So as I’ve mentioned before Son # 1 made the JV football team. What I probably haven’t mentioned since then, and totally need to (ok, I’m gonna brag a bit) is that he kept getting promoted from position to position, and to starting each position, until half way through the season earning his Varsity letter. Go him! He is a pretty awesome guy, and I’m not at all surprised, but damn if I’m still not proud as hell. The parents will often get together, especially for a big game, and host a tail-gate/team meal for the players. And when it comes to tailgating the boys prefer some of the more traditional fair.
When it comes to tailgating foods, chili is a classic dish that is perfect for football weather. You can make it ahead so you don’t miss any of the action, and I can make a big batch. Big enough to feed a team of athletic teen boys. And speaking of chili, who doesn’t like a good chili dog? This casserole is great to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon or while watching weeknight sports on TV, or (in our case) to serve to a hungry crowd of rowdy teen football players.
We’ve established that our family, and the son’s team, all love chili corn dogs, but this dish has truly taken that flavor to the next level. All the flavor of the two classic stadium treats, but in one tasty casserole. We can’t be alone either because Americans love hot dogs. We really do. We know this because, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (which is, yes, a thing), we bought $1.6 billion worth of them last year, just in grocery stores. But for me the hotdog — along with the slightly more grownup-sounding sausage — is always going to be most at home inside a stadium or at some nearby tailgate. Even better, there isn’t really any standard for how you should eat one, this recipe is a nice change up from the same old, same old.
Chili Dog Casserole with Cheese Fries
recipe adapted from The Weary Chef
5 hot dogs (your favorite brand) , sliced into ¼” rounds
15 oz can chili
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup shredded, or very thinly sliced, carrots
12 oz frozen shoestring, or crinkle cut, French fries
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Spray a 9 x 13” baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium sized skillet, saute the sliced hot dogs until nice and fragrant and browned.
3. In a medium bowl, add the hot dogs, chili, tomatoes, and carrots. Stir until evenly combined. Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish.
4. Evenly arrange French fries in a single layer on top of the hot dog mixture. Bake in the oven at 450 for 30 minutes.
5. Evenly, or as evenly as possible, sprinkle the cheese on top of the fries, and bake an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.