Forget the classic hot dog in a bun—we're elevating this comfort food staple with a hot dog casserole that’s perfect for warming up the family on those chilly evenings. This dish takes the familiar flavors of a summer cookout and transforms them into a rich, baked meal you can enjoy any time of year. Not only is it a crowd-pleaser and incredibly easy to make, but it also provides the flexibility to cater to various dietary restrictions. Here's how to cook up a hot dog casserole that will leave everyone reaching for seconds.

Hot Dog Casserole

Ingredients You'll Need for Your Hot Dog Casserole

Classic Ingredients:

  • 8-10 all-beef hot dogs, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can (15 oz) of chili without beans
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (15 oz) of corn, drained
  • 1 cup of diced onions
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz of cooked macaroni or egg noodles (optional)

Healthier Variation:

  • Use turkey or chicken franks
  • Substitute the can of chili with 2 cups of homemade chili made with lean ground meat
  • Choose low-fat or plant-based shredded cheese
  • Opt for whole-grain or gluten-free pasta

Vegetarian/Vegan Variation:

  • Use vegetarian or vegan hot dogs
  • Replace cheddar cheese with dairy-free cheese
  • Swap sour cream for a non-dairy alternative
  • Avoid meat-based chili and instead double up on corn or add a variety of beans

Preparing Your Casserole Dish

First things first, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish if you're using the stovetop, pot, salt, and tableware, and season to taste.

Assembling Your Hot Dog Casserole

Layer the Base:

  1. Start by creating a layer of the cooked noodles, covering the bottom of the dish. If you're skipping the noodles, start with the chili.
  2. Add a layer of corn on top of the noodles.
  3. Layer half of the sliced hot dogs over the corn and noodles.
  4. Sprinkle half of the diced onions over the hot dogs and corn.
  5. Mix the sour cream with the garlic powder and half the paprika. Spread half of this mixture over the entire casserole.
  6. Finish the base with half of the shredded cheese.

Build the Middle:

  1. Repeat the layers, starting with the remaining hot dog slices.
  2. Add another layer of diced onions.
  3. Spread the rest of the sour cream mixture over the casserole.
  4. Top it all off with the remaining shredded cheese and a sprinkle of paprika.

Baking Your Hot Dog Casserole

Cover your casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the top is golden and bubbly.

Serving Suggestions

Bring this casserole to life with delicious sides and serving styles:

  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of ketchup or mustard on each slice.
  • Add a side salad or steamed veggies to balance the meal.
  • For an all-American meal, side with coleslaw and top with pickles and hot sauce.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped parsley for a pop of color.

Storage and Reheating

This casserole stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place a portion in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until heated through. For larger quantities, cover the dish with aluminum foil and reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 20-25 minutes.

Conclusion and Personalization

The beauty of hot dog casserole lies in its simplicity and adaptability. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients to create a version that's perfect for your taste and dietary needs. Whether you're serving a crowd or just looking for easy leftovers, this recipe is a great addition to your meal rotation. Give it a try and savor the deliciousness of this homey classic!

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