Hunk of Meat Monday: Cheeseburger Fries Hotdish

Tonight I wrote out every basketball game that we have beginning this week through February. Add an upcoming vacation along with holidays I realize my cooking is going to become hurried but I still need a plan for a few family meals a night. I was looking through past blog posts tonight for some Hunk of Meat Monday inspiration and came across this one that I am re-posting for Cheeseburger Fries Hotdish which our kids love. If you aren’t from the upper Midwest you would call it a casserole. But we eat hotdish through all seasons but especially on chilly nights and of course they are stand-by staples on busy nights too.

Miss E loves to help me cook. (Note: That is not blood on her nose. It is a heart shaped sticker that she proudly placed there herself.)
One evening this week she was concocting her own recipe which was peanut butter mixed with honey. Her recipe was going smooth until she grabbed some apple cider vinegar and dumped that in and then she didn’t think it was so yummy. 
I intervened and said she could help me cook. I had the ingredients out to make a new Pioneer Woman recipe but Miss E overruled and said she wanted hotdish.
Now I learned as a freshman in college that people in other parts of the world don’t eat hotdish. My roommate from Georgia and suitemates from Ohio and New York were clueless to hotdish. They make and eat casseroles but were in the dark to hotdishes. In the dark until I gave them a good hotdish education.
You see on the prairie we eat hotdish as a family meal, at church potlucks and every funeral has an array of hotdishes. The term casserole is used in our vocabulary. It is mainly a pan or dish that you could put your hotdish in or sometimes a casserole is a side dish to a main meal. But hotdishes are not the same as casseroles on the prairie. 
Hotdishes mostly contain meat, a frozen or canned vegetable, maybe an onion or onion powder, salt and pepper, creamed of something condensed soup like chicken, mushroom or celery (I buy low fat and sodium versions) and then a starch such as pasta like bowties, elbow macaroni or rice or potatoes. 
I try to be a “healthy as possible” cook so I use whole-wheat pasta and brown rice whenever possible. My kids have no idea how much fiber and whole grain I am sneaking into their diet. 
Meat, vegetable, soup, starch. There you have hotdish. It is a main course and served in every household and church I have ever known across the upper Midwest which are most middle class, average American families. We’re simple, hotdish eating people.
Somewhere there is a hotdish/ casserole border crossing. 
I think it is dotted through Nebraska into Iowa up into Wisconsin. Nowhere south of that crossing do they make hotdish. My colleagues in Kansas City…they knew nothing of hotdish until I shared a hotdish education with them. 
I know Martha Stewart…east coast gal would never know hotdish. She also would never cook with condensed soups like we do.
Needless to say, Miss E is not going to be Martha. At least she won’t learn from me.
As I have been trying to broaden my cooking skills, E likes the old stand-bys like Nana’s hotdishes. 
So we whipped up one Hunter and E’s favorites recipes we got from Nana. We made Cheeseburger Fries Hotdish instead of my planned Pioneer Woman meal
E stirred together a cup of milk with a can each of Golden Mushroom and Cheddar Cheese Campbell’s soups while I browned two pounds of extra lean ground beef, adding some onion and garlic to it for flavor.
Go onto Google and simple type in Cheeseburger Fries Casserole and you will get similar recipes to what we made. Only we add a couple additional ingredients at the end that I will show you.
Meat, milk, soups, french fries. Bake.
Hotdish of all types are simple, easy and yummy which is just what we need at times to create a family meal. 
The last ten minutes you top with cheese, bacon (bake it ahead of time in the oven for 20 minutes at 325F, soak up fat with paper towels) and pickles. 
I threw in a steam bag of fresh green beans into the microwave while this was finishing so we had more than pickles as our vegetable. 
Miss E thinks she is quite the cook. Even if Martha doesn’t think it is gourmet, we are fed and happy eating hotdish, not a casserole, on the prairie.

Is it hotdish or casserole in your neck of the woods?

I’m linking this up today with Miss Leah of Beyer Beware’s Hunk of Meat Monday. If you’re sick of turkey leftovers like we are this is a great place to find new recipes to kick off your cooking this week. I’ll have a few winners to share tomorrow with cookbook gifts for anyone who linked up leftover turkey recipes or other holiday recipes to share.
Hunk of Meat Mondays

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Comments

  1. I was introduced into the world of hotdishes when I married my husband 37 years ago. He is from the UP of Michigan. So I know what hotdish is, but anyone here in my town in Ohio, has no idea what I am talking about.

  2. I’m in the Northeast corner of Nebraska and it’s called Casserole around here for the most part, but you don’t have to go very far north to run into hotdish. We’re close enough to the dotted line that we know it as both, but only use “casserole”.

  3. Always nice to learn something new.
    I only know casserole, too.
    And your dish is very similar to what I am making tonight.
    Only difference is I am using tater tots and regular (condensed) mushroom soup.
    I’m glad we don’t cook like Martha. ;-)

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