Saturday, August 20, 2016

An Applegate Hot Dog Picnic...Featuring Simple Slow Cooker Hot Dog Chili #cowsongrass #cleanerwiener

Hot dogs are one of my favorite quick-cook meals...but I'm very choosy when it comes to choosing a hot dog brand to feed my friends and family. I prefer my hot dogs to be all natural and without any hard-to-pronounce preservatives and mystery ingredients. That's why my go-to store-brand hot dogs are Applegate's Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs. They're made with just four simple ingredients: 100% grass-fed beef, water, salt, and spices. That's it! I also love that each yummy Applegate hot dog has just 6 grams of fat. My friends at Applegate recently sent me a great gift pack that included everything I needed to plan a Summer picnic! My gift pack included Applegate hot dogs, Vermont Bread Company Potato Hotdog Buns, delicious Sir Kensington's ketchup and mustard, a logo frisbee, water bottles...and a nice canvas tote bag to transport everything to my picnic site.
Us Texans absolutely love chili dogs, so I decided to make Simple Slow Cooker Hot Dog Chili the day before our picnic. When I packed our picnic tote, I spooned the warm chili into a thermos. It arrived at the picnic still warm and ready to top our hot dogs! This flavorful hot dog chili is a snap to make...and so much better than canned hot dog chili. I love that I have total control over the ingredients that I put into it.

Simple Slow Cooker Hot Dog Chili
a Weekend Gourmet Original
  • 1 lb. 95% lean ground beef (or ground turkey breast)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • ½ a small white onion, finely chopped
  • 15-ounce can organic petite diced tomatoes
  • 4-ounce can organic tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce 
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tbs. cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 2 tbs. chili powder
  • 1 tbs. chile paste (or 1 diced, seeded jalapeno)
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Preheat slow cooker on Low for 10 minutes. While the slow cooker heats, brown the ground beef/turkey with the garlic. Add salt & pepper to taste. Add the browned ground beef/turkey to the slow cooker. [NOTE: My slow cooker has a non-stick insert and a function that allows me to brown meat directly in the slow cooker.] Add the onion, hot sauce, chile paste, and tomato paste. Stir well to combine. Finally, add the coriander, cumin, cilantro, and chili powder. Stir well to evenly combine ingredients. 
Step 2: Add the diced tomatoes (juice and all) and water. Stir to thoroughly combine all ingredients. Taste and add more salt & pepper if needed. Cook the chili on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours. It's tempting, but resist the urge to remove the lid during the cooking process. This ensures even cooking and a better end result.
 Step 3: When the chili is cooked, it should be thick and hearty so your hot dogs don't get soggy. Spread 1-2 tbs. of the finished chili on top of each hot dog and top with your favorite cheese – I prefer 2% cheddar-jack. This recipe makes enough chili to generously top at least 8 hot dogs.
This thick, flavorful hot dog chili is a keeper! It’s thick enough to top hot dogs without making them a soggy mess, and it’s got a nice spicy kick. To round out my picnic menu, I also packed potato salad, fresh strawberries, and chocolate chip cookies. Easy, simple, and delicious! Chili dogs not your thing? No problem! Simply serve your Applegate Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs with classic toppings of mustard, ketchup, relish, and chopped onion. I call that version ballpark style...and it's a true American classic!

Disclosure: Applegate provided me with the hot dog picnic gift pack pictured above to facilitate this post. As always, all opinions expressed are solely my own.

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