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We have been talking about hotdishes and now we want to know what ingredients make the best hotdish recipes? Today, we are going to explore this a bit further and narrow down the pieces that can make or break great hotdish recipes. What we find today will help us make our best hotdish recipe in an upcoming post.

What Is A Hotdish?

In a previous post, we defined what a hotdish is and how it is different than a casserole. We also investigated the history of hotdish. Between the two posts, I think we can talk about the ingredients of hotdish and really make a recipe that is both tasty and respects the heritage of the dish. Here is our definition list that gives us the boundaries for making our great hotdish recipes:

  • Cream of something soup OR, less commonly, you may see a tomato base
  • Some kind of protein, with hamburger being the most common.
  • Vegetables, but they should be sized to fit in a spoon
  • A starch, generally pasta or potato. Also, sized to fit into a spoon
  • Optionally, cheese

Hotdish Strategy

I am going to take my research and apply my own nostalgia. I have fond memories of tater tot hotdish, so that is going to be the recipe that I am going to focus on. There are other kinds of hotdish, and we may make those, but I am going to focus in on the almighty tot.

For this deep dive, I think I am going to focus on two versions of the same dish. There will be the one that you might get at a church dinner, but then we are going to get a little fancy schmancy and work on our own ingredients.


A Tale Of Two Hotdishes and My Best Hotdish Recipes

We are going to go down two paths here. First, we are going to talk about hotdish and the canned recipes. Then, we are going to make a from scratch recipe.

One variation of hotdish recipes that have been prepared and scooped onto a white plate

Canned Best Hotdish Recipes

This is the kind of hotdish recipes that might be found on dinner tables throughout the Midwest. I am going to use can ingredients for this version and am going to have no shame about it. I am going to pick up a bag of tots and be done with it. To be honest, this kind of comfort and nostalgia food is what hotdish is to most people. Yes, it also serves a purpose of providing nourishment, but I think it can be more than that. It is the kind of food that brings people back to events and times in our lives.

Fresh Hotdish Recipe

For my best hotdish recipe, however, I am going to try and make the individual ingredients from scratch. We will try to come up with a good tater tot recipe from potatoes. We will make a homemade cream of mushroom soup that would be a good addition to homemade hotdish recipes and finally, we will use fresh vegetables as part of the mix.

Just as a disclaimer, I have never made tater tots before, so it will be interesting to see how this goes. I almost think they will have to be thrice cooked to make true tater tots. The kind that are crispy on the outside and soft inside. I think I have made a homemade cream of mushroom soup once before, but it was a long time ago. With what I am picturing in my mind, I can’t imagine that my recipe is going to be bad. There probably is going to be lots of cream and butter involved. My mouth is already watering.

My goal is to keep the spirit and tradition of the hotdish with my from scratch recipe while making sure to devote some time to the traditional canned product. Also, I am going to spend some time comparing the two dishes.

I am really excited to get started with making these recipes and please sign up to get post updates via email and follow me on Pinterest.


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