Whether they're called hot dogs, wieners, or franks, most kids seem to love these all-American treats. But instead of simply placing a hot dog into the ubiquitous bun, you can turn it into a fun shape, such as an octopus. Children get a big kick out of this simple recipe, and you can add side dishes and other ingredients to create an under-the-sea experience on the plate.
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What You Need
All you need are hot dogs, a sharp boning knife, and microwave or steamer. Skinless hot dogs work best, and you can choose from meat, pork, beef, chicken, turkey, and even vegetarian franks.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
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Begin Slicing the Hot Dog
To create the octopus, you will slice most of the length of the hot dog into eight sections. To begin, using a sharp boning knife, slice the hot dog in half lengthwise, leaving 2 inches connected at one end.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
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From 2 Legs to 4 Legs
Roll the hot dog 90 degrees and slice again in half lengthwise, leaving the 2 inches connected at one end. You should now have four legs for the octopus.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
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From 4 Legs to 8 Legs
To create eight legs, carefully cut each of the four hot dog legs in half. This is where a sharp boning knife is essential because the legs can be thin and fragile with some types of hot dogs.
If you have any cutting errors and lost a leg or two, or the hot dog is coming apart, you can chop the leg(s) into pieces to add to macaroni and cheese or baked beans. Or, you could ask your child to help make up a story about why the octopus is missing a leg, to add to your mealtime fun.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Cook in the Microwave or Steamer
Place the hot dog on a microwave-safe plate and spread out the legs. Microwave on high for 30 to 40 seconds. The arms will get curly, and the head will plump. You can also cook the hot dog in a steamer basket until heated through, being sure to spread out the legs before steaming.
You don't have to worry about food safety as hot dogs are precooked, so undercooking isn't a problem. But you want to apply enough heat to get the legs to curl up.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
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Serving the Hot Dog Octopus
Serve the hot dog octopus over baked beans, easy macaroni and cheese, or scrambled eggs. Steamed green vegetables or a fresh salad can become ocean vegetation and coral, creating an underwater setting while assuring the kids get a balanced meal. Zoodles or green-tinted ramen can act as seaweed, the perfect bed for the octopus to sit on.
For the ideal presentation, place the octopus upright, spreading the legs out to surround the head. You can even use a little yellow mustard to create a smiling face.
The hot dog octopus is best eaten with cutlery as it can be a bit messy as finger food.