There are two words to describe what’s been going on in the Sweet Precision kitchen over the past week… hot dish. For those of you that aren’t Minnesotan, let me elaborate a little bit. A hot dish is a variety of baked casserole that typically contains a starch, a meat or other protein, canned or frozen vegetables, and canned soup. There’s absolutely nothing fancy about a hot dish casserole. Company won’t be impressed if you serve it to them for dinner, and your family will probably sigh with disappointment if you announce that it’s for dinner…again. I still cringe at the thought of the tater tot hot dish that frequented our school cafeteria menu when I was in college.
With all of this negative publicity, you’re probably wondering why anyone would ever bother baking a hot dish casserole. Let me provide you with a few potential situations. When it’s one of those nights you have no idea what to make from your leftovers—hot dish casserole comes to the rescue. If it’s time to clean out your cupboards and get rid of the canned veggies and soup that have taken up permanent residency—hot dish casserole comes to the rescue. Or maybe you simply want one big dish of something you can eat for the entire week—hot dish casserole comes to the rescue, again. That being said, when I decided it was time to do a little spring cleaning in my cupboards and wanted to make one big dish to eat for lunch the entire week, I knew exactly what I needed to bake. Enjoy the following recipe for a whole wheat pasta hot dish.
Hot Dish Casserole Recipe
Makes approximately 12 servings
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
3 cups whole wheat penne pasta, cooked
1 jar (24 ounces) spaghetti sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups corn, canned or frozen
Spices and herbs, as desired
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Brown meat in large skillet and drain. Add pasta, sauce, cheese, corn, and spices. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking dish. Top with some of the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
Variation and substitution is the key to an award winning hot dish. If you have some frozen veggies in the freezer don’t be afraid to throw them in. If you have spaghetti instead of penne pasta, no one will know you changed the recipe. You can even decide what type of cheese you like best in the recipe. There’s just no way you can go wrong when making a traditional Minnesotan hot dish!