Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chili Cheese Dogs

I would be kicked off of the Biggest Loser for sure with this dinner. However, since Jillian kicked my hiney in her "30 Day Shred" workout this afternoon, it was my passive aggressive way of retaliating as I shoved this delicious chili cheese dog into my smiling mouth tonight. Look, my love of the chili cheese dog began long ago. When as a little girl, my parents took us to the B&K Root beer Drive-In in my home town. It was a special treat. We'd drive up and teenaged girls would take our order under the glowing fluorescent lights in the stuffy summer heat. Then they'd return to hang a tray of delicious, unhealthy food on our car window. It was all served up with super sweet root beer in their logo-marked glass mugs. Magical. They called them Spanish hotdogs, I believe, but it's basically the same thing. This love of the chili cheese dog followed me into early adulthood, when between the ages of 21 and 24(yes, I was on the 5 year plan) I frequented the most upstanding and classy adult-beverage-serving-establishments of my chosen university for a night of good, clean fun. We'd wander out onto the sidewalks after last call to find an elderly lady selling hotdogs on the corner. She reminded me of the bird lady from Mary Poppins. I was strangely drawn to her. Apparently, I wasn't alone, because there was always a little line. She'd load those dogs with chili sauce, sauerkraut, onions, and whatever else you asked for. Best hot dog I ever tasted. Twice. Ha ha. As I type this I am wondering, what would a little old lady be doing on the street at such an hour? Well, getting rich, of course. Hot dogs and buns are relatively cheap. The ones she sold us weren't. I hope she laughed all the way to the bank.

Tonight I re-visited my old friend, the chili cheese dog. I already had all of the ingredients and I knew this one would be a crowd pleaser.

I started with hotdogs. Here's what happens when my husband goes shopping for a cookout. In his defense, he doesn't want to run out and have hungry guests. He's a good host. He went to GFS and bought bulk. He still fed a crowd and had this pack of 25 hotdogs leftover last summer. I froze them. Today I pulled them out of the freezer for a little while until I could pry a few away from the pack for dinner. I put the rest back in the freezer. I feel a party coming on...

I could have easily opened a can of chili sauce, but honestly, I'm not a fan. As soon as the can opener rounds the corner and the lid pops up, I think Alpo. I can't help it. I decided to make my own. I know. Picky, picky. Lord knows what the hotdog lady was feeding me and now I can't stomach Coney sauce from a can. See what 8-10 years has done to me?

I browned a half a pound of lean hamburger with a cup of diced onion and added my sauce ingredients. Here they are: tomato paste, chili powder, mustard, garlic powder(I only had garlic salt), cumin, sugar, and crushed red pepper.

After I stirred everything together, I used some salt and pepper and a little more sugar until I got the sauce just right.

Then built my chili cheese dogs with the sauce, some shredded cheddar, and lots of diced onion. Honestly, I could've done with some sauerkraut here. Why not? I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did!

Chili Cheese Dogs adapted from Favorite Brand Name Best-Loved Recipes of All Time cookbook

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
1-6 oz. can tomato paste
1 cup water
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
hot dogs

In a skillet, brown the beef and onions. Stir in tomato paste, water, chili powder, mustard, garlic powder, cumin, sugar, and crushed red pepper. Heat through. Meanwhile, heat or grill hot dogs. To serve, place hot dogs in buns; spoon chili down the center of each.

Serves 10

Sorry Weight Watchers, I'm not gonna go there with the points on this one. I do have a few healthier suggestions:
* Use very lean ground beef or ground turkey in the sauce
* Try fat free or turkey hot dogs
* Use light or whole wheat buns
* Um, sauerkraut is fat free and is high in dietary fiber : )

For a printable copy of this recipe, click here!


Mary | Deep South Dish said...

LOL, I didn't even know they made Ballparks in a package that big!! We used to have an A&W Root Beer place like that with the gals and the food trays - sort of like today's Sonics. What memories of those big old mugs of heady root beer!! I LOVE chili cheese dogs - fresh hot dog bun in a big soup bowl - yes, I said a BOWL - then a little mustard on the bottom of the bun, then the dog (all beef please) then loads of chunky onion, then sweet relish, then the cheese and the hot chili on top of the cheese to melt it real good. I don't mind canned sometimes, but it has to be Hormel if it's canned!! Thanks for sharin' this ... it brought back some memories!!


Donna-FFW said...

These look awesome Krista, this is how my FFH loves them.. have you thought of showcasing them in Glorias chili round up?

Krista said...

Mary, the bowl is a great idea! About halfway through, I cut mine up and started using a fork to scoop everything up. A bowl would have come in handy.

Thanks, Donna. I'll check out the chili round up. I hadn't heard of it.

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