Yes. I confess. I like hot dogs . . . frankfurters . . . weiners . . . whatever you want to call them. I have a great fondness for them. I don't really care what they are made from . . . I only know I like them and that's enough for me.
Friday nights were hot dog nights when I was a girl. Our mum made the best hot dogs. She would butter the buns and toast them in her electric grill until they were all toasty and crisp. Then she would split the hot dogs down the centre almost all the way through and grill them in the electric grill as well. Oh boy. They were so good. That would be our Friday night supper . . . two of those, with lots of fried onions and relish and mustard . . . each one wrapped in a piece of paper kitchen toweling. Those and a bowl of ice cream. Heaven.
Sometimes on Saturday evenings we would have a real treat of Weiners and Chips for supper. My mom would make us lovely homemade chips and fry the frankfurters as well. They were soooo delicious . . . the franks would get all wrinkly once they started to cool a bit . . . a nice plate of a couple of those and some home made chips, with lots of ketchup for dunking. Bliss.
Sometimes my mother made Weiner Rolls. She would make short crust pastry and roll it out thin. Then she would cut it into rectangles large enough to cover one weiner. Each rectangle would be spread with French's mustard and a weiner would be placed in the centre. She then would roll the pastry up around it, sealing it all in. They would be baked until the pastry was crisp and golden. Oh did we ever enjoy nights when those were on the menu. Soooooo tasty.
I love all those things still. My whole family is crazy about those things, although we don't indulge ourselves very often as they aren't all that healthy or good for you, but once in a while. I just got to have one. That's why when I saw this recipe from Rachel Ray for Mac and Dog Casserole I just had to print it out and make it. It's not typically British, for sure . . . but it is delicious.
Macaroni and cheese with a rich and cheesy sauce . . . flavoured lightly with ketchup and mustard. I used Heinz Ketchup (there are no other kinds!) and instead of mustard I used some of the Newman's Own Hot Dog Sauce I was recently sent. (We sure are enjoying that stuff! It's fabulous!) What a delicious cheese sauce . . . and it went so well with the sliced and browned hot dogs . . . Even the died-blue pasta hater in the house had several helpings.
So yeah . . . maybe not the healthiest of entrees . . . and maybe not gourmet either. A once in a blue moon treat that went down really well in this house. I am sure it would go down pretty well in your house too! I hope you'll try it. This is a winner, full stop. If it bothers you that it's not so healthy . . . just serve it with a salad. That will help to sooth your conscience!
*Mac and Cheese Dog Casserole*
Serves 4 to 6
Adapted from a recipe from Rachael Ray. It's awfully, awfully good.
1 pound macaroni
2 TBS olive oil, divided
1 package of hot dogs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 TBS butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 TBS plain flour
120ml chicken broth or beer (1/2 cup)
450mlof milk (2 cups)
2 TBS Newman's Own Hot Dog Sauce
(alternately you can use a spicy mustard)
2 heaped TBS of tomato ketchup
360g of greated sharp cheddar cheese (3 cups)
Cook the macaroni in a pot of lightly salted boiling water according to the package directions just to al dente. Drain well and set aside. While the macaroni is cooking heat 1 TBS of the olive oil in a pan and add the hot dogs. Brown on all sides and then remove to a paper towel lined plate. Add the remaining oil and butter. When the butter melts and begins to foam add the onions and cook, without colouring, until softened. Add the flour, stir in well and cook for about a minute. Whisk in the stock and milk. Bring to the bubble and then season with salt and black pepper to taste. Stir in the hot dog sauce and ketchup. Lower the heat, whisk in 2/3 of the cheese, stirring to melt. Remove from the heat. Stir in the hotdogs. Pour this mixture into a casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese.
Bang into a preheated 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 5 oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is golden. Serve hot.