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It’s that time of year again! Time for barbecues and roasted marshmallows! Time for chasing fireflies and getting dirty feet! Time for mommy to get a clue on how to get grass stain out of the seat of britches.


Sometimes cookouts can be last minute thoughts. In my family, we might decide at lunch to have a cookout for dinner. While that drives the planner in me INSANE, I am glad my family can be spontaneous – even if I am not. But, I have this little trick up my sleeve. I actually AM prepared to be spontaneous…and they don’t even know it! *Insert evil laughter here*

I like to keep hot dog chili in my freezer all the time. I make large batches of it and then freeze in smaller quantities so that I can thaw as needed. Some people refer to this as “batch cooking.” I refer to it as spontaneity. Go with it.

Having this on hand, already made, means I can contribute something to a family cookout even if I already had plans for the day. I won’t have to turn down an invite to dinner because I have “nothing to bring.” I can shrug my shoulders, grin, and say, “that’s cool – I like to be spontaneous.” I am such a liar.

And, perfectly in line with my frugal nature, this recipe is so cheap to make! You can use whatever ground meat you have. I normally use venison which is a healthy and cheap option for us. I sometimes use ground beef because my Daddy is a cattle farmer, so I get a good price on it – labor. 😉

If you can’t or won’t eat beef or venison, this also works with ground turkey or chicken. I’m always looking for a deal – so I don’t go out and buy ground veal to make hot dog chili…somehow that just seems all sorts of wrong. A cheap hot dog with gourmet meat.

Also, this recipe is both “whole foods” and “I-visit-the-drive-through-each-day” friendly. If you are a whole-foodie you can use grass fed beef and sausage, homemade ketchup, and locally grown onions. If you aren’t even sure what “whole-foodie” means, you can pick up all these things at the grocery store. Anything goes. I aim to please…which is about the only target I can hit.

So, here I am sharing my family-pleasing hot-dog chili. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. From our family to yours.


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Easy Hot Dog Chili

Course: American Food

Yield: Plenty (I have no idea because I’ve never measured)



  • 3 pounds ground beef (or other meat)
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 cups water


  1. In a large skillet, brown beef and sausage with the onion. Drain if necessary.
  2. Place meat in large pot.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Stir.
  4. Cover and cook over medium-low for 2-3 hours or until flavors blend well.

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