Tasting The States: Minnesota Hotdish

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

So, in the midst of my "copious" free time, I had an epiphany.

Get ready for this, kids. Don't try to stop me. Don't you dare try to stop me.

As much as I would like to, Timothy and I, in our lowly actor life, just don't have the funds to travel the world. We don't even the funds to travel to every state in this dear country we call the United States. And everyone who is anyone knows that the best part of traveling (aside from the "sights to give you shivers") is the food.

So, lightbulb. Why not make the signature dishes of all 50 states here at home? I spent about an hour and a half (maybe more) rigorously researching the most iconic cuisines of each and every state and compiled them into a glorious Wunderlist. No really... I did this. This happened.

Reason #7,952 why my husband is perfect? While I was at work Monday, I asked the hubs what was for dinner. The reply: Minnesota Hotdish! Thank you, Timothy for supporting my culinary exploits and turning them into a reality. So, here it is. Day one of Tasting The States and another chance for me to practice my food photography! :)

Minnesota Hotdish
// Ingredients //
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (16-ounce) package frozen peas (The recipe actually calls for frozen veggies. We had peas on hand)
1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup (4-ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 (32-ounce) package frozen tater tots (thawed)

// Directions //
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Brown ground beef, salt and onion in a skillet over medium heat and drain.
3. Spray 8x8 glass baking dish and spoon in ground beef.
4. In a small bowl combine soup and milk, mix well.
5. Layer frozen vegetables, soup mixture and cheese over ground beef. Top with thawed tater tots. Optionally: Top with more cheese (to your liking!).
6. Bake 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown.
Modified From MrFood.com

We loved this dish... although Timothy scoffed at its simplicity ("There were no spices!"). I am a sucker for a good ole church-goin'-potluck-casserole-Grandma-made-it kind of dish if for no other reason than it takes me back to countless holiday family reunions. I'm from North Carolina. I grew up on casseroles. Sure, I've learned the beauty of a b├ęchamel sauce and nixing the condensed soups and sure, this dish is SO not healthy. But, it's a midwestern go-to and I wanted to taste it. And it tasted great.

Are you from Minnesota? What do you enjoy eating? Are you from another state? What should we add to our "tasting the states" menu? Are you from another COUNTRY? Educate us! :)


  1. this idea is awesome!!!!! and i agree potluck grandma made dishes are the best, hands down.

    1. Thanks, lady! Aren't they the greatest? My grandma makes a bangin' potato casserole. I'm wondering why I haven't requested the recipe yet.

  2. Okay but what is the Nebraska dish?! I am dying to know.

    1. HA! (Puts on nerd glasses and professor jacket with elbow patches) Well, according to my research- it's a handheld meat pie. That's what she said? And ew. And that sounds supremely European and Sweeney Todd-y to me in the most tragic of ways. So, we'll see! :)

  3. this is such a cute idea! I don't really know what a casserole even tastes like, having grown up in a very health-conscious Canadian household.

  4. I am LOVING this idea!
    I lived in Minnesota for about a year, and I've yet to try a hotdish, but I'm moving back in a couple months, so I think I'll finally have to cave in and try some, it looks delicious.

  5. I can't even begin to tell you how in love I am with this post. I LOVE THIS IDEA. You must post your whole list so the masses it can pin it and join in the fun! I'm always all about the food. Have I mentioned that I love this idea?
    AND...I'm totally digging your little Minnesota art by the dish. Can't wait to see the other 49 dishes!

  6. O this is such a good idea! If you need any Canadian dishes I can send them your way!


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