Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot

It’s state night again! Tonight we’re featuring a traditional Minnesota Hotdish at the request of Mr. N’s prize winners, Molly and Erin. Hotdishes, or casseroles, come in many shapes and sizes, but Minnesota hotdishes traditionally combine a meat, starch, veggies and cream of mushroom soup. This past January, Minnesota Senator Al Franken invited the other Minnesota Congressional delegates to a hotdish cook-off. While Senator Klobuchar’s hotdish won the cook-off, we chose to adapt Rep. Betty McCollum’s Pork, Cranberry & Wild Rice Hotdish since it incorporates wild rice which is home-grown in the land of 10,000 lakes.

We started making our Pork, Apple & Wild Rice hotdish by preparing 2 dry cups of wild rice by following the package directions; although we always add coriander to the rice as well. Then we began chopping some shallots, mushrooms, pork and fresh sage.

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Minnes-O-ta Maple Chicken

Tonight’s stateside dinner was especially fun for us because Minnesota holds a special place in our hearts. We spent several years (away from our family and friends) living in Winona, MN where we made great new friends, traveled the state and welcomed our darling Miss A to the family. Lutefisk, lefse and hot dishes are among the traditional dishes for which Minnesota is known, but local cuisine often makes use of fresh fish, wild rice and locally grown produce.

Now admittedly while in Minnesota we never ate Lutefisk, lefse or hot dishes. We did however eat lots of locally grown produce, wonderful homemade doughnuts and deli sandwiches from our favorite restaurant, The Acoustic Cafe

Sadly we can’t quite reproduce the delicious little sandwiches we love so much (and that’s not for lack of trying!), so we instead chose a Maple Baked Chicken. Mr. N and Miss A were both very excited for Minnesota night, and for a recipe that combines syrup, chicken and oatmeal!  Continue reading