ORIGINAL RECIPE: from BakerMama at Gold Medal Flour’s website.*
TOOLS: A baking pan and a cheese grater
COOK TYPE: Oven. Baking
HEALTH: If you buy a top-of-the-line hot dog, this is a healthy one-dish meal for your family. We’re talking conscientious meat in small doses, veggies, a whole grain, and–if you use them–pickles. (BTW, real pickles–as in the fermented kind, not the high fructose and vinegar kind–are awesome for you. You should eat more of them, if you can find (or make) them.)
EXPERIENCE: I was running a little low in my pantry, but I knew that there was still a package of hot dogs that I had bought for my boys to eat while I was out of town. I also knew I wanted another way to eat the dogs besides on buns or in soup (yes, I do have a recipe for that). But after an internet search, all I was seeing were noodle casseroles. I not only was completely out of pasta, but the idea sounded terrible. So I searched hot dogs and corn meal.
That’s when I came across corn dog casseroles. But I was a little leery because, well, they all looked tremendously dry. But when one recipe said “Cheesy Corn Dog Casserole” I took a deep breath and said, “Fine.” Maybe there will be some moisture from the cheese.
There wasn’t. One of my biggest culinary pet peeves are recipes that include a lot of yummy cheese only to serve up something that is not one bit cheesy. People! Cheese tends to disintegrate in casseroles! And its taste disappears, no matter how strong the original cheese! But I set aside my instincts and included the cheese in the bread. I will not be doing that again, and neither will you, because I amended the recipe for you. Beware of future recipes that commit this blunder.
I wouldn’t say this recipe was a huge win. It was dry, as I feared, and had a whole lotta corn bread for a small amount of meat and cheese. But, squirted with ketchup and/or mustard and served with a hearty bit of sauer kraut, I believe it was basically redeemed. This is really the kind of thing kids can appreciate, especially if you don’t feel like home-making corn dogs (which are also notoriously dry).
NOTES: I not only moved the cheese around so that it didn’t disappear, I also added some sour cream to the corn bread to–hopefully–moisten it up a bit. Let me know if it worked.
Also, while it is a one-pot dinner, it will take another pan and three bowls to pull everything together. If it freaks you out, wash them while you wait for the casserole to bake.
- Preheat your oven to 425F and grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
- Slice 1 package hot dogs and toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons ketchup and 1 tablespoon yellow mustard. Set aside.
- In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat and saute 1 diced onion and 1 diced green bell pepper until onion is beginning to brown. Remove from heat.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup cornmeal, 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, and 3/4 cup sour cream. Stir wet mixture into the dry until just mixed. Then quickly add in 3/4 cup sweet corn.
- Spread just enough corn bread mixture in the bottom of the baking pan so that you can’t see the bottom. Spread onion and peppers over the top. Pour the rest of the corn bread mixture into the pan. Top with the hot dogs and press the dogs down, but not enough to submerge them.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle the top with 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese. Bake another 10 minutes.
Serve with ketchup, yellow mustard, pickles, pickle relish or corn relish, and sauer kraut.
*Recipe changed from the original.