Making Tony Packos Chili Dogs

The only thing most people know about my home town of Toledo, Ohio comes from MASH. That series starred a guy named Jamie Farr who, aside from Katie Holmes and Adrianne Palicki is probably the most famous person from there. His character, Clinger, was also from Toledo and therefore he represented his hometown by way of Mud Hens and Tony Packos references. The former is our minor league baseball team and the latter is a local restaurant that specializes in hot dogs and pickls. In fact, you might have seen the restaurant on food shows because they have any visiting celebrities sign a hot dog bun and then said buns get put on display.

To be honest, I don’t have a long history with the restaurant, at least not when I lived in town. I think I only ever went to one of the restaurants once and then they opened one in a local supermarket called Andersons that I went to a few times. But, when I met my future wife and she told her parents where I was from, her dad got excited because he’s a big MASH fan. As such, I started giving them Tony Packos pickle sets. That’s really where I discovered how tasty their pickled products are. I’m a fan of their dills but also their banana peppers.

Anyway, when my parents visited for Second Christmas, they brought with them two packages of Tony Packos hot dogs and two cans of their chili. After they went home, Em and I wanted to just have a relaxed dinner in, so I popped open the cans of chili (probably could have gotten by with just one in retrospect), warmed them up on the stove and then got a pot of water boiling for the dogs. I also got the steamer basket ready and put the buns in there. Unfortunately, I put just a little too much water in the pan and those buns got ruined. We had more, so those went back into the basket with less water with a lid and we were good to go.

The chili is actually spicier than I remember, but I thought the Hungarian hot dogs and chili popped so well with some basic yellow mustard. I probably should have cut up a few onions and mixed those in there too, but that’ll be next time. If you’re curious about trying Tony Packos yourself, either go to Toledo — they could use your tourism bucks — or click that link above and you can order a ton of stuff, including these handy dandy gift packs (one even comes with a Mud Hens hat!).

Cooking Food Network’s Chicken Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash is a dish that I don’t have a lot of history with, but one I still enjoy. I don’t think my mom made it when I was growing up, but when I was in college I joined a fraternity with an awesome cook named Sharon who would make it every couple weeks. When I was looking around on FootNetwork.com for recipes to try and saw this one for the Food Network Magazine’s Chicken Paprikash I figured I’d give it a whirl. I mean, it’s basically Beef Stroganoff with chicken, bacon and some different spices, so I’m all over that.

I didn’t get a picture of the final dish, but I prepared egg noodles to serve this over. While the water heated I got bacon cooking in my Dutch oven and then added in the onion and red pepper. After that the chicken got added to the mix along with the spice mixture (paprika, marjoram) and flour. The broth then gets added to the Dutch oven and you simmer for 10 minutes.

There’s some more covering and uncovering and temperature changing, but the next major step is adding sour cream and parsley (I didn’t have fresh, so I went with dried). Swirl that all together, drain the pasta and mix it all together. I really enjoyed this recipe and would be interested in checking out some variations. Like I said above, it’s hard to go wrong with me when you’re serving up bacon, sour cream and a gravy-like substance over noodles.