All American Classics

(Sort of)

We all love great American classics like hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and apple pie. I love finding new ways of serving traditional dishes that are easy, fun, creative, and delicious.  Here are some of my out-of-the-box ideas for enjoying these and other American classics.

Hot Dog Casserole

1 package of hot dogs

2 cups of mashed potatoes

1/2 to 3/4 cup of bacon bits

1 to 1 & 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Finely chopped green onions

Preheat the oven to 350°. Boil the hot dogs in water until they are done, then remove them from the pot and allow to cool. Add the bacon bits to the mashed potatoes and mix thoroughly.

Slice several of the hot dogs lengthwise down the middle and place them flat-side-down in a baking dish so that the dish is completely covered. Spread the mashed potato mixture on top of the hotdogs, completely covering them. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the potatoes. Add more shredded cheese if you like a lot of cheese. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. The potatoes and cheese should be nice and bubbly, and slightly browned. Sprinkle the top with the green onions. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then serve.

All-American Cheeseburger Ring

¼ Cup Onion, chopped

¾ Lb. Lean Ground Beef

Salt and Pepper

¼ Cup Ketchup

2 Tsp Prepared Yellow Mustard

9 Slices American Cheese, cut in half diagonally

2 Cans Refrigerated Crescent Rolls (such as Pillsbury)

16 Dill Pickle Slices

3 Large Plum Tomatoes, sliced in rings

2 Cups Shredded Lettuce

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large frying pan, cook the ground beef and onions until the ground beef is no longer pink, adding salt and pepper for seasoning. Remove from heat and drain any fat from the ground beef. Cut up five of the cheese triangles into diced-up pieces and add to the hot, drained ground beef/onion mixture. Next, add the ketchup and mustard, and stir everything together until the cheese is melted.

Unroll the crescent dough and separate it into 16 triangles. Arrange the triangles in a circle on a round pizza pan (wide ends toward the center and overlapping a little). The dough should look like a sun with the points hanging over the edge of the pan. There should be an opening, about five inches in diameter, in the middle of the pan.  Using an ice cream scooper, place a scoop of the meat mixture onto the widest end of each dough triangle. You should now have a circle of meat mounds on your “sun.” Top each meat mound with a pickle. Bring the point of each triangle over the top of each mound of filling and tuck it under the wide part of the triangle. (Filling will not be completely covered.) Bake the ring at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until the ring is a deep, golden-brown color.

Remove the ring from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Arrange the remaining triangles of cheese over the top. Arrange the tomato slices around the inside center of the ring, then fill the rest of the center with shredded lettuce. When ready to serve, cut into slices and serve with additional ketchup, mustard, and pickles if desired.

Garlic Pepperoni Pull-Apart

While technically an Italian dish, pizza is one of the most beloved foods in America. Here’s a take on the classic pepperoni pizza pie.

2 Cans Refrigerated Dinner Rolls or Biscuits (Such as Pillsbury)

1 to 1½ Sticks of Butter, melted and cooled a bit

4 TBSP Minced Garlic

2 Tsp Italian Seasoning

1 Pkg Sliced Pepperoni, roughly chopped

1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375°. Separate the dough into individual rolls/biscuits, then cut each one into four pieces. Place all the dough pieces into a large bowl.  (You should have a pretty good-sized mound of dough pieces.) Add the minced garlic, Italian seasoning, chopped pepperoni, and three-fourths of the parmesan cheese. Toss well, making sure the dough gets coated in pepperoni, garlic, and cheese. Gradually add the cooled and melted butter, thoroughly tossing and coating the dough pieces. You do not want the melted butter to be hot or it will cause the dough to start melting and stick together.

Once you are happy with the amount of butter that is coating the dough, transfer the dough to a fluted baking pan (such as a bundt pan or angel food cake pan). Sprinkle the top of the dough with the remaining shredded parmesan cheese. Bake the dough for 25-30 minutes until a deep, golden brown, and a cake tester inserted in the dough comes out clean (in other words, no sticky or uncooked dough). Cool for 5-10 minutes, then gently loosen the bread from the sides and middle of the pan. Carefully invert the bread onto a cooling rack or plate. Allow to cool a bit and serve with warm marinara sauce if desired.

Hot Links & Tortillas

Hot link sausages are right up there with hot dogs as far as I’m concerned.  Rather than snuggle them in a hot dog bun, my husband and I started rolling them up in flour tortillas.  He likes them with mustard (yes, even in a tortilla), and I like them with refried beans and shredded cheese spread on the tortilla before wrapping it around the hotlink.

Hot Link Sausages

Flour Tortillas

Slice the hotlink down the middle, place cut side down in a heavy skillet (like cast iron), and cook thoroughly, browning the sausage on both sides.  Warm the flour tortilla by heating it in a skillet just until the tortilla starts to rise and form air pockets. Immediately remove the tortilla from the skillet and wrap it around the hotlink.  Yummy additions: pico de gallo/salsa; guacamole; shredded cheese; refried beans; shredded lettuce; grilled bell peppers and onions.

Apple Crisp

5 Granny Smith Apples

1 Pkg (9 ounces) Yellow Cake Mix (Jiffy works well, or 1/2 box of full-size cake mix)

2 TBSP Sugar

1 TBSP Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Cup butter or margarine, melted

1/2 Cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel, core, and slice apples into fairly thin wedges.  Spray the bottom of a 9″x9″ baking dish (or a round baking dish).  Place the apple slices in the bottom of the pan.  Combine the cake mix, sugar, cinnamon, butter, and nuts in a mixing bowl. Mix until crumbly, then sprinkle over the top of the apple slices.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until apples are tender and the top is brown and bubbly.  If desired, serve with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream.

To make a 9″x13″ pan of apple crisp, simply double the ingredients and increase baking time to 40-45 minutes.


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