Friday, January 28, 2011

Miss Hot Dish

It all began two years ago.... when my book club was reading a book --I can't remember the name of it--but it  used the phrase "congealed salad".  Now I know that in the South they still use the phrase "congealed", and rightly so.    Anything made with Knox gelatin is, let's face it, congealed.
It just sounds funny to our Western ears.  In making fun of ourselves and to not offend our Southern friends--I will admit we are a little adolescent out here.  We laugh over stupid stuff--and congealed just sounds funny.  (yes, we probably need to grow up, but to be fair, we laugh at ourselves too.), so we had a book club meeting and  a congealed salad cook-off.   We elected a Miss Congealdiality--just for fun--gave her an old  "Joys of Jello" cookbook, a sash, and a great time was had by all.  (and some of the salads were YUM-MEE!)

Fast forward to last night.  We decided to have a "Hot Dish" party.  In honor of our Midwest friends who bring "a dish to pass" or a "hot dish" to a get together.  We in the west bring casseroles.
BUT AGAIN--a good time was had by all.  We elected a "Miss Hot Dish" and ate some good casseroles, and drank some wine, and at the end of all that we then discussed  "To Kill a Mockingbird"  for over 2 hours.  It was a great evening.  I Love my bookclub(s)!

The Hot Dish (Totally Lit Book Club) evening gave me a chance to use another recipe in my very own Cookbook Notebook ---recipes I've  been saving and collecting for over 30 years.   I can't bring myself to part with old recipes, even if I am never going to use them again, except in instances such as this.  They do bring back memories tho---memories of when we were young and had no money and had 3 kids to feed---ahhhh, those were great times (we just didnt' know it then.)
The casserole I made has no name.  I received it from a friend, Susie Taylor, about 25 years ago.  I'm sure she took it from the back of  a Hillshire Farm's Smoked Sausage package.  It has all the ingredients of a traditional "hot dish",   noodles, soup, sour cream--comfort food at its best!  I haven't made it for at least 15 years.  Hmmm, and it took a book club for me to dust off the recipe card and bring it back.  The Handyman couldn't even remember which casserole I was talking about, until he tasted it and said,  "oh yeah, I remember now.  It's good, I like it."

So, here it is  (and I'm not saying that it's the best thing ever, I'm saying it's a blast from my past and it was good),  the 10th runner up out of 12 hot dishes  (I really don't know where I placed, but there were a lot of good hot dishes there)......
....Debbie's Hot Dish.

Oh wait, you want to know who won? Who is Miss Hot Dish of the Totally Lit Book Club?    Our own,  Miss Jean Pfarr with her mom's homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole   (with some tomatoes on top). 
Or maybe it wasn't her mother's recipe, because Jean used Gruyere instead of the basic cheddar, and added the tomatoes.  She updated and old classic and won!  
 Jean, a nutritionist by trade (I wonder how she reconciled eating all these soup, sour-cream, cheese laden casseroles this evening? ) was given her sash and we sang the  the traditional  "There she is--Miss Hot Dish"  song to the tune of Miss America.  And, as I said, a GREAT time was had by all.

And now.... Debbie's Hot Dish....from her very own collection of recipes scribbled on the back of envelopes found in her purse, torn out of magazines in doctors offices, and discovered in the bottom of her grandmother's  junk drawer.

Sausage Hot Dish

1 package curly noodles --cooked according to package directions
1 can  cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Swiss cheese--grated
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 lb Hillshire farm smoked sausage--sliced
1/2 tsp dill
salt and pepper

Mix all together and bake at 350 until hot...about 30 minutes.

Photo Gallery

Miss Congealdiality 2009,  our friend Cindy  Ulch. 
Her winning dish?  Tomato Aspic.  Full of shrimp and all kinds of spicy goodness.

and The Congealed Salads!

January 2011--Miss Congealdiality takes her final walk--around the kitchen--before giving up her title. 

The anticipation of waiting---who will be Miss Hot Dish?

(oops--picture taken after Miss Hot Dish has her sash, not the anticipation, but rather the disappointment of being losers :~)

Our 2011 Queen of the Kitchen--Miss Hot Dish, Jean Pfarr!

(and the sign said,  when I said to bring a hot dish, I didn't mean the green bean casserole!)

And our 1st runner up, who, if for any reason Jean cannot fulfill her reign as Miss Hot Dish,  will accept the duties and responsibilities that come with the sash,  Di An Putnam!!  With her Chicken Tortilla Casserole.

The Hot Dishes

(yes, my friends are all HOT DISHES)

and now the food....

The end.


MM said...

Hot dishes, indeed!

Love the Miss Congealdiality award.

I have to say that the term "congealed salad" always turned my stomach!

Kate said...

I had never heard the phrase "hot dish" until my daughter married a young man from MN. I remember saying..."Oh, casserole!" The mac and cheese sounds wonderful...a winning combo. Sounds as though you guys had a great evening!

Karen said...

Looks like everybody had a blast!

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