Unheralded

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Ham And Cheese Casserole

Ham and cheese is the perfect pairing. You might say the two are a match made in heaven. From a ham and cheese sandwich to a ham and cheese omelet to a ham and cheese pizza, this combination is a love affair that knows no bounds. But let me pitch another entree featuring this deliciuous duo: ham and cheese casserole. The …


Unheralded

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Grandma’s Hotdish

I remember a couple of years ago, when my stepdaughter, Jessica, called from Cincinnati to get a recipe. My granddaughter, Naomi, wanted hotdish — the way Grandma makes it. Back when we were both still working, Therese used to make the tasty hotdish for our grandson, Rakeem, on Tuesdays, when I worked from 4 p.m. to midnight. In retirement, we continue …


CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole

Cabbage is a pretty popular vegetable among gardeners. It’s also one that knows no ethnic boundaries. For example, Germans and Koreans love fermented cabbage. In Germany, it’s called sauerkraut. In Korea, it’s kimchi. The Irish have a favorite dish, colcannon, which traditional dish of mashed potatoes mixed with boiled cabbage or kale and either bacon or ham. And Cabbage rolls are …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Cajun Three-Cheese Macaroni and Smoked Sausage

It’s hard to go wrong with mac ‘n’ cheese. That’s a saying that’s probably been said by many a mom when they’ve been contemplating what to make their kids for supper. One of the nicest things about this classic comfort food is that there are so many variations a cook will never run out options. Therese is generally the mac …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Green Bean Chicken Hotdish

People who love hotdish or casserole usually have a preference if given a choice between rice and pasta. But there others like me who relish the taste of both. When it comes to the former, a combination of long grain and wild rice — Uncle Ben’s and Rice A Roni are two examples — is my favorite. However, when I have a recipe …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Mozzarella And Beef Layered Hotdish

What would you call a dish that’s a cross between a casserole and lasagna, two of the ultimate comfort foods? That’s a tough one, for which I haven’t come up with an answer. But there are three things that I do know: Some of these concoctions can be very nutritious, mighty tasty and pretty easy to make. The last quality is important for working parents who have …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Wild Rice Hotdish

Anyone who’s grown up in Minnesota or North Dakota doesn’t need to be told about the role of hotdish in Midwest culture. Not only are they easy to make, hotdishes also are the perfect fare for events such as family reunions, funerals, church suppers and potlucks. A good example of how popular and diverse they are is the annual hotdish-making competition hosted by Sen. Al …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Hotdish Heaven

Anyone who grew up in the Midwest knows about hotdishes. And if you’re from Minnesota, you probably know that more than most. Perhaps, that’s the reason Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken started the Minnesota congressional “Hotdish Off” back in 2011. Wednesday, the Minnesota delegation took part in the fifth annual event in Washington, D.C. And this year, Rep. Betty McCollum …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Baked Tortellini Casserole

There’s no doubt that Italians know a lot about pasta. In fact, pasta might be a food that Italians know more about than pizza or tomato sauce, both of which have a relatively recent history. Despite what you may have learned in history class, Marco Polo did not discover pasta in China and bring it back to Italy in the …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Ham Tetrazzini

There’s more to leftover baked ham than sandwiches, bean soup and egg bakes. That’s not to say those aren’t great choices for the tasty remains of your Easter dinner’s main course. I know, those are three of my favorite things to make when we have leftover ham. Another is boiled dinner, which also contains potato, rutabaga, carrots, cabbage and a …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Tater Tot Hotdish

Kids love tater tots. That’s a given. So it probably goes without saying that a hotdish or casserole that contains tater tots would be popular the youngsters. But it’s not just kids who love tater tots. Whenever I’ve mentioned them to friends or former co-workers, just about all of them rave about a favorite tater tot dish. I remember a …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Friendship Hotdish

Cooking for friends or family who are sick or are grieving the death of a loved one is probably a familiar act to a lot of us. I think many people who live around here in our rural communities can relate. It’s one of those things that is unique to small-town life. Over the years, I’ve delivered food many times …

Chef Jeff: One Byte At A Time — Smoked Chicken Casserole

One thing was for sure when I was growing up: We could always count on having a noodle hotdish at least once a week, whether it was at home or for school hot lunch. And a lot of people I know share the same experience. The reasoning was twofold: It was inexpensive and you were able to put one together in a hurry, …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Shrimp And Crab Casserole

People who grew up in the ’60s and ’70s ate a lot of casseroles. I know because that’s my generation. I can’t vouch those who came later but suspect that’s also the case for them. We used to have casseroles — or hotdishes as they are called around here — for school hot lunch and at home when I was a …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Not Your Mom’s Casserole

Casseroles are a mom’s best friend. They can be made in a jiffy, usually contain some nutritious ingredients and generally are loved by kids. I know that casseroles — or as we called them hotdish — were a favorite of mine and my brothers as kids. And it didn’t matter what kind Mom made. My favorites were her tuna hotdish, …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Tater Tot Hotdish

Most kids like pasta, be it in spaghetti, lasagna or a good casserole. And not many of them would turn up their noses at a good hotdish that contains pasta, either. For that matter, the same goes for adults. Show me anyone who doesn’t like a pasta hotdish, and I’ll show you a picky eater. Take my grandson, for example. He loves his …