Thursday, April 18, 2024


I got into a discussion on Facebook yesterday about "hot dishes".

For those of you who might not be familiar with the term, it is essentially the same as "casseroles".

In other words a meal baked in one dish in the oven.

In Minnesota, from whence the FB discussion was referred, and North Dakota, where I grew up, hot dishes were the accepted term.

When someone died, friends and neighbors would bring a prepared hot dish to the door of the bereaved to pop into the oven.

Churches would have regular hot dish dinners, otherwise known as potlucks, where the parisioners would each bring their specialty for everyone to share.

In my house, I remember tuna fish and peas, with a topping of crushed Corn Flakes cereal.

Or goulash, originally a Hungarian dish, but in my mother's iteration  it was made with ground beef and some kind of tomato sauce, maybe tomato soup from a can.

One of the other participants in the discussion added "Everything with ground beef!" And Campbell's soup!"

I think Cream of Mushroom soup was the standard binder in those many simple recipes.

It wasn't fancy but it was darned tasty, as I remember it.

All of which was coincidental to what was going on in my kitchen yesterday.

SWMBO had mentioned a few days before about using some of that leftover Easter ham and some potatoes, which we always have in the pantry, to make a meal from the long ago past: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham!

Her recipe . . and, by the way, she's from Indiana . . included a can of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup!

It also had some grated cheddar cheese, in a nod to more modern cookery.

Here it is, fresh from the oven.

We found we no longer had the right sized glass dish so this "hot dish" was baked in a metal pan.

But the flavor was the same and I had "seconds".

Ain't nothin' wrong with home style cookin'.


  1. It looks good enough to eat! My mom made a tuna and noodle casserole, but no peas. My favorite cheesy potato dish is "funeral potatoes" made with frozen hash brown cubed potatoes, and cornflakes on top. Yes, I sometimes include a can of cream of mushroom soup.

  2. I grew up in Illinois where the term used was casserole. When I moved to Minnesota and used that term I was accused of being hoity toity since the term used there was hot dish.

    As a child my favorite was a layer of crushed potato chips topped with a layer of tuna and hard boiled eggs then cream of mushroom soup. Repeat the layers then top with a final layer of chips. Bake and serve.

    Linda Sand

  3. Whatever you call them, I generally like them as long as they have cheese. I love scalloped potatoes!

  4. That looks so a good way. I occasionally make a casserole but not as often as I did in the 70s. My mother's classic was tuna casserole, basically tuna, noodles and the quintessential cream of mushroom soup. And goulash, which was beens, ground beef, tomato sauce and rice. Still don't like it.

  5. Comfort food must be making the rounds. Yesterday I made a casserole with ham, potatoes, and broccoli florets. Mine had a white sauce with cheese sprinkled on top.

    1. Try that with a cheese sauce, where grated cheese is stirred into the cooked white sauce, then top with a bit of extra grated cheese.

  6. tc-Light/Breezes--Had never heard the term Hot Dish before, but it works. I think the current craze is "Skillet meals" a variation of the 1 pan meal. In fact I'm working on one now, Arroz Con Pollo-Puerto Rico style.

    1. Judy's working on her famous cheeseburgers with onions as the day fades into night. I'm into the vodka. Salud!

  7. That brings back memories. Especially Campbell's cream of mushroom soup. 😊

  8. I have never heard a casserole called a Hot Dish. To me a hot dish would mean something spicy, like a curry. I've read of potlucks in novels and seen them in movies, generally older American movies, Churches around here don't seem to do that sort of thing. Not that I know about anyway. Church doesn't seem to be as intertwined with daily life as the ones portrayed in movies and books.

  9. 'Casserole' is the term here. I make them regularly. The favorite here is actually a breakfast one, called 'strata'. Cubed stale bread, breakfast sausage, green peppers, onions, mushrooms if you like them, add an egg milk mixture, let sit in fridge over night, toss in the oven the next morning.

    1. One of our daughters makes a dish very similar to that and it's great.