Well, we've started!! Gram and I got right down to work yesterday and dove headfirst into making her "Shipwreck"...a yummy, cheesy, tomato-y hotdish.
Yup...you got that right...HOTDISH. (I'll just ignore the fact that I found this recipe under HER recipe heading of "casseroles". Sheesh, Gram...it's HOTDISH.)
Anyway, we've got a TON of delicious recipes lined up for weeks to come, but I should mention that my dear Gram is 80 and has Myasthenia Gravis...so there may be some weeks where she might not feel up to cooking...but we have some ideas planned for those weeks! (Tips, must-haves, kitchen essentials kinda stuff!)
Okay...to the HOTDISH!
For volume purposes, we doubled this hotdish...but I am putting in the "undoubled" recipe as most of the world doesn't need to feed a small army for their meals!
One of the reasons I wanted to do this feature was to glean my Gram's "tricks"...for whatever reason (I'm sure it has to do with the amount of love infused into her dishes) her food ALWAYS tastes better. Even if I follow her instructions...which led me to believe that she has some tricks up her sleeve that she does...and I was right!
Trick number one:
Brown your burger in butter...and season it while it's raw.
Well, Gram!! You never told me that before! And, her wise words..."You want the butter to be "foamy" so that the burger will sizzle when you put it in the pan. You want to 'brown' the burger, not 'cook' it."
When burger is sufficiently browned, add your chopped onion...(we'll cover onion chopping at a later date).
Let the onion cook and soften, adding in more butter if the burger starts to get too dry (we added a dollop of butter 2 extra times).
Then, add in the creamed corn (confession: I never eat creamed corn. I felt like one of my kids when I found out there was creamed corn in the hotdish, "EWWWWW, you put THAT in there?!"...only it's perfect. Trust me.), tomato soup, ketchup and diced Velveeta (don't hate the Velveeta).
Judging by it's "wetness", Gram will add in a can of petite diced tomatoes if it looks too dry. Ignore that this photo is of stewed tomatoes...it was all we had. Do what we say, not as we do. ;)
Now, while you're simmering this delicious pot of gloppy weirdness (I've gotta say, it was a lot "wetter" than I would've aimed for...see? And this is why my stuff is never as good!), getcher big pot of water boiling for these guys:
When the water is boiling like your blood would if you discovered your kids had just drawn all over your brand new leather couch with a Sharpie, toss in your noodles and cook 'em for the minimum amount of time listed.
While they're taking their nice, hot bath, crunch up a bowlful of flakey cereal (corn flakes, wheaties, etc.) and forgive me for my food photography. It's a work in progress, man.
Then stop what you are doing and take a second to admire your Gram (admiring your daughter)...she really is the best thing ever!
After you've admired Gram, snap a photo of your sweet daughter with your depth of field set way too shallow. Or, you know, skip the "too shallow depth of field", it's totally up to you.
When the noodles are done, dump 'em into your sauce, stir it all together, and transfer to a buttered casserole (see guys, this is what a "casserole" is...a dish in which you cook your "hotdish" and buttering the casserole? Another hidden tip Gram does!). Top with Velveeta cheese:
And finish off with cornflakes (and repeat "too shallow depth of field", ugh):
Then pop 'er into a 350* oven for 30 minutes, or until heated all the way through and hot and bubbly, and serve with a salad and garlic bread and enjoy!
1 lb ground hamburger (browned in butter, season with salt and pepper)
1/2 large sweet onion
1 small (the little "1/2" can) can creamed corn
1 small (see above) can corn
1 can tomato soup
1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 lb. Velveeta cheese
1/2 package of Medium Egg Noodles
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown hamburger, adding butter to keep it from getting too dry (if needed). When browned, add onion, simmer until onions are softened. Add next 4 ingredients, simmer until cheese is melted and sufficiently combined to maximum tastiness. ;) Top with sliced Velveeta, if desired, and crushed corn flakes. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until center is heated through.