Reporter Emerald Malloy returns to Minnesota’s Red River Valley to gather more recipes for an encore feature the Minneapolis newspaper plans to run on rural cooking. This time around, Margie Johnson, the owner of Hot Dish Heaven, the local café, surprises her with unusual recipes, including Sauerkraut Hot Dish, explaining that man cannot live on Tuna Noodle Hot Dish alone. While intrigued by Margie’s efforts to expand her “culinary horizons,” Emerald has no interest in looking into the murder of a farmhand whose body is found at a local sugar beet piler. Instead, her plans focus on getting more “intimately” acquainted with Randy Ryden, the deputy she met when last in town. Those plans change, however, when someone close to Margie is arrested for the crime, and Emerald and friends must investigate their way through a blizzard, a fish fry, and a whole lot more to discover the real killer.