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Jul 12, 2009 08:30 AM

messy food (chili dog recipe?)

I'm throwing a second brithday party for my daughter in a couple of weeks and the theme is "messy". There will be around 45 people over for lunch so I was thinking that chili dogs would be an easy make ahead (and, yes, thematic) thing to serve but I'm having trouble finding a homemade hot dog chili recipe. Anyone have one?

Also I'd love any make ahead to feed a crowd messy food suggestions.


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  1. i think Sloppy Joes would be even more appropriate, given the name ;) it's a great make-ahead dish because it gives the flavors time to develop. you can prepare the filling in advance, refrigerate, and just heat it up before spooning onto buns.

    ribs are another messy food to eat, as are nachos.

    on the sweet side of things, watermelon is notoriously messy. fondue is another. and there's always Mud Pie...or you could make a Dirt Cake for the birthday cake.

    1. How fun! Just take your favorite brand of dogs and grill or parboil them so they're cooked. If you have a favorite recipe for chili, make it a few days ahead and use it on top of your dogs. I would lay the hot dogs in a shallow baking pan or pyrex and top with your chili and cheese. I also squirt mustard on my dogs before topping w/the chili. Top with shredded cheese, my fave is cheddar. Bake or broil (not pyrex) for 10 mins or until the chili is warmed up and cheese is melted and bubbly. You can spoon an individual dog out (like an enchilalda!) onto the person's bun, which can be toasted ahead if you want.
      Sounds yummy!

      Other messy ideas, but may not be for the kids, is a shrimp or crab boil. Spread newspapers on your tables or better yet, eat outside where you can hose off!!

      I also love the ribs & nachos idea - you can make bbq nachos - I made them over the fourth and they were a hit!

      We also do a lot of tacos here (socal) and they usually end up being pretty messy with juices dripping down your arm! Have fun with it!

      1. If "messy" is your theme, elevate those chili dogs to a do-it-yourself frenzy! Set up a "toppings bar" so diners can help themselves (to stuff like the chili, shredded cheeses, sliced olives, avocado hunks, sour cream, peppers, onions, etc.).

        Good hot dog chili, in my opinion, consists of lots and lots of minced sweet onion, sauteed until clear ("melted down"), add chopped sirloin and chili seasoning, and finish with a small can of tomato sauce. Add a can of your favorite beans if you like. Simmer a long time.

        Did I say use lots and lots of minced onion?


        1. Did you want to make the chili yourself? I'm sure someone has a tried and true recipe to share.

          I like the nachos idea- have you ever tried a fruit 'salsa' with cinnamon chips? I have made it for several events and people really go insane for it- I usually chunk up fruits like strawberries, mango, kiwi, peaches, apples (go tiny on the apples) and make my own chips. Scary-simple and kind of messy because people usually stand over the bowl!

          The Mud Pie is a REALLY cute idea also... That GHG is fulla good stuff!

          1. I have tried close to a dozen recipes and this is the only one that I have liked. A friend gave it to me just this year. Although the little ones might think it is a tad spicy so you might want to back off the cayenne a little.

            Chili Sauce for Hot Dogs

            2 lbs. Hamburg 1 tsp. garlic powder
            1 sweet pepper 1 tsp. oregano
            2 chopped onions 18-24 oz V-8 juice
            1 stalk celery, chopped ½ box chili powder, sm. box (1 oz. size)*
            2 Tbsp. Celery Salt ½ tsp. red pepper (cayenne)
            3 tsp. salt** 1 ½ tsp. black pepper
            3 tsp. paprika

            Brown hamburger and drain fat. Cook onion, pepper and celery until tender. Add remaining ingredients and enough V-8 to cover hamburg. Can be frozen and used as needed. To achieve finer consistency, put cooled sauce in blender or food processor. I also add Frank’s or hot sauce to spice it up.
            * I add about 2 tsp and then add more to taste.
            ** I decrease salt to 1 tsp. and than adjust if necessary