Burgers and dogs get a twist for the big game

Whether you’re rooting for Ohio State or Michigan during the big game, you’ll be the MVP when you serve two, all-time tailgating favorites – burgers and dogs, only with a twist. For the home team advantage, bake up some Cheeseburger Tots and Spicy Pigs in a Blanket.

Cheeseburger Tots
Crunchy tater tot crusts are filled with seasoned ground beef then topped with shredded cheddar cheese. What makes these appetizers taste just like cheeseburgers is the addition of ketchup, mustard, mayo and pickle relish to the beef. Recipe yields 18 hors d’oeuvres.

32 oz. bag frozen tater tots
1 pound lean ground beef
½ cup onion, diced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons pickle relish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar or American cheese
Small pickles, sliced

Heat oven to 425 F. In a large skillet, brown beef and diced onion over medium high heat. Drain.

Place beef mixture back in the skillet and add mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and relish. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Line a 12 cup muffin pan and a 6 cup muffin pan with parchment paper cups. Place 4 tater tots in each cup. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Using the back of a spoon, smash tots to create wells for the filling.

Fill each well with the beef mixture then top with shredded cheese. Bake an additional 15 minutes.

Allow to rest 5 minutes before removing the tots from the pan. Garnish with pickle slices.

Spicy Pigs in a Blanket
These spicy pigs are golden brown, flaky and have just enough heat from the pepper jack cheese and jalapeños. Typically made with crescent roll dough, these little piggies get an upgrade with a puff pastry crust.Give them an extra layer of deliciousness by dipping them in whole grain mustard. Recipe yields 16 hors d’oeuvres.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
16 miniature cocktail sausages or beef/chicken kosher-style franks such as Aaron’s Best.
2 slices pepper jack cheese, each cut into 8 pieces
16 pickled jalapeño slices
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Whole grain mustard

Heat oven to 375 F. Lay the puff pastry sheet flat and cut it into four equal pieces. Then cut each piece into four strips.

Cut a slit across the top of a sausage or frank. Fill with a piece of cheese, lay a jalapeño slice on top, and place it at the end of one of the puff pastry strips. Roll it up snuggly. Lay it on a sheet pan and repeat to make the rest.

Brush the tops of the pastry with melted butter. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes.

Allow appetizers to cool slightly then serve with whole grain mustard.

(Recipe adapted from Ree Drummond, The New Frontier, 2019)

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