Monday, November 8, 2010

Cheddar Dogs with Cider-Braised Leeks and Apples

Or, the most awkwardly named hot dogs. Ever. But they are fancy-pants hot dogs, and they are delicious, so there is an upside here.

The last time I made fancy-pants hot dogs was back in July and involved Manchego cheese, roasted garlic, roasted red peppers, and were fantastic. These hot dogs are from the same series by Bon Appétit, Around the World in 80 Dogs (or something like that, that issue from 2009 has long since disappeared), so I had high hopes.

Hot dogs rarely make it on to our weekly menu. I'm pretty sure the last time we had them was in July, and before that... never. They just aren't something I crave. Or that Adam asks for. I was flipping through my collection of unmade recipes the other day trying to figure out what to eat, and I paused when I came to these. We had part of a 1/2 gallon of cider hanging out in the fridge that wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, and some leftover bourbon from our big dinner party back in October. This seemed like a good opportunity to use up some random ingredients. Lucky for us, these were pretty good, I might actually consider making them again without being prompted by those soon-to-go-bad ingredients.

Cheddar Dogs with Cider-Braised Leeks and Apples
Adapted from: Bon Appétit, July 2009

2 tablespoons butter Certified Yummly Recipes on
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 apple, peeled, cored, diced
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups apple cider
1/4 cup bourbon
6 hot dog buns
6 teaspoons coarse ground mustard
6 all-beef hot dogs, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

In large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add leeks and apple. Cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add caraway seeds, allspice, salt and pepper. Pour in cider and bourbon; bring to boil while stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until most of liquid is cooked away, about 16-20 minutes.

Place hot dogs in buns and spread 1 teaspoon mustard on each. Sprinkle with cheese and top with leek mixture.

Serves: 6

These hot dogs may be delicious, but they are also quite messy, so make sure you grab a napkin and stretch out those jaw muscles before digging in.

Isn't that hot dog holder super cute? You can find the pdf to make your own (and even one for french fries) over at Bakerella. I swear she comes up with the cutest ideas!

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 444Calories from fat 220
% Daily Value
Total Fat 24.5g38%
Saturated Fat 10.7g53%
Cholesterol 46mg15%
Sodium 1050mg44%
Total Carbs 37.9g13%
Dietary Fiber 2.6g10%
Sugars 13.8g
Protein 13.3g
Vitamin A 14%Vitamin C 9%
Calcium 18%Iron 19%

Get Up and Move Challenge Day 8: What are healthy choices I can make when I'm on the go?

Let's face reality here, as much as we would all love to have healthy, well-planned out homemade meals for every meal, there are just times it's not going to happen. When we started this 30 day challenge, we said we were going to not only try to get in exercise everyday throughout the month, but also attempt to make healthy choices. How can we do that when our schedule puts a damper on our food-making time and those golden arches are just beckoning in the distance?

While it may be tempting to give up and just eat anything when passing through those fast food doors, all is not lost. Healthy eating is definitely not synonymous with McDonald's or Wendy's or Burger King, but there are choices you can make that won't completely throw your day out of whack.

So you're running late for work and don't have time for your usual early morning fare. Time-wise your best option is to swing through McDonald's drive-thru on your way and gobble it down before you get to work. Life happens. What can we do?

Instead of opting for that Sausage, Egg and Cheese McGriddle, switch it up with a Fruit 'n' Yogurt Parfait and an English muffin with jam or jelly.

Breakfast at McDonald's [1]

Sausage, Egg, & Cheese

Fruit ‘n’ Yogurt Parfait &
English muffin with jam
Serving Size201g219g
Total Fat32g5g
Saturated Fat12g1.5g

Wow. There are some big differences! For almost the exact same amount of food you would save 205 calories, 27g of total fat, 10.5 g saturated fat, 260mg cholesterol, and almost 1,000mg of sodium! I think your heart and blood pressure would thank you on this meal alone!

So we made a healthy choice for breakfast, that got the day back on track! Until we realized we forgot to bring our lunch (which is probably now sitting out on the counter). There's a Wendy's near by, what kind of choices do we have there? (And we're really in the mood for chicken...)

Lunch at Wendy's [2]
Sweet & Spicy Asian
Boneless Wings,
Medium Coke
5 pc. Chicken Nuggets,
Sweet & Sour Sauce,
Side Salad with
Italian Vinaigrette,
Medium Coke Zero,
Small Frosty
Serving Size873g1047g
Total Fat18g28g
Saturated Fat3.5g5.0g

Just to recap:

Versus this:
+ + +

You can get almost 200g more food for 55 less calories, 20 less mg of cholesterol, and the big kicker: 1585 less mg of sodium. While it's true that we did increase our levels of total fat and saturated fat, the saturated fat is still only 25% of your daily value, which is pretty good.

And last, but not least, we need to swing by Burger King on the way home from soccer practice with the kids. Even though we are a little "fast-fooded" out, a burger doesn't sound all too bad.

Dinner at Burger King [3]
Double Whopper w/Cheese
Small Fries
Medium Coke
Double Cheeseburger
Apple Fries w/Caramel
Value-Size Onion Rings
Funnel Cake Sticks
Medium Diet Coke
Serving Size1128g958g
Total Fat82g45.5g
Saturated Fat27.5g16.5g

Once again, we have a huge difference! Even adding another side AND a dessert, still saves you 562 calories, 36.5g total fat, 11g saturated fat, 55mg cholesterol, and 655mg sodium when you switch out a double cheeseburger for a double whopper.

So how did we end the day?

Daily Total
Not-So-Healthy ChoicesHealthier Choices
Serving Size2202g2224g
Total Fat132g78.5g
Saturated Fat43g23g

Huge, huge difference! The "healthier" choices saved us right over 800 calories (an entire meal!), 53.5g fat, 20g saturated fat (an entire day's worth), 335mg cholesterol (over a day's worth), and 3235mg sodium (a day and 1/3 worth). In fact, our "healthier option" choices placed us pretty much on the nose for where we want to be with a 2,000 calorie diet (same as what your Daily Value percentages are based off of on your nutrition labels). We did go slightly over in some health-factor areas (3g over for saturated fat and about 200mg over for sodium), but overall I would call choosing healthier options during the day a success!

There are definitely "healthier" option at these restaurants than the ones I chose, but I thought it would be better to compare foods that you really want to eat, and were similar to the "unhealthy" options rather than comparing a burger to a salad.

Eating fast food may not be quite as dangerous as you thought. And you don't have to sacrifice some of your favorite options in order to eat healthier either!

What are some of your favorite fast food places to eat, and what could you choose that would make it healthier?

[1] McDonald's Nutrition Facts: November 8, 2010.

[2] Wendy's Nutrition Facts: November 8, 2010.

[3] Burger King's Nutrition Facts: November 8, 2010.


  1. Another wise choice to make would be eliminating soda and French fries or onion rings and simply eat grilled chicken with a little sauce and a side salad and/or a baked potato. Or, if you must have a burger and/or fries, eat a small cheeseburger with small fries (no salt) and a bottle of water.

    I've eliminated fast food from my diet and I feel so much better. If I have to eat fast food I go for a grilled chicken salad with a light dressing, a baked potato, and a bottle of water. Satisfying, nutritious, and a perfect small meal if you're eating an average of every 3-4 hours (as it is recommended one should to keep their metabolism going).

    Great post today!

  2. Interesting the toppings.

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