6/29/15 ChefElla's 4th of July Hot Dog Bar

The Fourth of July will be here soon and it is inevitable that you or one of your friends will be serving hot dogs.  I do not know if it is a mandatory part of the holiday, but it seems like you can find hot dogs everywhere.  Hot dogs at the park, at picnics, at the parade, during the fireworks, and you can even watch the hot dog eating contest on T.V., although you many not want to eat any hot dogs after seeing that.  While we all like hot dogs it seems that during the Fourth we are all in such a hurry to eat them that our only choices are plain, ketchup, or mustard.  Well this Fourth of July let’s make a new tradition and offer our guest a hot dog bar.  Make your favorite toppings and let your friends dress up their dogs any way they like.  So enjoy your independence from plain old hot dogs with your own hot dog bar.

Happy Fourth of July

1.     Wash your hands.

2.     For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a knife, a cutting board, a bunch of small bowls, a sauté pan, tongs, a large blender or food processor, a large sauce pan, and a rubber spatula.

If you are not allowed to use the stove, grill, or a knife by yourself you can ask an adult to help.

ChefElla’s Hot Dog Bar (6-8 Hot Dogs)

1 pkg       Hot Dogs (6-8 Hot Dogs), I prefer all beef hot dogs but you can use your favorite kind.

   -If you prefer you can substitute, turkey dogs, tofu dogs, kielbasa, or bratwurst.

1 pkg       Hot Dog Buns (6-8 Buns), I prefer whole wheat buns but you can use your favorite kind.

                -If you prefer you can substitute, potato buns, pretzel buns, potato buns, or white buns.

ChefElla’s Beef Chili

1 lb.         Ground Beef 80/20, you can substitute turkey, pork, or a vegetarian ground meat.

15 oz.      Tomato Sauce, Canned (1 can = 15 oz.)

7 oz.        Tomatoes, Fresh, Stem Removed, Sliced

4 oz.        Diced Green Chilies, Fire Roasted, Mild, Canned (1 small can = 4 oz.)

1/2 Cup    White Onion, Small Diced

1/2 Cup    Green Bell Pepper, Small Diced

1 Tbl.         Masa Harina, or 1 small Corn Tortilla, or 1 oz. of Corn Tortilla Chips, or 1 Taco Shell

                 - Masa Harina is a corn meal used to make corn tortillas, tamales, and other dishes.

3 ea.         Garlic Cloves

2 tsp         Paprika

1 ½  tsp     Onion Powder

2 tsp         Chili Powder

1 tsp          Garlic, Granulated

1 tsp          Salt, Kosher or Sea

1 Tbl + 1 tsp      Cumin Powder

Hot Dog Bar Toppings Optional (About ½ to 1 cup of each)

Sautéed Onions                 Diced Tomatoes                Bacon Crumbles                Sliced Avocado

Blue Cheese                       Shredded Cheddar Cheese          Pickles                    Relish

Ketchup                              Yellow Mustard                   Spicy Mustard                 Bruschetta

Jalapeno Jelly                     Onion Compote                  Mango Salsa                   Black Bean Chili

Hummus                              Salsa                                    And even Mac and Cheese          

Or any of your favorite toppings.  Use your imagination

3.  To make the beef chili.  Add all of the beef chili ingredients to your food processor or large blender except for the beef.

4.  Blend all of the ingredients for 2-3 minutes or until they are pureed and there are no large pieces of any of the ingredients.

5.  Heat your large sauce pan on medium high heat and add 1 tbl of olive oil.  When the pan is hot add the ground beef.  Break up the beef into small pieces while cooking.  Stir frequently to keep the beef from sticking to the pan and to keep breaking up the pieces.  When the beef is no longer pink turn the pan to medium heat and add the pureed ingredients.

6.  Simmer, but do not boil,  the beef chili for 20-25 minutes.  Stir the chili occasionally so that it does not cook to the bottom of the pan.

7.  Keep warm to top your chili. 

8.  To cook your hot dogs.  Preheat your grill to medium heat.

9.  Place the hot dogs on the grill, not over an open flame.  If you have a grill grate that has small openings place the hot dogs in between the grill grates.  This will keep the dogs from rolling around and you will be able to cook the dogs evenly.  Turn the dogs ¼ turn every 2-3 minutes.  You will do this three times.  Your hot dogs should be nice and golden all the way around.  If like your hot dogs cooked darker cook them over a small flame.  Be careful not to blacken your hot dogs.

10.  If you do not have small grill grates place the dogs on the grill and cook them following the previous directions.  The only difference is when you cook them across the grates, the hot dogs can move as they cook and you may not be able to cook them as easily on each side.

A few of the creations I made for my picture are a chili dog with shredded cheese,  southwestern dog with avocado, tomatoes, onions, and cheese, a bacon blue cheese dog, and pickle and mustard dog.

And don’t worry if you like your hot dog plain it will taste just as good.