Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Chili Dog Bake

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

My first experience with cooking hot dogs began when I was a babysitter in middle school for a family with four children. It can be hard to get young kids to all agree on one thing to eat for dinner, but fortunately, all these kids ever wanted was hot dogs and sauerkraut (yes indeed, they were German).

But as you can imagine, plain hot dogs get a little boring after a while, so I had to spice things up. Sometimes I made “octopus” hot dogs. I just cut the bottom of the hot dog into eight parts so  it looked like tentacles.

Then the kids started requesting all kind of animals, like “giraffe” hot dogs and “zebra” hot dogs, but those were a little too complicated. So that’s when my famous hot dog casserole was born!

What’s that you ask? You bake hot dogs in a dish with sauerkraut and cheese. Sound disgusting? That’s because it probably was (I never tried it). But the kids loved it!

I was thinking about that hot dog casserole recently when it occurred to me I could use the same concept to make chili dogs for a crowd.

One of my favorite tricks, especially when you’re cooking for a group of people, is to transform your favorite dish into a casserole because it’s easier to serve multiple people at once. Remember that chicken and waffles casserole I made a few weeks ago? So much easier than making individual servings of chicken and waffles!

I decided not to use regular hot dog buns because I was afraid they would get soggy. Instead I cut a piece of puff pastry into eight strips and I wrapped each hot dog in the puff pastry strip. I chose puff pastry over crescent roll dough because it doesn’t expand as much, and I hate it when you take a bite and get a little meat with a lot of bread.

I baked the hot dogs for about 15 minutes in order to cook the dough before I covered everything in chili, onions, and cheese and baked it again. You’ll notice that I combined Challenge cream cheese with the chili. I did this because I wanted to make the chili a little thicker and creamier so it wouldn’t slide off the hot dogs completely. And I always use Challenge cream cheese because it’s hormone free and they use real cream. You can really tell the difference between Challenge and other generic brands.

As far as the chili goes, you can use store-bought chili, canned chili, or your favorite homemade chili! I’m going to share my favorite, easy chili recipe below. If you like planning ahead, you could make a big batch of the chili ahead of time and freeze it so it’s always available.

Chili Dog Bake
Yield: Serves 8 people
For the chili
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ounces Challenge cream cheese

For the hot dogs
  • 1 package puff pastry dough
  • 8 hot dogs
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Directions
For the chili
  1. Heat large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and ground beef, breaking it up with a spatula. Cook until it’s no longer pink or about 10 minutes.
  2. Drain beef and return to pan.
  3. Stir in onion, garlic, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Stir in cream cheese.
For the hot dogs
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Cut the puff pastry sheet into 8 equal strips and wrap each hot dog in a strip.
  3. Place the hot dogs in a prepared baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven.
  5. Pour chili over hot dogs and add cheese on top (Optional: you can add more onions between the chili and cheese layer)
  6. Stick baking pan back in oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes and serve.

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