March Break Fun with the kids and hot dogs!

March Break has arrived and like me you may be at home working and your kids are home as well wondering what are we going to do today? My answer may be obvious but it’s an answer that usually has a positive response-”we are going to cook something”. 
Over the years I have been lucky enough to teach many children to cook and watch them enjoy what they have made. I have also watched kids get in the kitchen to help out, young and old, it always makes a difference to the meal and to the young people participating. They feel like they are taking an active part in what the end result is and that makes them more interested in trying it out and you know what, it usually results in helping you out as well. 
Many think that having kids in the kitchen can be a problem or slow us down. Or perhaps you are not used to having kids in the kitchen it is easier to let them go off and play while you put dinner together. If you can spare a minute to invite them into the kitchen even to watch as young toddlers, stir up a muffin batter or roll meatballs; this will all help them later in life to realize how fun and amazing it is to cook. 
I often hear moms say to their sons, “you will be a popular boy if you know how to cook a meal”. I can honestly saying knowing how to cook helped me through university with saving money and having friends come over and pitch in to create meals together before going out on the weekend. 
There is so much we can share with our children when it comes to food. Letting them come to the grocery store and check out fruits and vegetables might help you try something new too. It’s always easier to be adventurous with someone else than on your own. 
Now because it’s March Break having some fun with favourite foods is important too. The usual fruits and vegetables are available around here but I also wanted to have some special fun and treats for the week that I was pretty sure the kids would like. And using local ingredients is a great way to bring in another teaching tool into the kitchen. 
So I decided to start off with an award winning product out of Heidelberg, Ontario-Stemmler’s Beef and Pork Franks (available at Market Fresh). Yes the simple hot dog was about to get used a little differently in our kitchen but with fun and kids in mind. 
I hope you enjoy the recipes with your kids, although I do admit they are a hit with adults alike especially with a pint of local beer. This could be the start to a fun March Break for the whole family!

Mini Cheese Corndog Muffins

Tuck a little smoky ball park frank into these muffins or your favourite hot dog and enjoy these bite size snacks. Serve them up with mustard, ketchup or your other favourite condiments. They are just as tasty on their own!

1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) cornmeal
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) milk
1 egg
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter, melted
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded Old or Medium Cheddar cheese
2 Stemmler’s ball park franks, each cut into 12 pieces

Grease 24 mini muffin tins; set aside.

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and soda and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg and butter. Pour over flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add cheese and stir until distributed evenly.

Spoon batter into prepared mini muffin tins and top each with a piece of hot dog. Bake in preheated 400 F (200 C) oven for about 12 minutes or until golden and tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on cooling rack. 

Makes 24 muffins.

Tip: If using regular size hot dogs you will need 4 and cut each into 6 pieces.

Pizza Hot Dog Pull Aparts

A fun way to enjoy hot dogs by combining them with another family favourite pizza! 

1 bag (700 g) storebought or homemade pizza dough
1 cup (250 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese
6 Stemmler’s ball park franks or 8 regular hot dogs
Pizza or marinara sauce

Divide dough into 6 pieces and press or roll out to an oval the same length as the hot dog. Sprinkle centre with some of the cheese.

Place hot dog in the centre; fold over the dough and pinch to seal around the hot dog. 

Place dough wrapped hot dog seam side down onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cut hot dog and dough almost all the way through into about 8 pieces each. Place first slice down on sheet and then alternate the one behind all the way down the hot dog. Repeat with remaining hot dogs.

Bake in a preheated 400 F (200 C) oven for about 15 minutes or until golden. 

Pull apart each piece and dip into pizza sauce or ketchup to serve.

Makes 6 pull aparts. 


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