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You are probably going to give in and serve hubby or kids hot dogs at some point, even though you know they aren't exactly health food.  This recipe makes them a little healthier with lower fat and meat, more veggies, vitamins and antioxidants.   These great Coney Islands are based on a recipe given to me by my oldest daughter's great grandmother, Florence Brewer, who brought it from St. Louis years before. 

Coney Island Hot Dogs

5 hot dogs (try for lower fat or lower cholesterol ones)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
1/2 medium green bell pepper
1 small carrot, finely shredded
1 stalk celery
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
3 garlic cloves, minced
chili powder
- from 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons, to taste
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish

10 hot dog buns

Optional toppings:

  • Chopped raw onions
  • Shredded reduced-fat or fat-free cheddar
  • More pickle relish
  • More ketchup
  • Prepared mustard
  • Hot pepper sauce or salsa
  • Reduced-fat sour cream
  • A little drained sauerkraut

Always cook hot dogs thoroughly.  Prick the hot dogs all over with a fork.  (Note #1)   Place in a pan of water and put on to boil.    When they come to a rolling boil, turn down to a simmer.

Chop fine the onion, green pepper and celery.  Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium-high heat, preferably a non-stick pan.  Add the chopped vegetables, shredded carrot and the ground beef.  Mash as it cooks; a potato masher works beautifully.  

When all the pink is gone from the meat and it starts to brown, add the minced garlic and continue to cook, stirring, another minute or two.  Add the flour and chili powder.  Continue to stir and cook for another minute so flour can toast a little.  

Add the ketchup and pickle relish.  Stir well, then turn fire down to very low.   Simmer for five minutes.

Remove hot dogs from pan.  Holding each dog with tongs, cut in half the long way; in other words, split each one.  (Note #2)

Smear hot meat sauce on each bun and place a half hot dog on the sauce.   Add any optional toppings to taste, or just enjoy as is.

Note #1:  Pricking them with a fork lets more of the fat escape into the water.

Note #2 You know hot dogs aren't real good for you, right?  They're full of nitrates, fat, salt, who knows what.   Cutting them in half reduces the damage.  With a hearty glop of sauce, containing veggies, they're far better for you than plain hot dogs.  Tastier, too.


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