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Top 5 Recipes Involving Hot Dogs

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Hot dogs haven't always enjoyed the best reputation. Cheap varieties do often include snips and snails and puppy dogs' tails, but more quality, and, dare I say, classier wieners with actual meat do exist. As a devotee of the dog, I'm thrilled with the wave of new dressed-up, "haute" dogs, and hope this trend is a harbinger of renewed interest in cooking with hot dogs. That's right: Hot dogs can serve as a legitimate ingredient in many terrific recipes. Here are five to try:

5. Grill Hot Dog Pizza. Pizza Hut almost ruined the potential for the union of pizza and hot dogs, but the Doughboy stepped in to save the day with this far more palatable and thoughtful version. Their recipe, understandably, plays it a bit safe and dresses the pizza only with plain cheddar cheese; additional toppings of sliced tomatoes, onions and peppers will liven up this pie.

4. Potato and Hot Dog Soup. The culinary invention of chef Emeril Lagasse, this soup uses a cream base as a foundation for showing up an array of flavors (thanks to the inclusion of thyme, parsley, onions and garlic). The sliced hot dog rounds are savory meat islands in this floating sea of spices that provide protein to balance the dairy and greens. Emeril, BTW, recommends using turkey dogs, but I think all-beef would work as well.

3. Fried Rice with Frankfurters. The incorporation of hot dogs into traditional Asian-style fried rice is very common, as evidenced by the large number of recipes on the interwebs. Most versions can be made with left-over plain white rice, eggs, soy sauce and scallions, though more fastidious cooks recommend using jasmine rice and adding in carrots, ginger and garlic.

2. Hot Dog Pie. Hot Dogs + Pie: It doesn't get more American than this, folks. Also, so not shocked this recipe was sent in from Pennsylvania. A filling of Velveeta cheese, brown sugar, beans, ketchup, mustard, ground beef and, of course, hot dogs initially seems odd until you realize these flavors are familiar friends in other foods such as chili dogs and franks and beans. The addition of the butter crust also intensifies the richness of the dish and provides a more cohesive presentation than, say, a platter o' buns and dogs.

1. Caterpillar Bread. Major shout-out to Mandy, the "Novice Baker," for this recipe, which offers a variation on the traditional Asian baked good. Perhaps even cuter than these egg-washed dog-and-dough twists is the childhood anecdote she provides just before the instructions.

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