Making Bad Food Good or Pimp My Chili Cheese Dog

Pimp my chilli cheese dogThis post was inspired by my husband who, on one of our first dates, offered me a chili cheese dog. For years, I was in a weight-restricted sport that forced me to maximize calories in terms of nutrient density. (If I could only have 1000 calories a day, I was going to make sure I got the biggest bang for my buck.) That being said, no one had ever offered me a chili cheese dog. Ever. I graciously declined thinking that he was a really nice guy and that someday, he would make someone really happy.  Or, I thought someday we’d laugh about it over miso soup, brown rice and some organic kale.

Hours later he ordered a strawberry cheesequake. I told him that when food is named after a natural disaster, it can’t possibly be good for you. He wholeheartedly disagreed and countered with the potato tornado. I stood corrected. Aghast, but corrected.

I told him I could make him a better chili cheese dog and have included the recipe (with commentary) below. Now, if you like this recipe, send me your favorite food and I’ll try to make a healthy version of it (with commentary) for you.

Chili Cheese Do-Over

If you are a vegetarian, you can use Tofu Pups, Big Franks, Smart Dogs, Tofurky, or Not Dogs. My husband would not sit still for that, so I begin with Lou’s Garrett Valley Naturals All Natural Smoked Andouille Sausage.

(What I love about this sausage is that it has only the following ingredients: pork, water, spices, sea salt, paprika, garlic and onion.  Now compare that to the following popular snack – let me know if you can guess the snack:  enriched corn meal, (corn meal, ferrous sulfate, niacin, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid), vegetable oil (corn, canola, soybean, and/or sunflower oil), cheese seasoning (whey, and less than 2% of the following: cheddar cheese [milk, cheese cultures, salt enzymes], partially hydrogenated soybean oil, canola oil, maltodextrin [made from corn], sour cream [cultured cream, skim milk] salt, whey protein concentrate, monosodium glutamate, natural and artificial flavors, lactic acid, citric acid, artificial color [including yellow 6], and salt.)  If you guessed Cheetos, you are a winner!

The chili is a bit more involved. Again, this can be made for vegetarians – simply do not add the meat. If you choose to do this, add 2 cups of organic shredded cabbage to the chili. Believe me, it adds wonderful flavor.

If you like your chili meaty and spicy, read on:

Heat up 1/2 cup of olive oil and saute one yellow onion, two bell peppers (your favorite color), and 6 cloves of garlic for 5 minutes. Next, add 1/2 pound of grass-fed ground beef (I like Thousand Hills Cattle Company), 1/2 pound animal welfare approved pork, and 1 pound of grass-fed sirloin – cut in chunks and cook for 12-15 minutes. Add 3 jalapenos peppers, 1 Tbsp of paprika, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of oregano, 1 tsp cracked ground pepper.  Stir thoroughly.

Next, add two 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes, one 14-ounce can of tomato sauce, and 1 can of tomato paste.  Add 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of black beans and 1 can of aduki beans. Bring it all to a boil, the back it down to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 65 minutes.  Uncover, and cook for another 30 minutes. Stir every 8-10 minutes.

Check out Pasture Land for organic artisan cheeses; their cave-aged cheddars, raw blue or gouda will dress up any chili cheese dog. Grate up the cheese while your chili is cooking.

Finally, we select a bun. Whole Foods Market or any available organic grocer is likely to carry hot dog buns not filled with partially-hydrogenated soybean oil or other ingredients that will wreck your life. For those who are gluten intolerant, French Meadow has an Italian roll that will provide a delicious solution for you.

Send me your favorite foods and I will try to help you to embark on a transitional journey.  I assure you, my husband has enjoyed the adventure and he has lost 20 pounds in the process.

Bon appetit!

About The Author

Amy Scott

Amy Scott Erickson has a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She is currently the dean of the Health Fitness Specialist degree at Globe University and is a certified Muscle Activation Techniques Specialist. Prior to her role as a dean, Amy was a rowing coach and recruiting coordinator for the University of Texas and the Head Strength & Conditioning coach for the University of Minnesota Women’s Athletic Department. A former Division I athlete, Amy now enjoys cycling, aerial yoga, strength training and is considering taking up rodeo as a new sport.