Hotdish and Sauerkraut

The weather is miserable, again, and since we still have to eat, exploring the back of the pantry seems like a better idea than layering up and putting on the coat and boots to truck to the store.  There’s always something in there, and waaay up on the top shelf, I found a jar of sauerkraut.  It has possibilities, but it’s not a meat day, so what can I do with sauerkraut. I found some frozen cauliflower in the freezer.   Now here in the upper midwest, white food is looked upon with a fair degree of reverence, and it usually involves something with potatoes.  Well, guess what, we don’t have any potatoes, but I’ve got onions and cheese, so cauliflower and sauerkraut it is.  Sounds like a hotdish is taking shape.  I’m not sure what reception this will get at dinner, but we established years ago, that if I put it on the table, it gets eaten.

Here it goes, sauerkraut-cauliflower hotdish.

Assemble the Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz jar of sauerkraut, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 15 oz. package of frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 minced garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, parmesan, pepperjack (even a little goat cheese is good) – Set aside about 1 cup of the cheese for topping
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Anaheim or Poblano pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons melted oil (olive, canola or coconut)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly grease a casserole dish.

Steam the cauliflower until tender and drain all the liquid.



In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, mayonnaise and garlic and mash with a potato masher until you get the desired consistency (I like mine a little lumpy).  Add in the sauerkraut.

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Add salt, pepper, paprika, onion, and both kinds of pepper.

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Mix in about 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese.

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 Pour into the greased casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and dot with butter if you like.

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Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the top is nicely melted and browned.

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Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

*You could also use shredded cabbage if you have it, and you just really hate sauerkraut, but go ahead and take a chance and sample the joys of white food.



The Magic of Meatloaf – A Mid-Winter Feast


by Lisa Broughton

by Lisa Broughton

A few years ago, during a particularly dreary January, I decided that we should create a personal family holiday, and after some thought, I picked Ground Hogs Day.  I didn’t realize at the time that lots of other people throughout history had the same thought: Embolc, St. Brigit’s Day, Candlemas and a lot of others I can’t pronounce.  But in our house, February 2 is the Mid-Winter Feast and it has some of it’s own very peculiar customs starting with the food. We also invented a game: Pin the Shadow on the Ground Hog.  And we enjoy best of winter dishes starting with the main course of meatloaf that has been shaped into a fairly recognizable groundhog, covered with pastry complete with little ears, eyes, a nose and tail.  I’ve enclosed a picture of the most recent example.

Ground Hogs Feast

My brother brings his famous mac-n-cheez.  The recipe is a jealously guarded secret that I haven’t been able to duplicate.  There’s winter sun cake (a rich yellow cake with coconut frosting), yummy spice bread from my daughter, crunchy cucumber-radish salad, deviled eggs, mulled white wine with pears, and this year wonderful ground-from-beans coffee from a new friend.

The Mid-Winter Feast is a statement of faith that spring really will come and it’s a chance to give thanks that we’re surviving the winter.  Believe me, a week or two of -20 to – 30 windchills can seriously shake your confidence in the power of down jackets, and you’re grateful for all your blessings.  So we get together, share our favorite wintertime dishes and talk about seed catalogs and gardening and what we’re going to do this summer.  It makes the Long Dark seem a little less endless, even if we do still have to get through the annual Tournament Blizzard.  I love you guys!

The Best of the Summer Garden!

The farmer’s markets are bursting with fresh delicious fruits and vegetables, and it’s hard to  know where to begin.  The most generous of the vegies, of course, is zucchini, and as usual the big question is what to do with all that bounty.  Here are a couple of ideas that my family has always loved, and yes, we call it “hot dish.”

Zucchini Hot Dish with Goat Cheese


4 small to medium zucchini, tops trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I slice them is rounds, but slicing them length-wise like lasagna noodles works too).

1 medium to large onion, sliced into thin rings

2 to 3 ripe tomatoes thinly sliced (Romas work best because they are meatier and have less juice)

goat cheese or feta crumbles

1/2 cup pesto

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Bread cumbs


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly oil a baking dish and lay down a layer of zucchini slices.  Next, scatter a third of the onion slices.  Drop some dollops of pesto on top of the onions. Sprinkle chunks of goat cheese on top of the pesto and then finish with third of the tomato slices.  Do a second layer of zucchini, onion slices, pesto and goat cheese followed by tomato slices.  Make a third layer, and put the last of the goat cheese on top.  Sprinkle with  bread crumbs and some parmesan cheese (gives it a nice crust).  Bake until the zucchini is tender and the bread crumbs are brown and crispy (about 35 minutes).  Let it rest and set for a few minutes before serving.

I usually serve this as a meatless main dish, but it would also work well as a side dish.  Try it and let me know what you think.