It's 6 p.m. when you get home, the kids are starving, laundry and homework beckon and you forgot to thaw the chicken or meat before you left for work. Every mom faces the dilemma of what to cook when her best-laid plans go awry, but there are always options for cooking on the fly. If you have frozen hot dogs in the freezer, pull them out and you can whip up a meal in mere minutes that your kids will enjoy eating.
While hot dogs are cooked before they are packaged at the manufacturer, you should still cook them before serving, especially if you are feeding children. According to the USDA, heat kills bacteria in the meat that can cause listeriosis, which causes upset stomachs, abdominal pain, fevers and headaches; to be safe, just go ahead and cook the dogs for everyone in your household.
Cooking Frozen Hot Dogs
If your children threaten to pass out if they don't eat immediately, it is possible to microwave or boil frozen hot dogs. It will take a few minutes longer than cooking defrosted dogs, but you'll get the job done without having to go through the extra step of defrosting the meat. You may notice a hint of freezer taste in the meat, though, even when fully cooked. If that happens, use copious amounts of condiments and toppers to mask the taste. If you're cooking your hot dogs in the microwave and you don't have a turntable to evenly cook the meat, pause the microwave at 30-second intervals to rearrange the hot dogs until they are cooked through.
For the best tasting hot dogs, take about five minutes to defrost them in the microwave. Place them in a shallow dish with just enough water to cover the bottom, cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and then you and the kids can set the table and prepare the side dishes or toppings as they defrost. If you need a bit more time before you're ready to start cooking, defrost them in a bowl of cool water for about 30 minutes. Once they are thawed, boil, grill, fry or microwave them as you go through your kids' backpacks and unload the lunch boxes.
Mix It Up
While the hot dogs are cooking, retrieve leftover cornbread or corn muffins and slice them into individual buns or rolls. When the hot dogs are cooked, slice them in half lengthwise, top with mustard and sandwich a sliced dog between the two slices of cornbread for a modified corn dog -- chances are your version will be far healthier. If there isn't a crust of bread to be found in the house, combine sliced hot dogs with bean soup or a can of beans and ketchup to make franks 'n beans. To reduce the risk of choking, remember to always cut up hot dogs into small pieces -- not just round slices -- if you're feeding very small children. Serve the hot dogs with a quick and easy salad topped with creamy dressing for a healthy side dish.
Kristie Brown is a publisher, writer and editor. She has contributed to magazines, textbooks and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.
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