Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar

By Stacie Morgan, June 30, 2016, Recipes

Welcome to Cooking with Less Kilowatts! There is nothing better than sitting down in the evening to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. But did you know that changing what you do in the kitchen can make an impact on your monthly electricity bill? Each week, I will help you find ways to cook using less energy while still getting a satisfying, flavorful meal. Trust me – I won’t just tell you to do everything in the microwave. I’ll help you cut down on your energy consumption.

Tying to plan the menu for your Fourth of July party this year? Tired of the same old hot dogs and hamburgers with ketchup and mustard, but you need to feed a large number of people on a budget? Get ready for some real holiday inspiration with this week’s low energy use recipe –a build-your-own hot dog bar!

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar | Bounce Energy Blog

I love getting creative with inventive ingredients I can then pair with an easy-to-make main food, especially when it comes to feeding a lot of people for parties. Hot dogs and sausage dogs are perfect for such meals! You only have to stick ‘em on the grill, they’re a great vehicle for many different recipes, and they are comparably inexpensive.

With the exception of things I usually have on hand (seasonings, butter, etc.), I purchased all the ingredients in today’s recipe for barely $60 – and it fed 20 people! At a cost of only $3/person, this is a perfect party idea because it saves energy use AND money!

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar | Bounce Energy Blog

Start your shopping by checking out all the pre-packaged hot dogs and sausages in your local grocery store. From there, head to the butcher counter to find some pretty unique handmade sausages.

Though you can use any type sausage for the Nacho Dog, I thought the queso Poblano pepper chicken sausage would deliver extra Tex-Mex flavors. With the Caprese Dog, I opted for a natural roasted garlic pork sausage on a delicious garlic butter grilled pretzel buns with marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and Italian seasoning added.

For a super-simple twist on a Classic Dog, the same sausages taste great on the same pretzel buns with a fancy mustard of your choice. If you like things spicy, let your guests make Buffalo Dogs using buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese crumbles.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar | Bounce Energy Blog

And make things easy on yourself by purchasing premade ingredients and toppings at the grocery store. In this recipe, I “doctored” up some classic store-bought side dishes for grown-up friendly twists on the Classic Dog. For example: grab a tub of your store’s premade mustard potato salad and add a little Cajun seasoning, paprika, and red pepper hot sauce to create a spicy potato salad you can enjoy as either a side dish or hot dog topping.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar | Bounce Energy Blog

You can also deliver a tangy twist on the classic cole slaw served at many 4th of July parties by adding a little lime juice, cumin, and cilantro to a store-bought bag of slaw!

No matter which of these hot dogs you decide to prepare for your build-your-own hot dog bar, the crossover options for your hot dogs are seemingly endless AND perfect for your budget!

Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar

Caprese Dog Ingredients:

  • 4 Roasted garlic pork sausages (recommended, though you can use whatever sausage you prefer)
  • 4 Pretzel buns
  • ¼ c. Marinara sauce per bun (from jar)
  • ¼ c. Shredded mozzarella cheese per bun
  • 2 Fresh Roma tomato slices per bun (4 halves)
  • 2 Fresh sliced basil leaves per bun
  • ¼ tsp. Italian seasoning per bun
  • 1 tsp. Minced garlic per bun
  • 1 tbsp. Butter per bun

Directions:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar | Bounce Energy Blog

1) Grill the sausages until cooked (165° F internal temperature).

2) Melt the butter and spread onto each bun with minced garlic.

3) Place the buns on the grill next to the sausages.

4) Spread the marinara sauce on the top half of each bun. Set a grilled sausage on the bottom half of each bun.

5) Cover with shredded cheese and sliced basil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

Classic Hot Dog Ingredients (with Sides):

  • 1 Pack classic hot dogs (regular or cheese filled)
  • 1 Bun per hot dog
  • 1 Creamy cole slaw ready bag from store
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp. Cumin
  • 3 tbsp. Chopped cilantro
  • 1 Mustard potato salad tub from store
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. Tabasco sauce (or any red cayenne pepper sauce)
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh diced sweet yellow onion

Directions:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar | Bounce Energy Blog

1) Cook the hot dogs on the grill until heated through.

2) Prepare cole slaw as directed on the bag. Add the lime juice, cumin, and cilantro to the cole slaw and mix.

3) Add the pepper sauce into the potato salad along with the paprika and Cajun seasoning. Mix thoroughly. Sprinkle a little extra paprika and Cajun seasoning on top of the mixed potato salad as shown.

4) Serve grilled hot dogs in toasted buns and top with either the cole slaw and extra chopped cilantro or the potato salad and some finely diced fresh chopped sweet yellow onions.

Nacho Dog Ingredients:

  • 1 Pack chicken sausage (can be specialty, as this recipe uses queso Poblano)
  • 1 Bun per sausage
  • ¼ c. Guacamole per bun
  • ¼ c. Shredded iceberg lettuce per bun
  • 1 tbsp. Pico de gallo per bun
  • 2 tbsp. Shredded sharp cheddar cheese per bun
  • Handful tortilla strips or crushed chips per bun

Directions:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar | Bounce Energy Blog

1) Grill sausages until cooked through.

2) Place each sausage inside a hot dog bun.

3) Top with guacamole first so all other toppings will stick to it.

4) Add shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, cheese, and tortilla strips.

Buffalo Dog Ingredients:

  • 1 Pack “Hot link” style sausages
  • 1 Bun per sausage
  • 2 tbsp. Buffalo wing sauce
  • ¼ c. Shredded iceberg lettuce per bun
  • 2 tbsp. Pico de gallo per bun
  • Sprinkle fresh chopped cilantro per bun
  • 2 tbsp. Blue cheese crumbles per bun

Directions:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar | Bounce Energy Blog

1) Grill hot links until heated through.

2) Add hot link to toasted bun. Pour buffalo sauce over the hot link.

3) Top with shredded lettuce and Pico de gallo.

4) Sprinkle some extra chopped cilantro used in the cole slaw hot dogs.

5) Add the blue cheese crumbles.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Bar | Bounce Energy Blog

Happy 4th of July from Bounce Energy!

Check in next week for another Cooking with Less Kilowatts series entry ready to help you create delicious, homemade recipes while keeping energy use and effort to a minimum!

Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan

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About 

Stacie is a Texas A&M graduate using her animal science education and passion for food to get creative in the kitchen. She previously worked in business before becoming a mom to a special little boy. She's excited to share recipes her family enjoys at home - and they may even help you save energy and be more green in the kitchen.

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