This shop featuring my recipe for cheesy stuffed bagel dogs has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PackedWithSavings #CollectiveBias
Summer is nearly over. That’s a good thing and a bad thing around here. I’ll miss spending so much time with my family and doing all sorts of fun things, but my wallet will be happier when I’m not constantly spending money to entertain them (and me). I’ve been doing my best to save money where I can so my wallet doesn’t squeak too much, and I know I’m not alone.
I can’t find a way to get a discount on Little Miss’s team gymnastics (or ouch, that $215 competition leotard we just bought!) or Mister Man’s tae kwon do fees. Or on gas to go to the waterpark or to summer camp, let alone the food at the waterpark or the summer camp fees. Instead, I need to pinch my pennies elsewhere.
Since I cook at home pretty much all the time, I always look for deals on ingredients whenever I can find them. Couponing isn’t my strong suit, but I do my best because finding good grocery coupons really makes a difference at checkout. I found coupons recently that gave me an idea, though. The wee ones love bagel dogs and ask me to make them all the time. Me, I’m not as into hot dogs as I was as a kid. This time around, I decided to dress up our hot dogs and give them some added flavor.
I love the combination of cheddar and cream cheese – the sweet creamy tangy yumminess of the cream cheese and the sharp bold taste of cheddar pair perfectly. A touch of hot sauce with that combo rolled up inside my bagel dog, and I was pretty sure I was onto a reinvention that would give bagel dogs a new life in my house. Yes, my buffalo chicken dip inspired me just a little.
Lucky for me, there’s a Walmart within throwing distance of Mister Man’s tae kwon do studio, which made it easy to skip there and use those coupons to pick up those Oscar Mayer all beef hot dogs, Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese so I could quickly whip up dinner after we get home from Mister Man’s tae kwon do. When I told Little Miss what I had up my sleeve, she couldn’t wait to help.
Before we left for tae kwon do, we spent five minutes mixing together some dough for our bagel dogs. Yes, five minutes. This isn’t a knead and mix and wait and wait type of recipe. Yep, you’re making your own yeast dough, but it comes together quickly and is so easy that my 9 year old daughter can make it. We let the dough rise while we took Mister Man to tae kwon do and Little Miss and I purchased the rest of our ingredients.
How to Make Your Own Dough
I prefer making my own dough for these cheesy stuffed bagel dogs. I know lots of people aren’t comfortable working with yeast. That’s ok. This is a good, forgiving recipe. Alternatively, you can choose to purchase premade dough and use it instead. I like this one because of its added oil that gives it a nice stretch, but it works with standard dough, too.
Add warm water and yeast to a bowl. If you know it’s good, proceed. If it’s older, let it proof to make sure it will rise. Add salt, oil, and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Stir to combine. Add more flour a half cup at a time until it comes together. You want it just barely sticky but not wet.
Once we got home, I turned on the oven and we set to work, since the dough had plenty of time to rise. And wow was there a difference! Had we been heading out for a longer time, like to the pool for the day or to Little Miss’s three hour gymnastics practice, I would have made the dough the night before and left it in the fridge after rising for a half hour. Cold dough is actually easier to work with since it isn’t quite as sticky. If you do that, make sure to keep it lightly covered so it doesn’t dry out.
How to Assemble Cheesy Stuffed Bagel Dogs
We quickly mixed together some of the softened cream cheese (I cheated and “defrosted” it in the microwave for about 30 seconds), cheese, and a touch of hot sauce in a small bowl for the inside of our cheesy stuffed bagel dogs. That done, we set up our work station and started rolling. A jelly roll pan with a silpat (or parchment paper) plus our hot dogs, our dough, and our cheese mixture, and we’re all ready.
I sprinkled a little flour over the dough to make it easier to handle, and the wee ones pulled up a small handful of dough. They used the silpat to press the dough into a rectangle roughly the size of a hot dog, adding just a tiny sprinkle of extra flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.
Add a layer of the cheese mixture and then the hot dog to the dough, making sure to leave space on each edge of the dough to seal it. The wee ones quickly figured out that they should press the hot dog into the cheese just a little so that the cheese mixture surrounds the hot dog a little more.
Pull the dough edges up and press them together to form a seal. Leaving the ends open will work fine, as the cream cheese holds the mixture in place.
Once you seal the cheesy stuffed bagel dogs, place them a couple inches apart on a jelly roll pan. Three across, just like cookies, works perfectly.
Put the pan in your preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, until they’re just starting to turn golden. Let them cool for a couple minutes before serving, as they are incredibly hot inside coming straight from the oven.
Remember what I said about making sure you have a good seal? One of the fun parts about cooking with kids is that they don’t always listen to instructions as well as you might like. Fortunately, the cheese mixture only comes out a little bit even with a broken seal. That leaves plenty of yummy goodness inside the cheesy stuffed bagel dogs
Yep, these were a hit. The cheese really elevated the taste of the bagel dogs, and the little bit of a kick from the hot sauce made them feel more grown up. Apparently I’ll be making cheesy stuffed bagel dogs often. And I wasn’t the only fan – the wee ones gave them major props, too!
- 1 c warm water, 105-115 degrees
- 1 t yeast
- ¼ t salt
- 2 T oil
- 2 c flour
- 6 Oscar Mayer all beef hotdogs
- 4 oz Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
- ½ c Kraft Naturals Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 t hot sauce
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- In a bowl, add your warm water and the yeast on top of that. Add your salt and one cup of flour and stir with a spatula. Add the remaining cup of flour and stir just until the dough comes together in a ball. It will be somewhat wet and sticky. Cover it with a towel and let it sit for 30-90 minutes on your counter to rise.
- Once your dough has mostly risen, add your softened cream cheese to a small bowl. Add the cheddar cheese and hot sauce and stir until combined.
- Set up a work station with a jelly roll pan covered with a sil pat or parchment paper. Set up the dough, cheese mixture and hot dogs next to it.
- Sprinkle a little flour over your dough to make it easier to manage. Split the dough into six equal pieces. Working on one bagel dog at a time, use your finger to push a piece of dough into a rough rectangle about the length of the hot dog.
- Spread a sixth of the cheese mixture on the rectangle, being sure to keep it away from the edges. Add the hot dog atop this and press it down gently into the cheese mixture. Pull the long edges of the dough up and around the hot dog and press the edges together to form a seal.
- Continue the process for the other five hot dogs, and place a couple inches apart on the jelly roll pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, until the dough has started to just turn golden.
- Let cool several minutes before eating to avoid burning your tongue, as the inside of the bagel dog will be very hot.
Added bonus? Getting my kids excited about helping in the kitchen means that I can entertain them essentially for free. They love helping me – and Mister Man can now make spaghetti and meatballs from scratch by himself because I let him try things. Hanging in the kitchen making a meal we’re already going to eat costs me nothing extra. I adore the bonding we share during those moments, and the fact that they’re learning some critical life skills makes me even happier.
I’ve been doing my best to find great ways to keep my kids entertained without breaking the bank this summer. I’ve had some huge successes. There’s still some summer left, and it’s never to late to start preparing for next year. This is one of those lists I’m keeping handy for anytime I start to hear “I’m booooored.”
Top 5 Ways to Entertain Kids on the Cheap in Summer
Join your local pool.
We join at the early bird rate, when the season cost is lowest. In fact, for all four of us we spend less than the cost of going five times. We pay once and can go every single day if we want. Bonus? I don’t feel guilty if we only go for an hour or two.
Find your local movie clubs.
Locally, a movie theater offers a summer movie club on Monday mornings at 10am. For $1 per movie, there are 10 weeks of big screen fun. We don’t make it to all the movies, but this was a great way to enjoy the big screen. We love the air conditioned theater at minimal cost (especially because at 10am I say no to expensive treats!)
Have playdate camps.
The wee ones have some great friends with awesome parents. We’ll trade playdates with them on a theme. I’ll cook with kids, another mom does science experiments, a third has a private pool, and so forth. The kids have a blast together, and moms get a little free time when kids are off at “camp” for the day.
Spend time at your library.
Our library has activities all summer long from a reading club to robotics labs to a “drive in movie” to dinosaur talks and more. At least a couple times a week, there is an activity at no cost that appeals to the wee ones. The library also offers activities designed for a variety of ages, so they’ll have fun as they get older.
Explore local events.
Our town has cruise nights once a week, and the wee ones love to look at the old cars. We have concerts in the park every Wednesday evening. The farmer’s market in not just our town but surrounding towns is fun to walk through. There are local events from kite day to big trucks designed for kids, as well as town celebrations and festivals. All have no cost and since they’re so different, no one complains about doing the same thing again and again.
Have you ever had cheesy stuffed bagel dogs? How do you keep your kids entertained in summer?