In my extended family it’s a tradition that the birthday boy or girl gets to pick out whatever the family will be eating for their birthday dinner. In recent years everyone has been either teenagers or adults, so we all usually end up eating something delicious. This year my about-to-turn-4 son had, for the first time, an opinion about what we ate for his birthday that extended beyond cake. He insisted (with great fervor) on hot dogs and would not be otherwise thwarted by mommy’s suggestions.
Mommy, the healthy eating, whole foods blogger was planning on something a little less, well… processed. My son’s grandparents and great-grandparents would be joining us, so I was hoping to do something that would also appeal to more adult taste buds and be healthy enough to put onto my blog.
I ended up reaching for Applegate Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs (they’re sooo good), and some organic, all-natural hot dog rolls from Whole Foods. Those two adjustments to the traditional all-American hot dog really cut on the processed element of the meal. All I had to do was make it more appealing for the adults. That’s where homemade “chili dog” chili came in.
The secret to great chili dog chili is a super-thick chili. My recipe is a super-thick success because I don’t drain off all of the starchy liquid from the canned beans and I add a couple of cans of tomato paste. The end result is a thick, hearty chili bursting with flavor. To be honest with you, this chili is amazing on hot dogs but it’s also delicious eaten out of a bowl with a little sour cream, cheese, and cornbread. I recommend serving it on the weekend with hot dogs, and then having a bowl of leftover chili mid-week for a no-fuss meal. Make this chili ahead of time and freeze for busy nights, or put it in a crockpot and keep it warm for a potluck or party guests!
Chili Dog Chili
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
- 3 C yellow onion, diced
- 1 C diced red peppers
- 1/3 C chili powder
- 2 Tbsp hot Mexican chili powder
- 2 Tbsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
- 2 6 oz cans tomato paste
- 2 15 oz cans kidney beans
- 2 15 oz cans pinto beans
- 2 4 oz cans diced green chilies
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 12 uncured organic, natural hot dogs
- 12 organic hot dog rolls
- 3/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
- 3/4 C shredded monterey jack cheese
1. In a large pot, over medium-high heat, cook your onions and ground beef until the onions are soft and the beef is cooked through and beginning to brown.
2. Add chili powder, hot Mexican chili powder, cumin, garlic and salt to the pot and sauté for 1 minute, cooking until you begin to smell the aroma of the spices.
3. Add 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes and 2 6 oz cans of tomato paste to the pot and stir to combine. Be sure not to drain the chopped tomatoes.
4. Then, stir in your canned beans, canned diced green chilies, and diced red pepper. For the beans, drain, but do not rinse. Rinsing will remove much of the starch, which will act as a natural thickener.
5. Bring the chili to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium-low and gently simmer for two hours. While your chili is simmering, shred 3/4 C each of cheddar and monterey jack cheese and mix to combine. Store the cheese in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. 15 minutes prior to serving, grill 12 hotdogs.
6. Once the chili is done simmering, stir in 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar and then you’re ready to serve.
7. For chili dogs, place grilled hotdogs into a bun, top with chili, and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
If you’re throwing a party, place your chili in a crockpot on the “warm” setting, so that all your guests can enjoy piping hot chili.
Your guests can enjoy a chili dog topped with cheese…
… or a hot bowlful with cheese and sour cream. Who says kid’s birthday party food can’t be delicious for adults too??