Homemade Cheesy Chili Dogs


There are a plethora of regional variations of chili dogs,
more than you can shake a frankfurter at!


Portillo's Chili Dog

Toppings range from some source of meat sauce with cheese, onions, mustard, pickles, tomatoes, hot pepper relish to sauerkraut piled on top. 

However, the origin of chili dogs is a little vague…

Texas chili dogs were originally called Texas Hot Wieners, and originated on the East Coast.  Huh?

Peter George Koufougeorgas, a Greek immigrant from the town of Nea Koriniput, put the railroad town of Altoona, Pennsylvania on the map with his “Texas hot dog,” in 1918.

They surprisingly pretty much had nothing to do with Texas.  The “Texas” reference is to the chili sauce, which actually has more of a Greek cuisine influence, due to the Greek ethnicity of Kourougeorgas and his cooks.

"Pete" Koufougeorgas, Altoona, PA.  photo credit:  Texas Hotdogs

After watching workers leave the coal mines each day, covered in soot, and seeing their calloused hands, George envisioned them clasping a hot dog.   His chili dog ranged from the eastern to the western sides of Pennsylvania, later spreading across the nation ~ the craze was on…

Back in the summer of 1916, for 10¢, you might have ordered a  Coney Island hot dog.  It belongs to Detroit, Cincinnati, New York or whatever city the article you’re reading refers to.  Topping it is chili (remember that Greek inspired meat sauce), yellow mustard, white onion and cheese.  

Nathan's NYC, undated

In North Caroline, your chili dog is most likely loaded with chili, onions and slaw.

Connecticut dogs are topped with onions, chili and sauerkraut.

In Washington, D.C., it’s the ‘half-smoke’; similar to a hot dog, but larger and spicier, served with chili sauce, herbs and onions.

Rhode Island serves up the hot wiener, a small, thin hot dog of veal and pork, on a steamed bun with celery salt, yellow mustard, chopped onions and seasoned meat sauce.

Whatever the variety, chili dogs are sold by street vendors, out of stands, at ball games, out of shacks and at home… 


Superdawg - Chicago - 1948 and on

Chicago area - Portillo's founder, Dick Portillo - replica of his original hot dog stand - 50 years ago
Portillo's in Crystal Lake
My fave place for hot dogs - inside Portillo's


When we're not at Portillo's 
this is the way 
at home:

My Chili Dogs!

Moving on to our supper last night ~ I made chili a couple of days ago, which reminded Bill of chili dogs.

It has been a long while since we’ve eaten hot dogs and ages since we’ve had chili dogs.
No bottled chili sauce, no canned chili, no ketchup nor mustard touch my chili dogs. Just hot dogs, covered with my home made chili, a sprinkling over all of cheddar cheese and chopped white onions, on a toasty bakery hot dog bun.  

They were delicious with a side of fries!
The bottom line is this ~ chili dogs are just glorified pretentious wieners that are delicious!


Homemade Cheesy Chili Dogs
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

8 hot dog buns, toasted
8 hot dogs, your favorite
2 cups of chili (Here is my chili recipe, and Bubba’s also)
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 white onion, chopped

Method:

Heat hot dogs in boiling water until heated through.
Place on toasted hot dog buns.
Top with a generous scoop of chili, cheese and onions.
Serve


Enjoy!



Savory Pork Roast with Pince-nez on the Side


 
Growing up on the farm, Sunday dinner at noon was always a feast, many times with Aunt Jessie, Aunt Lucy and Ronnie joining us at the table.   


I remember it all with good memories, except this one time:

Aunt Jessie, actually Dad’s aunt, my great aunt, was a tiny proper little lady, who wore pince-nez glasses







Neither one Aunt Jessie, but the glasses are similar







On this particular day, Mom made roasted pork for our Sunday meal, and I got to sit at the dinner table beside Aunt Jessie.  I liked to talk a lot, and this one time I became more than a little animated in the story I was telling.  I swung my hand with a fork in it, right up to Aunt Jessie's glasses ~ hooked the side of them ~ and hurled her pince-nez glasses clear across the table.  

Not a good moment, but then I was probably only around 7 or 8 years old.

Mom always went the limit with meals of fried chicken, roast beef or roast pork like this.

I carried the Sunday dinner tradition on until the boys got older, and life carried on, ball games, etc.

This pork roast is delicious, with the simple blend of seasonings flavoring it, particularly the pungent taste of ground mustard to complement the pork.



It’s juicy and tender on the inside with good crunchy meat on the outside.

Easy, peasy and good eating for Sunday dinner or anytime!


Savory Pork Roast

Ingredients:

1 (2-3 pounds) pork loin roast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon dried oregano

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine seasonings in a small bowl.
Liberally pat seasonings onto roast.
Place meat on a rack in roasting pan.
Bake, uncovered, 2 to 2½ hours, until thermometer registers 155°.
Allow pork to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve
Printable recipe



Enjoy!


50 Years Ago Today w/Easter wishes for tomorrow!


50 years ago today, 
in Louisville, KY, 
I married a lucky guy, 
and he's still the love of my life, he's the best!
 





HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, DEAR!






 And to all of you, 
 a very 
Happy Blessed Easter!












Easy Self-Rising Buttermilk Biscuits



No kidding!
These are delicious little biscuits 
just like Grandma used to make!



And no one will believe it when you tell them how easy they are to make!  

You will need just 3 ingredients, four, if adding herbs for this King Arthur Flour recipe.



Keep the butter and buttermilk cold.  Grate the cold or frozen butter ~ it's a fast easy technique to incorporate ice-cold fat into flour.




Use a gentle touch when handling the dough.

Work with it quickly and handle it as little as possible; too much handling will cause the dough to release gluten which will give you dry, tough biscuits.




Stir gently, fold gently, and pat dough into a rectangle before cutting out the biscuits or cutting into 12 squares.  




Bake the biscuits, and rest assured ~ you will have soft buttery biscuits with this recipe!


Easy Self-Rising Buttermilk Biscuits
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups self-rising flour
6 tablespoons butter, cold
½ teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme, optional
1 cup buttermilk, cold

Method:

Preheat oven to 450°.
Partially freeze butter for 10 minutes.
Using a cheese grater, grate hardened butter into a bowl.
Cover, and place in freezer to chill again, about 5 minutes.
Place flour in bowl and work in butter with a pastry blender.
Add buttermilk, stir until mixture comes together, dough will be sticky.
Turn dough out on floured surface, and fold dough over onto itself several times, using a little more flour if needed.
Pat dough into 5” x 8½” rectangle about ½” to ¾” thick.
Cut biscuits with a 2” round cutter or cut the rectangle into 12 small rectangular biscuits.  (If using a round cutter, pat the scraps together and cut additional biscuits.)
Place biscuits on ungreased baking sheet, leaving about 1” between them for crisp biscuits.  Arrange biscuits so they barely touch each other for soft-sided biscuits.   For higher biscuits, place them in an 8” round pan.
Bake biscuits for 12-14 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown.
Remove from oven, serve hot.
Makes 12 biscuits

Tips:

For sweeter shortcake-style biscuits, add 3 tablespoons sugar to the flour and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the milk.

For cheese biscuits, mix ½ teaspoon dried mustard and a pinch of cayenne pepper with the flour, work in the butter, toss in 1 cup shredded cheese before adding the milk.

No self-rising flour?  Substitute by combining 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt.


Enjoy!




Delicious Garlic Shrimp and Pasta w/Vegetables



This is a 
lick-your-plate-clean 
sort of dish!




With a pound of shrimp, a box of pasta and assorted veggies, you can have dinner on the table in less than a half hour!

Not only it this recipe easy, it’s a healthy protein-rich dish too.  The omega-3 fat acids in the seafood boost immune function and regulate inflammation.  The vegetables are filled with important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid, and vitamins A and C.

Rotini is corkscrew-shaped pasta.  The names comes from a 17th-century Italian word meaning “small wheels.”  It originated in Northern Italy and the tight twists help them retain a wide variety of sauces better than some other pastas.  

Colloquially, they may be called “Scroodle Noodles”  or “Scroodle Macaroni,”  or just plain “corkscrews,” like I call them.




Be sure though, there’s no skimping on taste here ~ this dish will fill you up, without weighing you down!

It makes Monday night dinner seem more like Saturday night!


Garlic Shrimp and Pasta w/Vegetables

Ingredients:

12 ounces rotini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed 
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper, divided
12 ounces frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
16 ounces frozen mixed vegetables of your choice, thawed and drained
½ cup white wine
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Chopped fresh parsley, garnish

Method:

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 5 minutes less than al dente,  reserving ½ cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
Add shrimp and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon each of red pepper, slat and seasoned pepper. 
Sauté, just until cooked through (a little pink and opaque),  and stirring to coat with seasonings, about 3-4 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat remaining oil over medium heat.
Add vegetables, and remaining salt and peppers.
Sauté until heated through, 4-5 minutes.
Add wine and return shrimp to skillet, cook 2 minutes.
Stir in lemon zest and juice.
Add pasta to the skillet and toss to combine, adding ¼ cup or more of reserved pasta water if needed.
Adjust to desired seasonings and consistency with pasta water.
Transfer to a large serving bowl, garnish with parsley.
Serves 6
Printable recipe



Enjoy!



Skinny Saucy Chicken Parmesan



Look at the menu in any Italian restaurant and you’ll see 
Chicken Parmesan, usually fried like Mom used to do and served with a ton of good cheese. 





This recipe is a delicious lightened up version of that classic sinful dish.

The lightly breaded chicken is baked juicy and tender, surrounded with marinara sauce in the skillet and topped with mozzarella cheese. 




Served over a little pasta, it’s perfect Italian comfort food, that you can eat without feeling guilty.





It’s truly delicious and I will definitely be making it again for our dinner, or maybe for company.

It’s that good!


Skinny Saucy Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients:

Cooking spray
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
2½ cups Marinara sauce (recipe below) or store-bought marinara sauce
¾ cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
Your favorite cooked pasta, optional

Method:

Preheat oven to 450°.
Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to make 6 cutlets, season both sides with salt and pepper.
In a shallow bowl, combine grated Parmesan and bread crumbs.
In a small bowl, combine oil and butter, brush on both sides of chicken.
Dredge the chicken in bread crumb mixture, place on baking sheet.
Lightly spray oil on top of the chicken.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until bottom is golden.
Turn over and bake until middle is cooked through and bottom is golden, about 7-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, cook marinara sauce over medium heat until heated through.
Place baked chicken in the skillet and top each piece with 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese. 
Cover pan and cook until cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes.
Place chicken on cooked pasta, if desired.
Serve

Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper

Method:

In a large saucepan, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil until onion is tender.
Stir all remaining ingredients in with onion mixture, heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Carefully puree hot sauce in a food processor or blender, serve over cooked pasta with Chicken Parmesan.
Makes 2½ cups
Printable recipe


Enjoy!



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