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Casserole vs Hot Dish

It's time to settle this once and for all.

Is it a CASSEROLE, or is it a HOT DISH? Here's what I've learned -

(Image via - this is a classic twist on Minnesota's Tater Tot Hot Dish cooked up by the chef at Haute Dish, Landon Schoenfeld.)

Depending upon which side of I-94 you live on (i.e., the Wisconsin side or the Minnesota side), the battle lines are clearly drawn.

In fact, since transplanting myself here in the Twin Cities from Milwaukee six years ago, I've been corrected numerous times. 

In today's modern, fast-paced lifestyle, our home kitchens require a menu repertoire that is fast and easy. These one-dish wonders are seemingly a Midwestern staple food and is 'comfort' down to the last bite.

Both cover the food pyramid in that each dish is comprised of a meat, a vegetable and a starch.

Casseroles, however, are a baked dish served in an appropriately named casserole pan. Casseroles are lighter, combining chicken or fish with a vegetable medley. Some casseroles are meatless and the exception, like Macaroni & Cheese or Green Bean Casserole.

And to me, casseroles are made with a not-so-healthy "cream of something" soup.

Hot Dishes are heavier, often utilizing ground beef, and are always potato-based. The most popular, of course, is the Tater Tot Hot Dish. 

Best served family-style, and with beer.

(To really throw you off, if the one-pan wonder presented at the next potluck is corn-based, then it's called goulash. The more you know ...)

In short, after a few taste tests, I've concluded that a hot dish is a casserole and though both are equally delicious, what you call it varies by location.

In Minnesota, call it HOT DISH.

In Wisconsin, call it CASSEROLE.

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