Rep. Tom Emmer wins 8th annual hotdish competition with 'Hotdish of Champions'

Rep. Tom Emmer's "Hotdish of Champions"

U.S. Rep Tom Emmer took the top prize in this year's Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition with his "Hotdish of Champions"—a winning combination of tater tots, cream of mushroom soup, cheese and meat topped with cereal. 

Sen. Tina Smith hosted the competition, continuing an annual tradition started by her predecessor Al Franken. This was the eighth year Minnesota lawmakers have put their hotdish skills to the test. 

Emmer says his hotdish was inspired by the Minnesotans who brought home gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics. 

Here are the recipes from 1st to last place: 

Rep. Tom Emmer's Hotdish of Champions 


  • Tater tot crowns –30 oz
  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • Vegetable oil –½ tbsp
  • Eggs – 6
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Shredded cheddar cheese –2 cups
  • Cooked crumbled bacon –¾ cup
  • Cooked crumbled sausage –1 ½ cup
  • Your choice of cereal, like General Mills Chex or Total (for topping)


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Line the bottom of a 12-inch greased cast iron skillet with tater tot crowns and then line the sides of the pan.

3. Bake for 15 minutes.

4. While baking, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Whisk together the eggs and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook the eggs until just set (they will cook more in the oven).

5. Remove the tater tots from the oven and use a spatula to press down on top and sides of the hotdish to smash the tater tots a bit. Pour the can of cream of mushroom over the tots and 3/4 of the sausage.

6. Top with one cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

7. Add the scrambled eggs, sausage crumbles and another cup of shredded cheese, making sure the cheese reaches the tater tots on the sides of the pans.8. Continue adding layers until desired thickness. Sprinkle with the crumbled bacon and bake for an additional 10 minutes.9. Garnish with cereal.

Rep. Rick Nolan's Tater Tot Hotdish


  • Minnesota grass fed beef ground by Rick – 1 ½lbs
  • Minnesota’s Original Top the Tater dip and topping (more famous than SPAM) – 1 tub
  • Shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese from Morrison Co. Dairy farms – 8 oz.
  • Frozen tater tots from Mary’s fridge - 1 bag
  • Frozen mixed vegetables BOGO at Cub – 1 bag
  • French’s Crispy Fried Onions from Super America – 2 Cups


Short Version

1.Mix everything up good and put it in the oven until it’s done.

Long Version

1. Brown ground beef and drain

2. Mix in Top the Tater and stir well

3. Layer beef mixture

4. Layer mixed vegetables

5. Layer shredded cheese

6. Top with tater tots

7. Sprinkle with fried onions

8. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 50 minutes

Rep. Keith Ellison's Minnesota Miracle(whip) Hotdish


  • Ground beef –1 lbs.
  • Small yellow onion –1 minced
  • Minced garlic –2 clovesButter –1 tbsp
  • Cream of mushroom soup –2 cans
  • Whole Milk –½ cup
  • Miracle Whip –2 tbsp.
  • Frozen corn –1.5 cups
  • Frozen tater tots –1 package (32 oz)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese –1.5 cups
  • Pepper –to taste
  • Lay potato chips –to top


1. Sauté the onion and garlic with butter in a skillet over medium heat.

2. Add the ground beef and cook until browned and onions are translucent.

3. Pour the cooked meat and onions into a greased crockpot.

4. Next, add the soup, corn, milk, miracle whip, tator tots, and pepper to crockpot. Stir.

5. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

6. In the last half hour of cooking, mix in cheese.

7. Crush potato chips on top and serve.

Rep. Erik Paulsen's Northwoods Breakfast Hotdish


  • Thawed hashbrowns
  • Melted butter
  • Seasoned salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Pepper
  • Ground mustard
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Green and red peppers
  • Garlic Sausage or Bacon
  • Shredded cheese
  • Milk
  • Eggs –1 dozen


1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees

2. Line greased pan with thawed hashbrowns (dry hashbrowns with paper towel first)

3. Drizzle melted butter over hashbrowns

4. Sprinkle with season salt and garlic powder (or whatever spices you like)

5. Place pan in oven until hashbrowns are crisp and brown

6. Meanwhile chop up desired veggies (mushrooms, onions, green and red peppers, garlic, etc.)

7. Brown sausage or cook bacon

8. Toss vegetables, meat and shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, pepper jack, or whatever desired)

9. Mix together a dozen eggs, with a bit of milk, salt, pepper and ground mustard

10. When hashbrowns are done, remove from oven

11. Change oven temp to 350 degrees

12. Add mixture of veggies, meat and cheese to pan

13. Pour egg mixture over the top

14. Bake in oven about 60 minutes or until egg has set

Sen. Tina Smith's 10,000 Island Cheeseburger Surprise Hotdish


  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons mayo
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 can cream of onion soup
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz. American cheese (get the kind that is not individually wrapped)
  • 6 hamburger chip pickles
  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 6 potato hamburger buns


1. Chop up whole, large white onion.In medium skillet, caramelize¾ of chopped onion, leaving rest raw. To caramelize onions: heat oil over medium high, add onions and dash of salt, reduce heat. Stir occasionally until onions brown and add water when they seem dry, do that a few times until onions are soft and dark. Set aside.

2. Make special sauce. Combine mayo, ketchup, relish, sugar, and vinegar and stir.

3. Whisk egg in medium bowl, stir in cream of onion soup and 1/2 cupwater, set aside.

4. Chop pickles, set aside.

5. Chop up American cheese into small cube stacks, set aside.

6. Gently flatten ground beef, season one side with salt and pepper. Add to pan. Smear mustard on raw side. Allow the cooking side to get dark and crusty, then flip to the mustard side. Cook until fully browned, stirring and crumbling the meat. Drain fat and set aside.

7. Grease a 9x13pan with butter.

8. Rip up hamburger buns to cover the bottom of dish.

9. Add browned meat on top of buns.

10. Add afew small pats of butter (leftover from greasing the pan)to the layer of buns and meat.

11. Add onions, both caramelized and raw. Add chopped pickles. Add can of diced tomatoes, drained. Add dollops of special sauce—be sure todistribute evenly throughout. Add ¾ of the cheese on top.

12. At this point, if you are making this dish ahead of time, you can refrigerate the covered dish overnight.

13. When ready to bake, gently pour cream of onion soup mixture over top, distributing evenly, making sure to get the edges and corners. You may have soup mixture left over. Add remaining cheese.

14. Bake on 350 for 20-ish minutes. Increase to 400 for about 7 minutes. Broil on high for 3 minutes.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar's Gold Medal Curling Hotdish


  • 1 and ½pounds of top Sirloin steak
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 garlic head
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup (or create your own, directions below)
  • 1 can of corn
  • 2 teaspoons of Soy Sauce (for marinade)
  • 2 Cups of Whole Milk
  • ¼ cup of sour cream
  • 8 ounces of Cheddar Cheese (Shredded is recommended, but if using blocks cut into small squares for melting)
  • 8 ounces of Colby-Monterey Jack (reserve a small amount for the top)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cut green onions
  • Bacon Bits


Cut the Top Sirloin cut into bite sized pieces and marinade for 2 hours in 2 teaspoons of soy sauce plus a dash of salt.

After marinade, heat a frying pan (I used a cast iron skillet but any frying pan will do) to medium-high heat. Add in the cut steak, and brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to not over cook the steak as it will continue to cook later on. Set the steak aside on a plate, keep the steak juices.

Dice 1 green bell pepper and 1 red bell pepper. Finely dice one small yellow onion. Dice 4 garlic cloves. Turn to medium heat and using the left over steak “juices”, add in the vegetables. Cook until the onions become transparent, about 10 minutes.

Add in one can of cream of mushroom soup and ¼ cup of water, or add in your own cream of mushroom soup here. Add salt to taste.

Combine steak with creamy vegetable mixture. Pour in the milk slowly, and mix all over. Set to medium heat and allow it to thicken, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Then, add in sour cream, 1 can of corn, and Cheddar and Colby-Monterey Jack cheese (I used the blocks and cut them into small squares but shredded works equally well here).

Do a gravy taste test here (mine needs a little more salt and pepper) Add the mixture into your favorite hot dish oven safe pan and bake for 40 minutes. Do not cover. If you like a “soupy” hotdish, cut the time back to about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, take frozen curly fries and spread them out on a cookie sheet. You’ll want to use the whole bag. *optional is to sprinkle the fries with garlic salt, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Follow the heating directions on bag and ensure the fries are golden and crisp. 

Once the hotdish is ready, remove from oven and let it sit for a few minutes to cool. Sprinkle with left over cheese on top. Add fries Top with a generous dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle cut green onions and bacon bits.

Clare’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • Butter
  • 8 ounces of diced mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup Whole Milk or Cream
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • Salt and Pepper

Add ¼ stick of melted butter to low heat, and let it melt

Add in mushrooms, onions, and garlic and sauté until onions are transparent.

Whisk in flour, adding in small batches slowly until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Whisk in cream and broth until mixed well. Slowly pour in one cup of water and mix well.

Rep. Collin Peterson's Buck the Party Line Hotdish


  • 1 pound of ground venison
  • 1 pound of pork breakfast sausage (mild preferred)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 10 shredded potato patties, frozen
  • 10 ounce can of cream of celery soup
  • 10 ounce can of cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup fresh sage, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh chives, chopped
  • 12 ounces of frozen green beans, French-cut
  • 1 cup fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths and blanched
  • ½ cup Gorgonzola crumbles
  • 2 ounces mild Cheddar, shredded
  • 2 ounces Gruyere, shredded
  • 2 cups corn flakes


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit 

2. Grease a hotdish pan or roaster oven pan using a stick of butter. It’s not necessary to use the entire stick on this step. Line the pan with a layer of potato patties and place on the top oven rack for 15 minutes to brown the potatoes.

3. Melt a pad of butter in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add onion and leek then sautée until soft. Place venison and pork in the pan and use a spatula to crumble the meat as it browns. Season with black pepper to taste.

4. Remove the pan of browned potato patties from the oven and spread the meat mixture over them.

5. In another bowl, vigorously mix the cream soups, sage, thyme, chives, frozen green beans, asparagus, and Gorgonzola. Spread evenly atop the potato and meat layers in the pan. Sprinkle Cheddar and Gruyere over it all.

6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 375°F for 35 minutes.

7. Melt two tablespoons of butter in the microwave, then pour over the cornflakes. Let stand.

8. Remove foil from the pan add a layer of the butter-soaked corn flakes. Place back in oven, uncovered, and turn the heat up to 400°F for 25 minutes.

9. Remove from oven. If using a roaster pan, the dish can be refrigerated and then reheated once inserted back into the roaster. Otherwise, let stand for 10 minutes before serving to your deerly beloved friends and family.

Rep. Tim Walz's Tariff Tot Hotdish


  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 8 oz sharp white cheddar, grated
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups shaved brusselsprouts
  • 3 Minnesota honeycrisp apples (medium)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package sweet potato tots
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Cut bacon into one inch pieces and sauté. Drain and set aside. Sauté ground pork until just done. Drain, combine with bacon and set aside. Peel and dice apples into ½ inch pieces. Toss Brussel sprouts and apples with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast @425 degrees for 20-25 mins. Combine with pork. In a saucepan, heat butter, then add flour whisking until combined. Add half and half and allow to reduce/thicken. Add grated cheddar (reserving some to sprinkle on top at the end) and whisk until smooth. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Add to the pork and Brussels/apples and pour into a baking dish. On a separate sheet pan, roast sweet potato tots according to package directions. Add cooked tots to top of hotdish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and put back in oven until all cheese is melted.

Rep. Betty McCollum's SPAM Good Hotdish


  • 1 12 oz. package of egg noodles
  • 2 12 oz. cans Spam
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced green pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 10.5oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 4 oz. can diced pimentos
  • 1 tsp. salt1 tsp. pepper
  • Pinch paprika
  • Enough fried onions to cover
  • 2 oz. can diced pimentos
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Cook noodles in a large stockpot according to the package instructions. While the noodles are cooking, use a skillet to fry the diced spam in olive oil on medium heat until warm throughout. Drain noodles, return to stockpot, and fold in the warmed Spam. Keep mixture on medium-low heat. In a saucepan, sauté the diced onion and pepper in butter until tender. Fold diced vegetables into the stockpot with the noodles-Spam mixture and keep on low heat. In separate pot, combine cream of mushroom soup and cream. Cook until warm. Add warm, combined soup to stockpot, stirring well to mix. Add 4 oz. can of pimentos and spices to stockpot and fully combine. Transfer mix to greased casserole dish, top with fried onions and the 2 oz. can of pimentos, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Rep. Jason Lewis' Purple People Wild Meat Eater Hotdish


  • 1 ½ cup Surly Darkness Russian Imperial Stout
  • Rabbit
  • Wild Boar
  • Venison
  • Bison
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 celery
  • 2 cups green beans
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups Mushrooms
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • I cup gruyere cheese

For biscuits:

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder


Heat a large Dutch oven, Add olive oil, sear meat on all sides, working in batches, and remove from pot. Add in tomato paste, onions, carrots and celery. Add the stout. Reduce heat to low, reduce slightly. Add the meat back to pot. Add beef stock and remaining vegetables. Bring to a simmer, cover and braise in oven until tender.

Place meat into a hotdish dish. Reduce leftover braising liquid in Dutch oven and add heavy cream.Pour over meat. Sprinkle grated gruyere over hotdish.

For the biscuits, blend cold butter into dry ingredients, add buttermilk and mix until just combined. Shape biscuits and place on top on hotdish. Bake in a 375 oven until browned.