My mother grew up in Minnesota, the home of the "Hotdish," although folks from North Dakota might argue with me on that one. Mom was a wonderful cook and had a slew of recipes up her sleeve. Many of them were very healthy and nutritious, but once in a while, especially after she returned to work as an RN, even she resorted to the ease and versatility of a hotdish.
Now, you may have grown up with a mom that made a mean "casserole," but that would be your sign that she did not come from the Midwest and probably did not grow up Lutheran. You see, the hotdish is the staple of all church potlucks in the Midwest and every good Lutheran wife and mother had several good hotdish recipes she could make without even glancing at a recipe card (or the church cookbook). I actually looked up the definition of "hotdish" and this is what it said,
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 with canned soup. The dish is popular in Minnesota and North Dakota.
As this definition described, the hotdish is pretty versatile because all you have to do is arrive at some combination of a cooked meat, a starch like noodles or rice or potatoes, maybe a vegetable or two, and the best binder of all, cream of mushroom soup! Not much to it, unless you want to get just a little fancy, like mom's recipe for Shrimp and Tuna Hotdish.
Why is this one a little fancy? Well, because it contains shrimp for one thing, and fresh diced green peppers and slivered almonds....yep, that's all it needs to be considered fancy! Mom liked to make this one because she could put it together the night before (or early in the morning), pop it in the oven for an hour when she got home from work and voila, dinner! And...we all liked it!
A close friend of mine and I were talking about the meals our moms use to cook that we missed and loved, and this Shrimp and Tuna Hotdish came to mind. I used to make it often when we were first married (one of the few, very few, things I knew how to cook!), but I hadn't made it in years. Digging out the recipe, I put it together early in the morning and just popped it in the oven an hour before dinner...easy, peasy! My husband actually likes most hotdishes, which is a good thing. As the smell of this hotdish filled the kitchen, I was transported back to our home that I lived in the longest over on Sunnyside hill in Lake Stevens and memories of mom in her kitchen flooded my thoughts. Still miss her so much...
So, if you are looking for something easy to throw together for dinner before a busy work day, and you like tuna and shrimp, give this recipe a try!
Shrimp and Tuna Hotdish
1 can baby shrimp
1 can tuna
1 cup raw rice
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced green pepper
1 cup chopped fresh or canned mushrooms
1 cup diced onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup Miracle Whip (yes, Miracle Whip!)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup to 1 cup slivered almonds (Of course!)
Mix the shrimp, tuna, rice, veggies, and half the almonds in a bowl. Mix the milk, cream of mushroom soup, Miracle Whip, and salt together and add to the first mixture. Spread in a casserole dish or pyrex pan after spraying it with Pam or Coconut oil, sprinkle the remaining almonds on top, and let stand. (Can be made ahead the night before or morning and baked later in the day for supper.) Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until the top is browned and a little crunchy. Welcome to a taste of Minnesota!
Just to support my case that Minnesota is the home of the hotdish, I found this T-shirt you can order on Zazzle!
Have a wonderful weekend, friends! I'm off to a Women's Retreat outside of Leavenworth...maybe I'll tell you all about it next week. Warmly, Gracia