…or is it hotdish? believe me there has been more than one conversation in my life about the difference in terms, and at one point i had myself convinced it was a ‘regional’ thing (minnesota hotdish/iowa casserole), but really i think it is ultimately a ‘you say poe-tay-toe, i say poe-tah-toe’ thing. just google it. it will make your head spin.

growing up in minnesota, we would make the trek down to see my grandma lucille in iowa during the holidays, and one time in particular she made us this dish. i specifically remember it being the first time i had ever eaten wild rice, and this crazy vegetable called asparagus. although i don’t remember my grandma’s cooking to be all that exceptional, and the dish was a concoction of campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, canned mushrooms and asparagus, sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon and (msg laden?) bouillon cubes, so really not that healthy, but i absolutely loved it!

now in adulthood, i have adjusted some of the less healthy components for homemade and fresh versions, swapped sour cream for greek yogurt, and use bacon from peads + barnetts, who specialize in happy pigs. i’m guessing it was a bit harder to make a run to the closest market from your farm outside of dubuque, iowa back in the late 70s in the middle of winter, and probably even harder to find fresh asparagus, or maybe even mushrooms? granted i am fortunate enough to live in southern california where i am able to shop for organic, sustainable produce and meats at the hollywood farmers market, but you can find fresh organic mushrooms and asparagus year round, and some version of quality bacon at your local grocery stores.



  • 2 cups uncooked wild rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 homemade cream of mushroom soup recipe (note: you will need 3 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp flour, 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 c. stock, 1/2 c. mushrooms diced small, 1 tsp herbs de provence, s+p)
  • 8 oz greek yogurt
  • 8 oz cremini (brown or baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • .25 oz dried porcini mushrooms, soaked, chopped (reserve liquid)
  • 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed (about 8 oz)
  • 12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 package (about 1 lb) quality bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled
  • salt + pepper
  • garlic powder


rinse your wild rice, add to the water, and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and let cook for 45-60 mins until done. you might have to strain any excess water.

OriginalPhoto-566793549.654439meanwhile, make the homemade cream of mushroom soup. in a small sauce pan, melt the butter, whisk in the flour on tbsp at a time, add herbs de provence, whisk in broth, whisk in milk, stir in mushrooms, add salt and pepper to taste. heat and stir until desired thickness. set aside.

OriginalPhoto-566790913.273679soak porcini mushrooms in hot water (just covered) until soft, about 15 minutes. chop up mushrooms, and reserve the liquid. meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp butter and sauté the garlic and mushrooms until golden brown.

OriginalPhoto-566790685.524911combine the cream of mushroom soup, greek yogurt, and all mushrooms in a bowl and stir. add reserved mushroom soaking water as needed to thin the mixture enough to be easily spreadable.

OriginalPhoto-566793413.501765fry bacon so it is crispy, and crumble. make sure to wash your hands after licking your fingers clean after crumbling.

OriginalPhoto-566792898.332573preheat the oven to 375 degrees. in a 10×15 glass pyrex baking dish layer the ingredients. start with the wild rice. sprinkle with a generous amount of salt, pepper and garlic powder. spread the mushroom yogurt sauce evenly over the top. snuggle the asparagus together however you see fit.

OriginalPhoto-566794761.476349season a little more with salt, pepper and garlic powder. evenly layer with grated cheese. top with crumbled bacon.

OriginalPhoto-566799515.510756bake for 35-40 mins until bubbly and cheese is melty.

OriginalPhoto-566801128.685684honestly, it is one of the best comfort meals i make. thanks to grandma lucille for bringing comfort into my life. here she is with my mom, back before i was even born.

LindaLucille66even though she was my mom’s stepmom, she was always just my grandma. fortunately, i know a few times over how comforting step parents (grand and otherwise) can be to a child. many thanks to dave, armella, matt, ann and lois for everything.

(i’m thinking my next post will be about grandpa matt’s amazing cereal parings. he loved sugared cereals, but armella would only allow them if he mixed them with a healthy one.)