I’d use Miracle Whip instead of mayo if I was doing it, but there’s not enough to taste the difference. We also generally add a 2nd can of cream of chicken soup so there’s more (& thicker) gravy. We have used the light Miracle Whip and the “healthy request” can of chicken soup with no discernible difference.
Obviously, a rotisserie chicken makes this go a little more quickly. Ha ha. Also, I like to grill the chicken breasts on the counter-top electric grill rather than boil them. Seems easier, and I like the dark edges.
This is one of my favorie meals, it lasts for lunches for days or freezes well. I like ’em with a side of nice fresh green beans.
Also… you could change it up with Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Celery or Cream of whatever soup… Not sure how you’d adapt to a vegetarian/vegan version if you wanted to… I know Campbell’s “cream of” soups have “natural flavors” that could have once been alive & self-aware… and I’m not sure about stove-top stuffing but I’m sure there’s chicken flavoring in there.
We’ve also done this with leftover Turkey & stuffing after Thanksgiving.
Recently, we had a ridiculously excellent fall dinner. I could eat this meal several nights a week, and not grow tired of it.
First up was the acorn squash, which is really easy to prepare once you get the damn thing cut open. I have recently stopped trying to go through the whole thing at once. I use a serrated knife and poke from the beside stem into the center, then slice out form the stem all the way back around until I hit the stem again, then crack it open.
After scooping out the seeds (which I always wonder about cooking like pumpkin seeds) and stringy gross stuff, I placed the two halves orange side up in a glass baking dish in about ½” to ¾” of water. Don’t worry, they actually generally do sit up that way without a problem. I sliced the tops/insides a little in preparation for the next part…
I melted some butter (or some Country Crock spread actually) in the microwave, probably about 3 tablespoons worth, and added a little bit of brown sugar, stirred, then ladled it on the top & into the cup formed in the middle. Add it to taste. I don’t really ever measure this. If you’re looking for a measurement form me, add what you think is too much brown sugar, then add a pinch more. I also added a tiny bit of black pepper & paprika to mine this time… but I add that to almost everything.
After that, I placed it in the already pre-heating oven at 400° for about an hour and 5 minutes. I was going for somewhere between an hour and an hour & 15 minutes, and it worked out closer to the hour this time. Check on it around the hour mark. This one was roasted perfectly… the meat of the squash was just melting on to the spoon, & peeling right off of the skin inside. It was really a great flavorful vegetable. I don’t know if this is baking or roasting, but whatever it is, it works. It would have also been good scooped out & served like groovy orange mashed potatoes.
Up next was the corn, figuring temperature was more important for the squash, I typically roast corn at 425° or 450° for 20 minutes to a half hour… but figured why not let it ride along with the squash here?
My wife & I carefully pulled back all the husks… just pulled them back not off, then removed the silk.
We buttered (again, we used Country Crock’s butter approximation), salted, & peppered the corn.
Next we wrapped it back up, and tied the tops back together using a loose strand of the husk. This doesn’t always work out, so sometimes I use foil & make little caps to keep ’em all bound together.
I did a whole post on corn & why you should keep it in the husk, and never ever boil it unless you’re making soup. You can read that here if you’re interested. As you can see, “other stuff in the oven” is not even a good excuse to boil corn. It can go along for the ride. Proof? It turned out beautifully:
I wish my cell phone’s camera got better shots. I need to think farther than Facebook or Twitter when taking food photos, and get the real camera so I can post more to this blog. The corn husks did smoke a little… but I didn’t see any flames, and it let me know when it was done. Ha ha ha. I’ve grown to not rely on timers so much, but to go with temperature and a gut feeling.
Oddly enough for a carnivore like myself, the steak was not the star of this meal. We just got some thin skillet steaks and put them on the Foreman grill oiled, salted, & peppered for about 5 minutes, maybe a little less. They turned out fine. The Foreman Grill seems to be my go-to tool for cooking meat until I get new knobs for by real grill outside. I’m in a Yahoo! Group that’s a really good resource for innovative GFG cooking.
I topped it all off with the newly resurrected Duquesne Beer. [Insert zombie and or Jesus joke here.] I have a collection of antique bottles and have a Duke beer bottle in with my local stuff… so when I heard that they were making it again, I knew I had to try some. I was born after the company was dissolved the first time, so I can’t compare it to the original… but it is a nice mellow pilsner that goes well with this kind of dinner. It rounded out the meal perfectly.
It was aggravating to get my hands on some though… they’ve had a weird release schedule, and no 6 pack shops around me were carrying the stuff. When one local pizza joint was listed as having the stuff, I went there to buy some and they had no idea what I was talking about. I ended up buying a case, but luckily I don’t feel “stuck” with something that I don’t like.
The only way to cook corn on the cob to me any more is in the husk. Be it on the grill, over a campfire, or in the oven… it’s the way to go. Next would be microwaving… but for goodness sake… please stop boiling corn. All the flavor is sucked right out of it into the water. Unless you’re making a creepy corn-based soup stock… quit it!
There are several methods online, but I’ve found this one to work well for our purposes…
Soak the corn in water for a while (or even overnight) if you have the option… this prevents the husks from burning. But, I must confessed that I’ve skipped this step several times with no disastrous consequences. (Also, if you’re storing corn in the fridge, it may have the same effect.)
Peel back the husks, don’t rip them off! Leave ’em attached at the base. Pull of the silk… we have a corn silk brush that works really well for this.
Brush with some butter, I can’t believe it’s not butter, or even Mayo or Miracle whip. The latter two sound crazy, but it’s unhealthy and decadently awesome.
Season with your favorite spices… I prefer fresh ground black pepper, hot shot, and some salt. The wife likes Season-All. I hear lime juice goes well with the aforementioned Mayo slathering… I guess it’s a Mexican thing?
Gently wrap the husk back up over the corn as closely as you found it. If you’re adventurous, use one of the outer husks to tie it back together at the top. If not, use a string or make a nice foil cap.
Now the cooking part…
The Grill: All grills are different, but this is probably my preferred method. I generally put them on at whatever heat I need to cook my “main” dish… if they’re the star of the show, I’d say a medium-high heat is in order, turn them often. You’ll get some nice grill-lines… it’s generally done once the outside layer of husks is charred & brown.
The Oven: The main advantage to using an oven is a nice even cooking. We did these in the oven right on the cooking rack the other night at 425° for 30 minutes, just flipping once… and they were absolutely perfect.
The Campfire: If you haven’t cooked corn on the campfire, shame on you! Get the fire going nice & hot with some nice white coals at the bottom. (They’ll be glowing orange if it’s dark out.) If you’re using a cooking grate, I’d put the corn on top around the outsides, so it wasn’t being hit by direct flame. The pre-soaking does come in handy here. If you’re not using a cooking grate… I’d wrap the re-husked corn in foil and place it on the coals under your fire ring, or just on the inside. Check it for done-ness when you’re nervous about it… ’cause you’re probably right… but be patient.
I’d love to hear how you cook corn, and what you top/pair it with!
A while ago, I blogged about stumbling on to an article listing 6 ways too cook a hot dog. We all know there’s more. Here’s a much better list. OK, maybe not better… but bigger. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions submissions here and on Facebook, I hope to include them all here.
Oh well, on to the list…
Grill ‘em. The general consensus seems to be that if you’re going to cook a hot dog, it needs to be grilled. I would agree with this. I usually don’t break out hot dogs unless I’m already grilling burgers. They’re there for those weird non-burger people, or a topping for your burger.
Charcoal Grill – This is old school grilling, get it hot let the flames & coals cook the dog with some nice grill lines or looking like the victim of a flame-thrower accident. There are good instructions on grilling w/ gas & charcoal here(as if you need them).
Foreman Grill– Or any of the imitators & whatever they’re called. I’ve seen a Hamilton Beach one, I’ve seen them called electric grills, counter-top grills, whatever… you know what I’m talking about. I’ve had little success with the Foreman Grill & hot dogs… which is odd, because it cooks other stuff quite easily. Here’s a video on how to cook ‘em on the Foreman Grill, …because I can’t find good text for it anywhere. They don’t list a time for hot dogs in the book that comes with it. Maybe they assume their grill is for convenience, and it’s more convenient to nuke or boil your dogs. If anyone has $99 to spare, I’ll take the USB iGrill from Think Geek.
Infrared Grill – I know nothing about this newfangled contraption. It looks like you can burn a hot dog in 0.5 seconds on one. Learn about infrared grills at Wikipedia.
Griddle/Flattop Grill – If you have one in your house, you are awesome. You can certainly cook a hot dog on one, and don’t need me to tell you how.
Open Flame.Who doesn’t love hot dogs (or anything really) cooked over a campfire? …Or a bonfire, trash barrel fire, or while the neighbor’s house is burning down? With these methods, You can also wrap the dog with biscuit or croissant dough from those creepy popping tubes, and it will cook nicely over an open flame. If you want to get really crazy, slice it down the middle & stuff cheese in it, or wrap some cheese around it before the dough.
Skewer – We use roasting forks or or just sticks. You can get the forks at any sporting goods or camping store, in a store that has a camping section, or in a store near your camping site. You can get sticks in the woods, or from a lone, sad tree. You can also get inventive, like this guy. Be careful choosing sticks and being inventive… you don’t want anything that will poison your hot dog… like toxic wood, metal treated or painted with anything, and of course plastic. I can’t seem to find a guide online of safe & unsafe tree branches to use when cooking over a fire. Anyone have a boy scout handbook? (I asked Yahoo!, apparently nothing out there will kill you, but stick with a non-sappy wood.) With this method, get your fire going, and hold the hot dog over it… but not in the flame unless you like black crispy possibly carcinogen-laced hot dogs. If using a store-bought fork, it’s up to you if you want to put the dog on long-ways, or double/triple ‘em up the forks.
Pie Iron – If you’ve camped with me, you’ve cooked with a pie iron… or you’ve watched me cook with one. My favorites include pizza ones, and Reubens… but I’m sure you could stuff a hot dog into one. They also have ones that are shaped to cook hot dogs. This would most likely result in a nicely cooked dog without the singe marks, maybe flavored with some onions (gross!) or sauerkraut. If you’re buying a pie iron, buy one made of… iron. This sounds dumb, but they make aluminum ones, and I have melted them with no problem. I don’t think you want aluminum flavored hot dogs.
The Cage – Burger basket, grill basket, vegetable basket – all different names for a similar utensil. I’d use it like I would a fork for hot-dog cooking… may be sort of useless unless you have a burger in it too.
The Rack – If you can find some sort of rack or grate that you can secure safely over the fire that’s also safe to cook on, you can cook like it’s a charcoal grill if you’re more comfortable with that. Just make sure the flame isn’t eating your hot dog before you do.
Foil Pack – You could use the bread dough & any toppings/sides here as well. Wrap the dog & even the bun in foil, and place it on a grate over the flames, or in the coals around the bottom of the fire like you would with a baked potato.
Oven Burner – That’s right. Pit it on a fork or roasting fork, and hold it over the flame on your stove top. This might not be safe, but I bet it would be fun.
Boiled – I’m sure you’ve all had ‘em like this. I think it even suggests to heat ‘em this way on the pack. I’m not a fan of boiling anything any more, unless it’s soup or pasta. It just seems like a lot of flavor goes into the water… and where hot dogs are concerned, it’s not like you have a lot to work with to begin with. I’d suggest boiling hot dogs in beer, even though I’ve never tried it… it sounds pretty awesome. You can even get crazy with beer, ketchup, and brown sugar. Maybe some beef broth or bullion would be cool here too… but that may make ‘em to salty? I dunno. Boil at your own risk.
Nuke ‘em – I guess that besides grilling, this would seem to be the most obvious method of cooking hot dogs. On the last pack we bought, this method was featured larger than the other methods. Just 30 – 40 seconds in the microwave … wrapped in a paper towel? I never use the paper towel. Is that to hold in moisture, prevent explosions, or what? Apparetly there’s an art to this, because I have found the articles How to Cook a Hot Dog in a Microwave and the possible passive-aggressive How to Cook a Hot Dog in the Microwave Without Exploding the Ends. As I write this, I have an urge to make some hot dogs explode in the microwave. I may be developing a disorder.
Lovin’ from the Oven – You can certainly cook hot dogs in the oven, you may split ‘em open or poke them with a fork first. This method would be ideal for the croissant-wrapped hot dogs, smothered in some awesome cheese. Just make sure if you use the 1st linked method, that you put the foil in the oven before you heat it up (like they so diligently mentioned)… or don’t do that, burn yourself, and stay off of the internet.
Deep Fried – They call these Rippers in New Jersey, no? I don’t have a fryer… but I suppose I could do this in a pot on the stove, or in my turkey fryer. I’ve never had one, but I’d imagine it’s a pretty good thing. Corn dogs could be lumped in here too, I guess.
Steamed – This seems to be a popular method, but I know I’ve never done it, or really seen it done. I guess there are commercial steam cabinets for hot dogs… but I bet you could steam it like you do with vegetables if you have a steamer. Perhaps, like boiling… you could steam it with beer…?
In the Skillet. – Or frying pan. Just fry it on the stove top with a little bit of oil. I guess you could slice it open first if you wanted to, so it doesn’t pop on you. Or, you can elevate it to an art form.
In Stuff – Okay this isn’t one specific method, but I didn’t feel like all of these should have their own #’s on the list. You know you’ve chopped ‘em up and added them to baked beans, mac n’ cheese, or even done a hot dog & potato bake. Here I’ll also inject that I once got the SpaghettiOs with hot dogs. They were inexplicably gross. This is your final warning.
Goofy Single-Purpose Appliances – I have hot dogs only occasionally. I can’t imagine getting one of these hot dog cookers that serves only one purpose. Our counter-space is quite limited.. and I can’t see that breaking one of these things out would be worth the novelty after more than a few uses…
The Hot Dog Toaster – Besides looking creepy, these also apparently cook hot dogs. It looks to be just a toaster with hot dog-shaped holes and bun-shaped holes. I wonder if it really cooks the thing through very well? May be quite convenient.
Solar Hot Dog Cooker – This might be fun for campers or science geeks. Solar ovens are pretty awesome, this one and this one are especially geared for hot dogs… this onemight work.
The Roller – These apparently come in several varieties, but all look to be the same concept… Cooked on rollers like the ones you see at the convenience stores. Brookstone makes one, there are a bunch of professional ones, and Nostalgia Electrics offers the Roller & “Ferris Wheel” varieties.
The “Roast My Weenie” guy – More of an accessory, this really just needs to be seen.
Electrocute it – My cousin told me a tale via Facebook of a hot dog cooker for electric chair, taser, and Tesla enthusiasts… called the Presto Hot Dogger. Mad scientists can try it at home with a few things from around the house. This actually looks pretty awesome. This vintage one looks like a torture device.
Well, those are all the methods I can think of right now. Well, other than going to Sheetz or Dormont Dogs… you should be able to get your hot dog fix by one of the methods described here. If you have another technique, please list it in the comments below!