Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Chili Dogs

Chili Dogs Ready to Eat!
My husband and I have always loved chili dogs. Certainly not the healthiest things to eat, but they sure are tasty. Once we went low sodium, we pretty much gave up on them. But, as I’ve said before, “Alway Be Checking.” You just never know what you’re going to find.

The hardest part was finding hot dogs with low enough sodium content to use. That’s why I was so excited to discover Nature’s Rancher Uncured Pork & Beef hot dogs at Whole Foods. They’re only 250 mg sodium/link. That is really good for hot dogs! Once I had the hot dog problem taken care of, putting together lower sodium chili dogs was relatively easy.

(For a list of lower sodium hot dogs, click HERE)

I know finding ready-made low sodium hot dogs buns can be problematic. Some people really like King’s Hawaiian hot dog buns with only 130 mg sodium/bun, but they can be hard to find. Just remember, you don’t have to be tied to a traditional hot dog bun. I’ve used slices of homemade or store-bought low sodium bread for hot dogs. I just mist the bread lightly with water and microwave for about 5-8 seconds to soften it enough to wrap around a frankfurter. Other times, I’ve use low sodium homemade or store-bought flour tortillas. I’ve even used homemade hamburger buns, just cutting the hot dog lengthwise and flattening them a bit before putting into the bun. Of course, you can always make your own hot dog buns. Or you can make an open-face version using just half of a bun and eating it with a fork. And you can even forgo the buns altogether and top a hot dog with chili and all the fixings.

When it comes to the chili, I use my own hamburger/hot dog chili sauce topping. (Click HERE to read the recipe) I make up a pot full at a time. The chili sauce is all meat ‒ no beans, no chunky vegetables, no tomatoes ‒  and is made with all salt-free ingredients.

I’ve found that steaming or lightly simmering these lower sodium hot dogs produces the best texture. The links are kind of skinny, so broiling or grilling can dry them out. I’m not complaining, though. If the links were larger, they’d have more sodium.

Steaming - Almost Ready!
For me, the key to making really good chili dogs is to steam them a bit once they’re all put together. The hot frankfurter goes into a bun and is topped with NSA or low sodium mustard* (I always add a spoonful of low sodium sweet pickle relish* on mine), hot chili, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, and a handful of chopped onions. Then the whole thing is put into a shallow bowl or plate and microwaved for 8 - 12 seconds. When it comes out of the microwave, I cover it all with plastic wrap or a plastic microwave cover. (I’ll put a pot holder over the cover opening to keep the steam from escaping.) Alternately, you can wrap each individual chili dog in plastic wrap. But I find using a plate neater and easier. By the time I’m ready to serve up the hot dogs, they’ve been properly steamed.

Served with salt free french fries or potato chips, some NSA pickles, and you’ve got a great low sodium “fast food” treat.

*Low Sodium Chili Dog Condiments:

Westbrae No Salt Added Stoneground Mustard (Available at Amazon or Healthy Heart Market)

Boar’s Head Yellow Mustard (54% lower sodium – 25 mg sodium/tsp)

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