Tuesday, March 21, 2006

comfort food: hot dog casserole

Some recipes get passed down through the generations. Recipes for pork roasts, or for turkey stuffing, or cakes. Perhaps my karma has a sense of humor, 'cause one of the most prominent family recipes I have is a 1950s American housewife back-of-can special called Hot Dog Casserole. It's really good. I had a bit of a bad day yesterday (didn't get a grant I was hoping for), so I decided that this sort of comfort food was in order.

I am nothing if not a food snob, though, so I did upgrade some of the ingredients. For the hot dogs, I used organic free-range beef franks (in general, for this recipe, beef or turkey are good, pork, as in products labeled "hot dogs", or tofu are horrible). For the cheddar cheese, I used Vermont Cabot extra sharp, and for the seasoned salt I made my own (recipe below). Unfortunately, only Campbells makes condensed tomato soup, and I didn't have a spare hour to make my own egg noodles. Nevertheless, the results were tasty, comforting, and snobbish.

Hot Dog Casserole

Serves about 4.

2 T butter
1 medium onion, chopped
12-16 oz beef franks
8 oz wide egg noodles
1 can condensed tomato soup
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 T worchestershire sauce
1/2 t seasoned salt
  1. Cook egg noodles in salted water. Drain. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Saute onions in butter on medium heat until starting to color. Add franks and cook until starting to color. Remove from heat.
  3. Mix soup concentrate (do not add water), cheese, worchestershire sauce, and seasoned salt together. Add franks and noodles and mix until combined.
  4. Grease a 9x12 casserole and bake for 20-30 minutes until crisp on top.

Homemade Knockoff of Lowry's Seasoned Salt

1/4 c salt
1 T sugar
1 t paprika
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t cornstarch
1/2 t black peppercorns
1/4 t mustard seeds
1/2 t oregano
  1. Grind peppercorns, mustard seeds, and oregano in a spice grinder. Add to remaining ingredients. In batches, grind mixture in spice grinder until fairly fine.



At 1:06 PM, Blogger Tanya Lee said...

I can't *believe* you didn't make your own egg noodles, Harlan. ;)

At 9:31 AM, Blogger megc said...

Harlan, that sounds pretty tasty, actually. It reminds me a little of a recipe my grandma gave me, "Macaroni and Beef." Basically, ground meat, noodles, and condensed tomato soup. And cheese, maybe. Oooh, salt, can't forget that! Casseroles, casseroles. That seasoned salt recipe is pretty neat, too.

Sorry about the grant. I understand.

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Ben said...

I love the knockoff Lawry's recipe.

Is there a cookbook made of knockoff/upgrade recipes? I'm not talking just about a "secret formula" cookbook. I've seen those. But a cookbook for people who are used to cooking with, say, Lawry's, but that know want to fancy up their life.

That would be interesting.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Harlan said...

That knockoff seasoned salt recipe is great on popcorn. (It stains your fingers a bit yellow, though, from the turmeric.) I got this really tasty crunchy small purple popcorn that I've been using it on... Mmm, popcorn... That's certainly an upgrade from microwave popcorn. Get high-quality corn, pop 1/4 c with 1 T peanut oil, pour a bit of melted butter over the top, and sprinkle with homemade seasoned salt...

At 7:07 AM, Blogger duluoz cats said...

This is so funny! I must have missed this when you originally posted it ... I thought my father was the only nut who made this kind of thing--except he used to use spaghetti and ricotta cheese ... eww

At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I served "Five O'Clock Franks" to my family in the 1970s. It was from a Campbell Soup recipe book. Similar to yours, only it used cheddar cheese soup, a good squirt of ketchup (instead of tomato soup)and a can of drained green beans added to the sauted onions and sliced hot dogs and cooked noodles. My kids still talk about this today and tell people about it. Nobody can believe it.


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