Simple Hamburger Hotdish
I have a simple hamburger hotdish recipe to share with you today: A recipe shared by a friend who invented the recipe as a kid and named it “Norwegian hotdish”. It has become a family favorite. Consider adding this cheap recipe to your dinner rotation!
If you’re at all familiar with Midwestern hotdish recipes, you know that most recipes have some commonalities:
- Pasta or rice as a base
- Ground beef or chicken for protein
- Frozen or canned vegetables
- Creamed soups or tomato sauce to pull all the flavors together
- A cheesy or crunchy topping
My friend Nathan recently shared with me a hotdish recipe he created when he was a kid. How fun is that?
Back then, he named it Norwegian hotdish and apparently it’s a recipe that he and his family still make.
And guess what? After making it and sharing it with my family, it’s one that we have also started adding to our hotdish rotation. We loved it – and you probably will too!
Thank you, Nathan, for sharing this great recipe!
About The Recipe: Simple Hamburger Hotdish
The base of this recipe is made up of pasta and ground beef. A classic hotdish combination.
Lots of rich tomato is added – in the form of canned tomatoes, tomato sauce (or paste), ketchup, and chopped tomato for good measure.
The corn adds little pops of sweetness. Green pepper adds some bite. And rounding the dish out is a layer of cheddar cheese. Add more than the recipe suggests, if you’d like.
The end result? A hearty, crowd-pleasing hotdish/casserole that is equally at place on the weeknight dinner table or at a church potluck.
What You’ll Need
This simple hamburger hotdish requires a few simple ingredients:
- Ground beef: I used 85% lean ground beef, but you can use any type of ground beef. For higher fat content ground beef (80% or 85%) you may want to drain the excess grease. You can also substitute ground turkey for a leaner casserole. You’ll fry up the hamburger and the onions before adding the rest of the casserole ingredients.
- Pasta: Really any type of pasta will work for this recipe: I used elbow macaroni, but feel free to substitute egg noodles, shells, rotini pasta, etc. You’ll want to just undercook the pasta, as it will continue to cook while it’s baking in the oven.
- Tomatoes: This recipe contains tomatoes in many forms: Canned tomatoes, tomato sauce or tomato paste, ketchup, and a fresh tomato.
- Veggies: This hotdish contains a fresh green peppers, whole kernel corn (canned or frozen will work), and some fresh garlic.
- Seasonings: The hotdish is seasoned with salt and black pepper, oregano, and sugar. If you wish, you could add some additional seasonings that go well in hotdish, like some Italian seasoning, chili powder, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of garlic powder, etc. But remember to taste before you add – you may like the hotdish just as it is!
You’ll mix everything up, pour it into a casserole dish, and top with plenty of shredded cheddar cheese. Once it’s done cooking, you’ll place the baking dish right the kitchen table – and everyone will dig right in.
Serve with a side salad or some fresh veggies on the side.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days. This easy meal makes great leftovers – if you have any!
Why Midwestern Hotdish?
Growing up, we ate hotdish all the time.
On my mom’s hotdish rotation was hamburger-cabbage hotdish and ring bologna hotdish.
Why did we eat hotdish so often? In my mom’s words: “Hotdish was cheap, it feeds a lot of people, and it is easy to make ahead of time. Church potlucks and funerals always had hotdish too because it went so far. You can make a big roaster full of hotdish to feed a crowd.”
Hotdish is typically a dish the whole family will love: Even the picky eaters. It’s ideal for busy weeknights when you just don’t have the time or energy to go overboard. It’s classic comfort food that isn’t fancy and isn’t hard to make.
It’s a personal goal of mine to become the world’s foremost expert on Midwestern hotdish.
I’m not kidding.
I love trying new hotdish recipes, making up new hotdish recipes, and trying hotdish recipes that friends and family share with me. On Saturday nights you can find me flipping through old church cookbooks from the 1970s and 1980s, which have entire sections devoted to hotdish.
In addition to this Norwegian hotdish, here are other favorite recipes I’ve shared:
- Tuna noodle hotdish
- Tater tot hotdish
- Chow mein noodle hotdish
- Three-bean hotdish
- Ring bologna hotdish
- Cheesy corn hotdish
- Crab rangoon hotdish
- Pizza hotdish
If that’s not enough, check out these 30+ hotdish recipes. You’re bound to become an upper Midwest hotdish lover yourself!
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper (green, orange or red), chopped
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 2 cans tomatoes (15.5 ounces each)
- 1 can tomato sauce or paste (6 ounces)
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 cups whole kernel corn
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 4 to 5 cups cooked pasta (like elbow macaroni)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 1 to 2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
- Cook pasta to al dente. You'll want between 5 and 6 cups of cooked pasta total.
- Sauté onions and bell peppers in a bit of oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add ground beef and brown. Remove from heat.
- Mix all ingredients (except for cheese) together and place in a large casserole dish. Top with cheese.
- Bake in a 350F oven for 35 to 40 minutes.