In the last few weeks, I’ve anticipated fall best described as “like an awkward, giddy 6th grader waiting for a phone call from her new BF.” Literally though, if it were fall all year round, I would only be very mildly upset, which is actually really really happy. Trees, leaves, pumpkins, fires, layers–so many layers. Layers on people, layers on beds, layers on lattes, layers on pie, layers of hotdish…
… magical, magical hotdish.
Not living in Minnesota at this time of the year is weird. By weird I mean, I’ve had to explain “hotdish” to a staggering number of people replying with skepticism, blank stares, and borderline judgmental nods.
“Sooooo what makes hotdish different from casserole?”
EVERYTHING DAMMIT, EVERYTHING. But mainly love, creativity, a dash of Minnesota nice.
The most magical thing about hotdish you ask? The fact that you can literally throw a bunch of stuff in a 9×13″ glass pan, toss it gingerly into the oven and call it a masterpiece. There are real recipes; likely the most popular being Tator Tot Hotdish. If you haven’t had it, click this link and make this recipe (or one like it). If you don’t like what Tator Tot Hotdish has to offer, I’ll pray for you.
Chrystal, my lovely stepmom, grew up in Wisconsin and is a hotdish master. The kind I grew up eating and am extremely fond of is Crescent Roll Hotdish. Yes it’s actually a real life recipe so click this link and quit scowling now. Following her footsteps, I have taken liberties in eyeballing and customizing recipes, and I did that for this one especially. In hopes of making hotdish “skinny” (I don’t actually know if that’s an achievable thing) I made some replacements for the recipe…
- GROUND BEEF: Sure, ground beef is great. Yeah, go cows. But ground turkey, to me, actually tastes 102% more delicious than ground beef. Depending on how um.. *meaty* you want your hotdish to be, either use a pound or two pounds. I don’t measure portions by weight though, I just say hey, that container looks good. Let’s do that.
- TOMATO SAUCE: 1 jar. Do pasta sauce and do it right. Whatever kind of spaghetti sauce you like? Do that. I did an Onion and Sweet Basil somethin or another and it was prime. If you’re a big fan of veggies, do Chunky Garden– it won’t disappoint, I promise.
- VEGGIES: Now say you don’t do Chunky Garden tomato sauce because you love cheese and you needed 4 varieties in the sauce alone. Have no fear. The more non-meat you add to this beast, the more flavor it’s got. I added diced red pepper and red onion to the mix and have zero regrets over it. If you don’t add them, no one is judging. If you do add them, keep in mind that mushrooms exist and do a fabulous job of increasing the sass factor of pretty much any dish, especially this one.
- CHEESE: About 1 package. Duh. DUH. Coming from someone who is mildly lactose intolerant, DO NOT FORGET THE DAIRY. I compensated with myself in the cheese aisle and got the “Reduced Fat” cheese. HA! As long as it melts and winds up in my stomach, I’m regretfully happy. If you have better self control and self respect than I do, you can always skip the cheese entirely… but lets be real here– no one actually wants to do that.
- CRESCENT ROLLS: 2 packages. If you’re feeling gluttonous, get the extra flakey buttery goodness. I settled for the generic [cheap ass] reduced fat crescent rolls. Coming from a fatties point of view, the difference in flavor is really not that dramatic when mixed with all of the ingredients. So wipe that pool of sweat from your face and bite the bullet and try it.
- SOUR CREAM: About 8 oz. I’m a big fan of word play and puns. You’re gonna call the light sour cream “sour lean”? COUNT ME IN. COUNT ME IN ALL THE WAY.
- LOVE, CREATIVITY AND A DASH OF MINNESOTA NICE: This is a dash of whatever you want. I added crushed red pepper flakes because I’m addicted to them. I also added pepper, garlic salt, and a little dried basil.
Now that I’ve talked mindlessly about the simple ingredients you must pick up from the grocery store, I shall now go on to explain how to prepare this without paying much mind to the minute and meticulous details:
- Preheat the oven to 375ish.
- Brown the meat in a skillet with spices and stuff. Cook it all the way through… not trying to give anyone food poisoning here.
- Add tomato sauce and veggies.
- Pour and spread in 9×13″ pan.
- Cover contents with a sassy layer of cheese.
- Put a dollop of sour lean on base of crescent roll and then roll em up.
- Arrange sour creamy crescent rolls on the dish in the most visually appealing way.
- Put dish in the oven until crescent rolls are a supple shade of gold and then remove from oven.
- Fight with self to refrain from trying until dish cools off.
- EAT. REPEAT UNTIL GONE.
…then cry because it’s gone.
Here’s a sensual picture I took of my most recent CRHD fresh outta the oven:
This recipe is painfully easy, quick and delicious. Putting portions in tupperware immediately makes for great go to meals for someone living the bachelorette lifestyle like myself. Just don’t forget to eat them all because that would be sad.
To end yet another post full circle on the subject of poop… If all of my hype hasn’t sold you on hotdish, then you belong in a sewer with all the other turds in the world. SEE YA.