Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wild Card Weenies!!!

Welcome to The Playoffs, Homegaters!

Okay, so your team didn't make the playoffs. They were so abysmal this season that even a lingerie league team would have beaten them. Your coaching staff are dead men walking. You're living for Free Agency and the Draft. I understand. I get it. But get off the ledge and have a hot dog. Hot dogs make the whole world seem brighter - especially my Wild Card Weenies.

We now begin the home stretch to the high holy day of the NFL: The Super Bowl. The first stage of weeding out the pretenders and wannabes from the true champions begins with Wild Card Weekend (2 games this Saturday and 2 games this Sunday). If your team is in contention, congrats, this is a very exciting time. Even if your team isn't in it, it's still a fun time to either root for or against the teams that are in it. Invite the gang over to check out the games.

Hot dogs are a fan favorite at sporting events. They're a standard at every stadium and arena in the country. You can have them plain, or with an infinite number of toppings. I've come up with a combination of toppings that includes my version of a chili sauce along with a spicy celery slaw. For this recipe, I purposely made a mild chili sauce because the celery slaw is spicy. You can certainly spice your chili sauce up and tone down the celery slaw. It's up to you. If you have the time, try to make the toppings a day ahead because it will give both a chance for the flavors to develop.

Wild Card Weenies
(8 weenies)

1 package of your favorite hot dogs
1 package hot dog buns

Chili Sauce:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 medium onion, minced          
2 tbs canola oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder                        
2 tbs chili powder
1 bottle of lager
6 oz tomato sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Spicy Celery Slaw:
2 cups celery, thinly sliced
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white vinegar


1.  Place the hot dogs in a slow cooker on low setting, cover with boiling water. These will stay hot for the rest of the day. If you don't have a slow cooker, boil a pot of hot water, add the hot dogs and reduce the heat to simmer. The dogs will stay hot that way as well.

2.  Chili Sauce: in a sauce pan on medium heat, heat the canola oil and add the minced onions. Saute until translucent. Add the beef and enough lager to cover the meat. With your hand (comeon, all good cooks use their hands), break up the meat until it turns into tiny "granules." Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then immediately lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings according to your own taste.

3.  Spicy Celery Slaw: in a pint jar, add all the ingredients. Place lid on jar and shake until thoroughly mixed.

4.  Assemble the hot dog on the bun, place chili sauce on top, then top with the celery slaw.

5.  Enjoy with your favorite beverage and pals.

This is just one of the many toppings you can place on the hot dogs. I make several kinds of toppings and set them up as a hot dog bar so that my guests can make any combination of toppings they like. I also like the idea of using the slow cooker because it keeps the dogs hot all day. If you have multiple slow cookers or a slow cooker buffet, even better because then you can keep several toppings hot. That way you don't need to keep fussing with anything which makes it easy for you to enjoy the games.

So there you have it! If your team is playing this weekend, good luck! If not, enjoy the games anyway! See you next week when we get ready for the Divisional games!

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