bread crumbs. Mix well. Spread into prepared pan and top with remaining bread crumbs, shredded cheese and crushed potato chips. Bake covered for 30 minutes; uncovered for 15 minutes.