Minnesota Wild Rice Hotdish

Minnesota is know for a lot of things, some of them nice — its beautiful springs, summers and falls  and some not so nice  its long and sometimes brutal winters. One of the more appealing of aspect of the Gopher state, of which I am proud to call my home, is wild rice.

I’ve been acquainted with the aquatic cereal grain for some time now, and its appeal for me grows all the time. The other day, while visiting with my brothers Kevin and Chuck and my sister-in-law Lynn, the subject of wild rice came up. Kevin said he loved the wild rice hotdish that Lynn makes.

wildrice1Lynn commented that she’d been eating it since she was a kid, which isn’t surprising, since her mother is from Mahnomen, Minn., in the heart of wild rice country.

That got me in search of a simple recipe, which follows, and one that anyone who tries it is sure to enjoy.

Minnesota Wild Rice Hotdish
1 pound ground beef
1 cup celery, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
1 cup wild rice, well rinsed
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups cold water
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small can mushrooms (optional)
Soak wild rice overnight. Brown ground beef, celery and onion in butter in large cast iron skillet. Drain and rinse wild rice and mix with other ingredients. Add to the ground beef mixture. Cook for 1 hour or so and then serve.

Pad Thai

There is no shortage of Oriental eateries these days, as people’s appetite for food from that part of the world seems to be growing as fast as the globe’s population.

stirfryAnd for that matter, a lot of cooks have taken up woks and added that genre of cooking to their culinary repertoire. In a lot of households, chopsticks are as common as knives and forks.

That’s the way it is in our house. We often have stir-fry, relying on fresh garden veggies during the summer and a greater selection of produce at supermarkets during the winter months.

One of our favorite dishes is Pad Thai, which until a year or so ago, we had to go out to one of our favorite restaurants to find. Now, Therese has a wonderful take on the entree, which I would put up against that of any eating establishment.

Pad Thai
4 to 6 ounces chicken, seafood or tofu
1 bell pepper, cut into slices
1 zucchini, sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 teaspoons of Maesri Pad Thai sauce (without peanuts)
1 heaping tablespoon of Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 package Thai brand stir-fry rice noodles
3 slices bacon, chopped
½ cup peanuts, chopped
Lime wedges
Precook small pieces of meat, chicken, tofu or seafood and set aside. Stir-fry the vegetables with bacon. Don’t overcook. (Don’t use broccoli or cauliflower.)
Add the Pad Thai, Hoisin and soy sauces along with the vinegar to the cooked vegetables. Add the cooked rice noodles to the pan and stir until they are mixed in and coated with sauce. Serve with chopped peanuts and lime wedges.



Chow Mein Noodle Hotdish

Hotdishes or casseroles have long been a favorite in a lot of families. They are particularly popular in households where both parents work because they are so easy to put together and take less than an hour of baking time in the oven.

hotdishI’ve always been a big fan of hotdishes. My mom had three or four different kinds that she made for us. One of my favorites is the kind that contained hamburger, rice, a cream soup and chow mein noodles.

When recently looking through some of Mom’s old recipes, the following immediately caught my attention. It brought back lots of fond memories.

So, with nothing else on the front burner for supper that day, I decided to give the recipe a try. And it couldn’t have turned out any better.

Chow Mein Noodle Hotdish

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
½ cup cooked rice
1 10¾-ounce can cream of chicken soup
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
6 ounces chow mein noodles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes. Add the onion and celery and sauce 5 more minutes.
In a separate medium bowl, combine rice, soup, water and soy sauce. Mix together well and add to the beef mixture. Place this into a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with chow mein noodles.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.
Yield: Serves 4.