Wild Rice Casserole

Tried and true family recipes, the ones that have been made for years and years, are priceless. My favorite recipes are those that have been passed on to me by my late mom.

wildricecasseroleI can’t begin to count how many of them that still grace our dining room table. Some of them were my grandmother’s recipes, such as the one for baked oysters that we have during the holidays. Or her one for pickled beets, which Mom and her family called Grandpa’s pickles, because they always were on the table when her Grandpa Burkhardt lived with them.

There also are a lot that I haven’t tried yet, such as Mom’s recipe for overnight buns, which were a favorite of ours when my brothers and I were growing up.

But it’s not just my mom’s or grandma’s recipes that have a special place in my heart. My Auntie Helen Tiedeman, who was married to my Uncle George, passed on several recipes that I love. Her recipe for barbecues (or Sloppy Joes) that were served at our school hot lunch for year, is among my favorites.

Recently, I tried another of Auntie Helen’s recipea. It’s for Wild Rice Casserole. (She called it dressing.) I made it for our upcoming elk hunting trip to Colorado. It was the first time I made it, but it won’t be the last. It’s really tasty.

Give it a try. I’m sure you’ll love it, too.

Wild Rice Casserole
1 cup wild rice, steamed 3 or 4 times
¾ pound pork sausage, browned
2 medium or 1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms
½ green pepper, diced
1 10¾-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sage
Saute onion and celery. Mix with other ingredients, including juice from mushrooms. Bake 30 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees and serve.

Chicken and Green Bean Casserole

It’s always a challenge to come up with new recipes with the same old ingredients. But all it take is a little imagination. That’s what I did the other day, and the results were beyond my expectations.

pheasantMy plan was to come up with something that combined chicken (in this case pheasant), potatoes and green beans, since I had all three of those ingredients on hand. What I had in mind was some sort of casserole.

Of course, I needed a sauce, and the combination of mayonnaise and cream of chicken soup was just the ticket. The recipe that follows is what I came up with. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken and Green Bean Casserole
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 14.5-ounce cans green beans
1 10.5-ounce can cream of chicken soup
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 to 10 small new potatoes, steamed
Red wine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly brown chicken breasts on both sides. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and set aside drippings.
Pour green beans (drained) into a 2-quart casserole dish. Place the chicken on top of the beans. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and cream of chicken soup along with the pan drippings. Place on top of the chicken and beans. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top.
Bake for 1 hour in preheated oven. Serve over steamed new potatoes.
Yield: Serves 4.

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.

Steak and Vegetable Layered Casserole

Layered casseroles stack up with the best entrees around. They’re easy to prepare, can be frozen for later use and generally are liked by everyone.

bestelk1Years ago, I had a recipe for a layered casserole that contained tomato soup, vegetables like green beans, potatoes and carrots along with round steak. Much to my dismay, I’ve never been able to find the recipe in my collection or online.

So, the other night, being overcome with a craving for the casserole, I decided to wing it. And the result was mouth-watering. I used some nice elk tenderloins instead of round steak and tomato sauce instead of soup.

Steak and Vegetable Layered Casserole
1 to 2 pounds round steak
2 onions, sliced thinly
3 carrots, sliced thinly
4 small potatoes, sliced thinly
1 14½-ounce can green beans
2 6-ounce cans tomato sauce or 1 10¾-ounce can tomato soup
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon steak seasoning (optional)
¼ cup red wine
Divide vegetables and put half of them on the bottom of a Dutch oven. Add the steak and top with the remaining vegetables. Add the wine, tomato sauce or soup and liquid from beans. Bake for 2 to 2½ hours in oven preheated to 350 degrees. Serve with crusty bread.

Tater Tot Taco Bake

Anyone who makes homemade salsa probably gets a kick out of the Pace Picante commercial in which a couple of cowboys mock a co-worker who is eating his chips with a sauce from “New York City.” I can’t help but chuckle every time the commercial pops up on the TV.

c0f6d287cb0452e5beb9a7cb10035463This time of the year, most gardeners have been well into salsa-making. My favorite is a fresh salsa that’s been a favorite ever since I came across the recipe.

Of course, the salsa is great with chips, but it’s also good on things such as enchiladas, tacos and burritos and the like, such as the following recipe, which I hope to try soon.

Tater Tot Taco Bake
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion (diced)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small can black olives, sliced
1 1-ounce package taco seasoning mix
1 16-ounce bag frozen corn
1 4-ounce can green chilies, diced and drained
1 12-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 16-ounce bag shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 16-ounce package frozen tater tots
1 10.5-ounce can enchilada sauce
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add ground beef, garlic and onion and cook while breaking the meat apart with a spoon or spatula until the ground beef is completely browned. Drain off any excess fat. Add taco seasoning mix, green chilies, frozen corn and black beans to the ground beef. Cook until heated through. In a large bowl, combine ground beef mixture, ¾ of the Mexican cheese blend and all of the tater tots. Stir well to combine. Pour about 1/3 of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add the tater tot mixture to the baking dish and lightly pat the mixture down into a solid, even layer. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tater tots. Place into the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. During the last few minutes of baking, top the casserole with the remaining Mexican cheese blend and the sliced black olives. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Fresh Tomato Salsa
2 pounds tomatoes (I like to take skins off)
1 jalapeno pepper
½ cup fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
2½ cups tomato juice (I like to use homemade)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Place all in food processor. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Italian Style Goulash

The type of goulash that originated in Eastern European countries such as Hungary bear little resemblance to the kind a person would find in American kitchens. About the only similarities are that they both contain paprika and beef.

greatgoulashAmerican goulash is more like a casserole or hotdish, while versions that originated in Hungary are more like a stew or soup.

I’ve tried my hand at a Hungarian goulash a few times. My favorite recipe is one that former co-worker Brad Schlossman shared with me several years ago. He said it was his Grandman Jennie Nartnik’s recipe and was one of his favorites. (Jennie was of Slovenian descent.)

Here’s another goulash recipe I came across recently that appears to have its roots in Italy. It contains tomatoes, garlic, Parmesan cheese and other things that one might find in a hearty pasta dish from the country located on the Mediterranean.

Italian Style Goulash
Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 cups cooked pasta of your choice
1 6-ounce can mushrooms, drained
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 large onions
2 green peppers, cut up
1½ pounds ground beef or 1½ pounds turkey
¼ cup bacon
Fry bacon and cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Brown ground beef/turkey, onions, and green peppers in a large skillet. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, mushrooms, Italian Seasoning, and garlic. Cover and cook at medium heat for 15 minutes. Stir in bacon and cooked macaroni. Place in lightly greased 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Hermann’s Tater Tot Hotdish

There’s nothing like good comfort food when the weather gets nasty. And in the case of the Upper Midwest and Great Plains regions of the country, there’s been plenty of that to go around this past winter, which as been lingering into spring.

rep-walzs-hermann-the-german-hotdishOne dish that’s been a very popular comfort food over the years is hotdish or casserole, and just about everyone has their favorite.

In our family, it’s Grandma’s Hotdish. Therese has been making it for years, and our grandkids just love it. The easy-to-make hotdish contains a pound of ground meat (usually bison, elk or venison), a can of tomato soup, a can of green beans, a little onion and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.

Another hotdish that’s proved popular among many families is one that’s made with tater tots. I’d written about one on my blog several months ago, and it proved to be very popular.

So, here’s another tater tot hotdish recipe for readers to peruse. It comes from Tim Walz, who represents Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Walz’s “Hermann the German Hotdish” recently won the Third Annual Capitol casserole contest hosted by Sen. Al Franken, the Minnesota Democrat and former comedian. The secret ingredient in Walz’s hotdish was bottle of Schell’s beer, which is brewed in New Ulm, Minn.

Hermann the German Hotdish
1 package of brats
1 bottle Schell’s beer
1 onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup chopped celery
1 can cream of cheddar soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese
1 package tater tots
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add beer, onions and garlic powder. Submerge brats into the pot and reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Butter the casserole dish. Combine remaining ingredients into a separate bowl, minus the tots. Chop up the brats into bite-sized pieces and add to the other ingredients. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, top with tater tots and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with cheese for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking.