Summertime holidays are a great time to find sale-priced hot dogs, bratwurst and other kinds of “tube steak.” If the price is right ($1 or less for cheaper hot dogs, or $2/less for quality hot dogs, brats or sausage), I’ll buy 20-30 packages and keep them in the freezer for year-round use. These meats can really stretch your food budget!
You can serve hot dogs the traditional way, slathered with mustard or sauerkraut on a bun. But they’ll go even further, served baked in their own tender rolls. These “pigs in blankets” (‘sausage rolls,’ to the Brits) actually stay warmer, wrapped in a napkin, than their plain counterparts. Kids love ‘pigs,’ and they pack well for a picnic, too. Try serving these crunchy, meaty. treats at a barbecue, and you may find that adults prefer them to more expensive entrees.
Pigs In A Blanket
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 5 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 2 cups flour (plus more for kneading)
- 1 pound package of uncooked hot dogs, brats or link sausage
Microwave water, milk, butter, salt & sugar for 30 seconds, until butter is melted. (Check to make sure the mixture is very warm — but not hot.) Stir in yeast and flour, and knead gently, adding flour as needed for a soft dough. (You can use it right away — but for even fluffier results, let the dough rise for an hour, up to all day. Keep it covered with a damp towel in a warm place.)
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Pull off a ping pong-sized ball of dough, and wrap around a single dog/brat/sausage; repeat until the meat is gone. (Extra dough makes good rolls.) Place on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving room for the ‘pigs’ to expand. Bake 15-20 min., until lightly browned and meat is sizzling. Serve 2 ‘pigs’ per person, along with potato salad and a slice of watermelon.
We also like our brats and sausage in ‘Toad in the Hole,’ a British treat that combines the meat with an easy-to-make popover dough. (The “toads” poke out of the batter, like they’re trying to peek.) This one’s even faster than ‘pigs in blankets;’ try it on a rainy night sometime when you’ve come home late and need something quick.
Toad In The Hole
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound package of bratwurst or link sausage (hot dogs work, too)
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix the dough ingredients quickly. (Mixture will be runny – don’t worry.) Place your meat in a greased pie plate or 9 x 5 pan, and pour the batter quickly over. Bake approx. 20 minutes, until browned and bubbling. Cut in quarters to serve 4 people. Great with a green vegetable or cool salad.
Cindy Brick is a personal property appraiser, judge and national teacher who loves to write about frugality and other personal finance topics. She has written six books and hundreds of articles, but often focuses on quilting, her teaching specialty. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two golden labs and a flock of very suspicious chickens. Find out more at Brickworks, http://www.cindybrick.com, or visit her personal blog: http://www.cindybrick.blogspot.com