It’s one of our most popular menus of the year at Calvary Lutheran Church when Pizza Ranch brings us their Crispy Ranch Chicken. Our kitchen volunteers will provide the homemade Cheesy Church Potatoes and Salad Bar to round out the meal. For dessert, we’ll have Ice Cream and other frozen dessert bars . Dinner is served from 4:45 to 6:15 pm, followed by worship, led by the Praise Band, at 6:30.
Sometimes politics and casseroles cross paths, and a friend at church shared this fun article with me about a campaign taking advantage of the Tater Tot Casserole to win over voters. A dedicated group of volunteers from Calvary Lutheran has been making our version of this casserole once a month for years down at the Cornerstone Rescue Mission. http://www.cornerstonemission.org/
Here’s our recipe for Tater Tot Casserole for a Crowd:
Tatertot Casserole: 400 servings (40 per 4”deep full size steamtable pan)
80 # ground beef, 90% lean
3 jars French onion soup base
Divide beef into 10 4” deep pans. Divide soup base evenly among pans and stir into beef. Brown in convection oven set at 275* stirring often until browned, or brown on griddle or on stovetop in skillets.
To beef/soup mixture, add:
10 #10 cans green beans, drained
10 50 oz cans cream of tomato soup
10 50 oz cans cream of mushroom soup
Mix together and top casserole with:
40# tater tots
3 #10 cans cheddar cheese sauce (107 oz per can)
For each pan use:
8 # ground beef
1 can green beans
1 can tomato soup
1 can mushroom soup
4 # tater tots
32 oz cheddar cheese sauce
Bake for 1 hour at 350* uncovered. Stir and bake another 45 minutes. Cover with foil and bake another hour at 325*.
In case you can’t open it, I’ll do a little cutting and pasting of it here.
A Classic Midwestern Dish Becomes a Talking Point in Iowa
By Kim Severson
Hot dish, the Minnesota-specific church-supper stalwart that cooks in other parts of the country might mistake for a casserole, is no stranger to hard work.
Early versions of the dish — traditionally a mix of protein, starch and vegetables held together with a creamy sauce baked until it bubbles — helped conserve meat during World War I and fed farm families during the Depression. Topped with Tater Tots or mixed with rice, more modern renditions offer working parents an inexpensive way to get dinner on the table after a long day.
Now, hot dish has been conscripted to help Amy Klobuchar, the senator from Minnesota, win the Democratic nomination for president.
In a series of events that began in New Hampshire last summer and continued this month in Iowa, Ms. Klobuchar has been feeding her recipe, blanketed in Tater Tots, to voters at gatherings the campaign calls Hot Dish House Parties.
The actual making of the hot dish, however, falls to campaign workers. In Iowa, that worker is Andy McGuire, 63, a physician who is also the state campaign chairwoman.
Hot dish has as many variations as there are cooks. Dr. McGuire has made her own version for years, using frozen mixed vegetables, onions, hamburger and condensed cream of mushroom soup, which some Midwestern cooks affectionately call “the Lutheran binder.” It’s topped with Tater Tots.
The senator’s recipe omits the frozen vegetables, adds garlic and tucks the Tater Tots between two layers of shredded pepper Jack cheese.
Here’s our recipe for another good hot dish, the Cheesy Church Potatoes (Hashbrown Casserole), that we’ll be serving this week.
Calvary’s Cheesy Church Potatoes
Makes 30 half size disposable steamtable pans, 20 servings/pan
120# shredded hashbrowns (24 5# bags), thawed
8# melted butter
12 50 oz cans cream of chicken soup
10# cheese, grated cheddar
18# sour cream
8# diced onions (4 2# bags frozen onions), thawed
16 Tbsp salt (1 cup)
Divide above ingredients into 12 batches: Each batch will fill 2 1/2 pans and make about 50 servings
2 bags hashbrowns (5# per bag)
2/3 # melted butter
1 50 oz can cream of chicken soup
3/4# grated cheese
1 ½# sour cream
2/3# diced onions
1 1/3 TBSP salt
Bake pans covered at 350*, stirring once after about an hour. Cook for about another 45 minutes covered. Stir again, and top with cornflake mixture. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes uncovered until browned.
Topping Mixture for 30 pans:
60 cups crushed cornflakes (about 4 34 oz bags)
4# melted butter