The Newfangled Gramma's Hot Dog Casserole
One or two pkgs. hot dogs of your choice (however many dogs you need)
2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach (be sure it's chopped, NOT leaf.)
2 or 3 hard boiled eggs
I/2 can Campbell's cheddar cheese soup (Do not dilute it. Use as is.)
1 Tsp. lemon juice
Shredded cheese (I use sharp cheddar or Colby)
Cook the frozen spinach according to directions, but not quite as long as it says. (It's going to cook more in the oven, later). Drain the spinach and mix in the chopped up hard boiled eggs and the lemon juice. Mix in the cheese soup. It should have the consistency of -- oh, say, a bowl of cottage cheese. Not runny. Not too thick. If it's not the right consistency, add more of the cheese soup straight out of the can. It's hard to mix in the cheese soup. It takes a while. Spread the spinach mixture in the bottom of a flat baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam. Lay however many hot dogs crosswise on top of the spinach mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until it starts to bubble around the edges. Serves 4.
The good thing is the easy-to-make-meal and the fact that children may actually ingest some spinach without gagging. The bad thing is you'll have about 1/2 can of cheddar cheese soup left over that you have no idea what to do with.
The rest of the story:
Hot Dog Casserole was my ex-husband’s favorite dinner. Plus, all three of my vegetable-hating children loved it. It was cheap, easy to make and it combined two dinner elements (meat and vegetables) into one dish that cooked all by itself -- no stirring or adding stuff or watching required. It was never one of my favorites, but it’s tolerable and . . we all know mothers have to roll with the punches and bend with the prevailing winds. Grandmothers, too.
My husband and I divorced. Never mind why. I was ticked, however. Really ticked. More ticked than I have ever been before or since.
He moved out. I filed for divorce. After a few weeks, he asked me for the Hot Dog Casserole recipe. MY recipe.
He claimed he was going to make it himself. Ha. This man never used a stovetop for anything more complicated than boiling up a can of soup. He had no inkling of where the oven was or how to turn it on. He didn’t know that spinach comes in frozen rectangular packages and is located in the coldest section of the supermarket. He didn’t know what a supermarket was.
Someone else was going to make Hot Dog Casserole for him. MY recipe.
I said no. I committed the recipe to memory and tore up the 3- by 5-inch card. I threw the pieces away.
The divorce was final within a year and he’s been lobbying for this recipe for the last 21 years. I have stuck to my guns because I remember how angry I was at the time.
Well, I’ve mellowed and so has he. He is now married to Susie, who is a very nice person, much more suitable than the person who was going to make the recipe for him 21 years ago.
I have decided to release the top-secret Smith family recipe into the wild.
Enjoy. Or not. Whatever.