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A Hot Dog Dinner on Everyday China

Day 9 – Cooking for Two with Chili

My first memory of eating a hot dog is at a Middle School, Sunday School cookout. I have to say, it was love at first bite. Since that day, I’ve discovered that hot dogs aren’t that healthy for us. But, I’ve found a less unhealthy version with Applegate Farms. I’m also a fan of Hebrew National hot dogs. But, I have to say that my very favorite indulgence is to have a chili dog with all the fixin’s.  This presents a tabletop dilemma, because chili dogs are not fancy and it can be hard to present them on anything but paper plates and a red-checkered table cloth.

bistro table for two

fall cotton and feathers

fall placesetting
But, I think I’ve overcome! Whenever I prepare chili, I have a ritual that follows. First we have chili, cornbread and coleslaw for dinner. The next night we have chili-slaw dogs with grilled corn on the cob and finally, we have chili-cornbread salad. Three meals from one pot of chili. Cost and time efficient!

Bowl of Chili with Cornbread and Slaw

Chili Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 12-ounce bottles lager beer
  • 1 19-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Corn bread (store-bought or from a mix)
  • Toppings (such as sour cream, scallions, avocados, jalapeños, cilantro, Cheddar cheese)
Chili with Scallions


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, and cumin and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the beer, beans, the tomatoes and their juices, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with the corn bread and toppings as desired.

cotton bolls



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • About 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) cooled melted butter
  • 1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz.) coarsely shredded jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder


  • In a bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, 1/3 cup sugar, the baking powder, and the salt. In another bowl, beat eggs to blend with buttermilk and 1/4 cup butter. Stir in chiles and cheese. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir just until evenly moistened.
  • Scrape batter into a buttered 8- or 9-inch square pan; spread level. In a bowl, mix remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and the chili powder. Sprinkle evenly over batter.
  • Bake in a 400° oven until bread springs back when lightly pressed in the center and begins to pull from pan sides, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Cut into pieces. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Chili-Lime Corn on the Cob


Pick up your favorite deli slaw. We love Cock of the Walk Coleslaw sold at Piggly Wiggly or the Publix brand.

On day two we have leftover chili on our hot dogs with grilled corn on the cob. I brush olive oil, lime juice and chili powder over the corn and wrap in aluminum foil. Grill over medium hot coals for 15 minutes.

Messy Chili Dog
On day three we have:

Chili-Cornbread Salad

Cornbread Salad with White Wine


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (15-1/4 ounces each) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 recipe of your favorite cornbread  (We use the recipe above.)
  • 1-2 cups prepared chili
Serving Cornbread Salad


  1. Prepare corn bread batter according to recipe directions. Spread in a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool.
  2. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream and dressing mix; set aside. Crumble half of the corn bread into a 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Layer with half of the beans, chili, mayonnaise mixture, corn, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, bacon and cheese. Repeat layers (dish will be very full). Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Yield: 12 servings.
Ranch dressing
All three meals are quick and easy to prepare. Serving them in the Fall on an Autumn tablescape seems to work almost as well as a summer picnic. When is your first memory of having a hot dog? Perhaps a baseball game or a family picnic? I’d love to hear how you enjoy yours. Paper plates or everyday china?

chili dogs

candles and cotton


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