Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hot Dish Versus Casserole

and the winner is...well no winner since both are one in the same according to Wikipedia and online Merriam Dictionary.
According to Wikipedia hot dish is a baked casserole typically containing starch, a meat or other protein, a canned and or frozen vegetable mixed together with canned soup. Now get this and I quote...The dish is popular in Minnesota and it commonly appears at family reunions and church suppers. 
So as you know me being from this mid western state only confirms what I knew all along we reign as the queen of the hot dish/casserole.

Baked Beef Ravioli
Recipe adapted from BHG Ultimate Casserole
8 servings

I added cook’s notes for different ways to look at this recipe. If omit beef and just do cheese ravioli can have a meatless meal. A very simple recipe to put together in 25 minutes

  • 2 packages refrigerated cheese filled ravioli (could use ravioli that has sausage and beef as filling and then omit the ground beef from recipe)
  • 1 LB. ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1- 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes-basil/oregano
  • 1- 10.75 can condensed tomato soup (or use 2 cups prepared basil/tomato sauce)
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Prepare ravioli according to directions
  • Drain and set aside
  • Brown ground beef with chopped onion and garlic, drain
  • Add meat in pan, soup or pasta sauce, seasonings, and then fold in ravioli
  • Grease baking/casserole pan add ravioli mixture, add Parmesan cheese then add mozzarella cheese
  • Bake uncovered 30 minutes
I am always drawn to books that evoke strong women characters who overcome adversity and challenges . This book Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt did not disappoint me. 
In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant and mother of 8 children, Helga Estby was behind on taxes and the mortgage. At this time she learned a mysterious sponsor would pay $10,000 to a woman who would walk across America to New York. Hoping to win the wager and save her farm Helga  and her teenage daughter Clara set out on foot from Seattle to New York with only $5.00 and few personal belongings. They past through 14 states. Their treacherous and inspirational journey challenged contemporary notions of what women should do and captured public attention. As the story progresses we learn of the devastating consequences. 
What is so intriguing about this story is how the family years later united together silencing this chapter in their mother's lives. All personal papers/manuscripts and diaries were destroyed.
It was quite amazing that the author nearly a century later after encountering this extraordinary story sets out on a journey to recreate what actually occurred to Helga and her daughter. She was able to piece this chapter of their lives back together through  newspaper stories and conversations with relatives. I would like to add that Helga Estby's marriage began in a small town in Canby, MN. It was from a friend who grew up in this town I first learned of this unusual story.    

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