Sure, your kids love hot dogs and they can be pretty attractive meals for parents since they are quick to prepare, inexpensive, and easy to keep on hand. But adding a few variations to the plain dog/bun combination adds interest and a bit of fun to a classic family standard. Encourage kids to help you try out these variations and you may find your simple hot dogs taking on a more gourmet style the whole family can enjoy!

International Hot Dogs
Take elements of your kid’s favorites and create a meal that appeals to all! These variations are a great way to transition kids beyond the basic hot dog because it combines two foods they already love. Parents love them because the prep is only a little longer, and not much messier than standard hot dogs.

Supplies: Pizza/Salsa, choice of cheeses, hot dogs, buns

1. Heat hot dogs as you usually do.
2. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
3. Warm salsa/pizza sauce in microwave.
4. Turn on oven to broil.
5. Place hot dogs in buns on prepared cookie sheet.
6. For Mexican dogs, top with warm salsa and Mexican cheeses; for pizza dogs, top
with warm pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese.
8. Place in middle rack of oven for about five minutes or until buns brown and cheese melts.

Variations: Add chopped up chili peppers, oregano, or any appropriate spices. 
Hot Dog Heaven Meals Both You and the Kids Will Love 2

Hang-Ten Dog: This surfer delight requires a little planning so you have the necessary supplies, but it takes the hot dog to the beaches with a little spark and an Asian twist. Best if prepared on the grill.

Supplies: hot dogs, Klosterman Baking Company buns, half a pound of shrimp (deveined, no tails), one avocado smashed with diced green onion, a sheet of shredded nori, approximately 1/2 cup of mayonnaise mixed with hot sauce and a splash of oil.

1. Grill hot dogs until warm through and slightly crisp.
2. Coat shrimp in oil then grill to cook through.
3. Grill buns until just crunchy; place hot dogs in buns.
4. Add a light layer of the mayo mixture, a dollop of avocado mixture, two shrimp
halves, and top with a handful of nori. 

Variation: Skip the grill! Cut dogs and shrimp in 1/4 inch pieces; pan cook together; toss with avocado and mayo mixtures and top with nori for a lovely salad, hot or cold.

When you begin to think of hot dogs as a foundation rather than the main course, you can make dozens of dishes you and your kids will love. Happy Hot Dogging!