One thing my family has always loved are frankfurters. Also known as hot dogs or wieners, they can make for a very economically family-friendly meal! When I was growing up, every Friday night in our home was Hot Dog Night! My mom turned making hot dogs into an art form and let me tell you, I am not kidding when I say there used to be a line around the block when it came to kids wanting an invite to Hot Dog Night at our house!
Frankfurters can get somewhat of a bad rap and I am not sure that its entirely deserved. Certainly, they are not something you should be eating on a regular basis, but once in a while they can make for a delicious option! Children and grownups both love them.
They are also a wonderful ingredient to keep in your freezer, ready to pull out at a moments notice. You do not even need to thaw them prior to cooking. They are actually already cooked anyways, so they really only need heating up.
This delicious casserole is one that has come in very handy during this time of quarantine and lock down. Not only does it use simple ingredients, but it is extremely easy to make. I know I say that all the time, but it really is a fact!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO MAKE FRANK & POTATO BAKE
As I said, you only need a few amazingly simple ingredients to make this incredibly delicious family favourite casserole!
|2 (14 ½-oz) tins of cooked potatoes, drained and rinsed (alternately you can use the equivalent in cooked, peeled and cubed potato (about 4 cups)|
|1 tin of condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted|
|1 soup can (see above) of plain unsweetened full fat yogurt|
|1 medium onion, peeled and chopped|
|1 TBS butter|
|Salt and black pepper to taste|
|2 ½ cups of grated strong cheddar cheese (I use a mix of dyed and white)|
|1 package of smoked frankfurters (12 in a pack) cut in half and scored on the diagonal|
As you can see, there is nothing too out of the ordinary here. You should have the tinned ingredients already in your larder and the remaining ingredients in your refrigerator/freezer and root vegetable bin.
HANDY HINTS & TIPS FOR MAKING FRANK & POTATO BAKE
- I always keep tins of cooked new potatoes in my food storage, but you do not really need to use them if you already have a bag of potatoes in your root vegetable bin. Simply wash your unpeeled potatoes and place them into a pot of lightly salted water to cover. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, and then cook until the potatoes are fork tender. This can take anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. Drain them well and then pop them into the refrigerator to chill. Once chilled, peel and then cut into cubes. It is much easier to peel the potatoes if they are cold. They also cube better. I will often do this a day ahead of time if I know I am going to be making this casserole.
- If you are using tinned potatoes, open and drain them well in a colander. Rinse them under running cold water and then drain again. Pat them dry before use. You do not want any extra water to dilute your sauce.
- I always keep a variety of condensed soups in my food storage. I will have a variety of tomato, cream of mushroom, cream of chicken and cream of celery. You will find that if you have these you are never far from having a handy sauce to use for a variety of casseroles, etc.
- If you really cannot abide using canned condensed soups, you can create a simple cream sauce to use in its place. Simply melt 2 TBS of butter in a saucepan. Whisk in 2 TBS of all purpose flour. Cook for about a minute or so then whisk in a mixture of 1 cup o f milk and 1 cup of chicken broth. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens. Cook for a minute or so longer on a low simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with some salt and pepper.
- I always use full-fat plain yogurt for this recipe. I have never tried it with low fat, or no fat so cannot say for sure if it will split or not if you use the lower fat versions.
- I like to use strong cheddar cheese as it has the nicest flavour. You get more bang for your buck when it comes to strong cheddar. A milder cheese will not have quite the same flavour impact and you will find yourself needing to use more to get a good result.
- I always like to grate my own cheese. I do not recommend using pre-grated cheese for anything that you are going to be cooking. Pre-grated cheese has things added to it so that it flows easier and does not clump together. I do not want to hamper the quality and integrity of my casserole by adding these into the mix. It may be just a Frank & Potato Bake, but I still want it to be the best Frank & Potato Bake.
- This casserole can be assembled completely the day before you want to serve it. Simple cover tightly and place in the refrigerator, removing it about half an hour prior to baking it.
HOW TO MAKE FRANK & POTATO BAKE
This is such a simple casserole that a child (or a husband) can easily make it. You do not really need any special skills or knowledge. Children love to cook and help out in the kitchen. They will really enjoy helping you stir everything together, and the fact is, if they have participated in helping you to prepare a meal, the more likely it is that they will want to eat it when it is done.
You can begin by preheating your oven to 375*F. Butter a shallow baking dish large enough to hold at least 6 cups of food and set it aside on a baking tray. (I like to use baking trays so that I can slide casseroles in and out of the oven much easier and more safely.)
Peel your onion and then chop it into a medium dice. The easiest way to do this is to cut your onion in half horizontally and then place both halves, cut side down on your cutting board.
Using a sharp knife cut perpendicular cuts, spaced about 1/3 of an inch apart down the length of the onion and then, holding the slices carefully together, cut crosswise, again spacing the cuts about 1/3 of an inch apart. Presto! Your onion is diced!
I cook my onion before using it in this casserole. To do that I pop the diced onion into a microwave safe bowl, along with 1 TBS of butter, cover the bowl with plastic cling film and cook it on high in the microwave for about a minute. If you don’t have a microwave, you can simply sauté the onion in the butter in a small skillet until softened. Do not allow it to brown.
While the onion is cooking you can chop your potatoes. If you are using potatoes you have cooked yourself peel them first. I like to cut my potatoes into ½ inch cubes for this casserole.
Place your cubed potatoes into a bowl and stir in the softened onions and butter. Season them to taste with salt and pepper. Remember that soup and cheese are somewhat salty ingredients, so be judicious with the salt.
You can always add more salt later if you need to. Add the undiluted tin of soup and then, using the empty tin, measure out an equal amount of plain unsweetened full fat yogurt. Stir both of these into the potato and onion mixture.
Grate your cheese (s). I use a mix of dyed and white strong cheddars.
Stir three fourths of the grated cheese into the potato mixture, combining everything together thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole dish in an even layer, smoothing it out level when you have finished adding it all.
Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese evenly over top.
You now need to prepare the frankfurters for placing on top of the casserole. I like to cut them in half crosswise and then make diagonal cuts, about 1/8 of an inch into the frankfurters along the length of each half.
As you can see, it is not necessary to thaw them out first if you are starting with frozen frankfurters. They will thaw out perfectly in the oven. I like to use all-beef frankfurters, but that is a personal choice. You can use which ever ones are your favourites!
Lay the prepared frankfurters on top of the casserole dish on top of the cheese, placing them in a decorative and evenly spaced manner. You can now pop the casserole dish into the oven and get on with any sides that you might want to serve along with this tasty creation! The casserole will be done in about 45 minutes time.
When done it should be bubbling around the edges and the frankfurters should be golden brown. You will need to let it sit for about 10 minutes before dishing up as it will be really hot, and hot cheese burns.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH FRANK & POTATO BAKE
This really is a hearty and substantial casserole dish so you will want to keep any dishes served on the side with it light. My family always enjoys it when I serve some kind of salad and crusty rolls or bread on the side. I recommend a salad of mixed greens and vegetables. Chopped lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, scallions and sliced radishes are a good mix.
You can also make a nice salad by leaving out the tomatoes and adding thawed frozen peas and some chopped red onion rather than the scallions. A simple dressing is best. I whisk together about 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 2 TBS of olive oil, 1 TBS apple cider vinegar, a pinch of sugar, some salt and pepper and some dried dill weed for a simple, yet very tasty dressing. You can taste and adjust the seasonings and amount of vinegar according to your family’s likes or dislikes. You can also use fresh lemon juice in the place of the vinegar.
If your family is not that into salad, you could make a simple coleslaw, or you can serve their favourite cooked vegetables. Peas and carrots would go very well on the side of this, as would broccoli or corn niblets!
What is for sure is that your family will all enjoy this simple and hearty casserole. I guarantee it will go onto their favourites list and it will be something they request fairly often!
- 2 (14 ½ oz) tins of potatoes, drained and cubed
- (alternately you can use 4 cups of boiled, peeled and cubed potato)
- 1 tin of condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 1 ½ cups of plain yogurt
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- Knob of butter (about 1 TBS)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 ½ cups of grated cheese (you can use all cheddar or a mix)
- 1 package of frankfurters, cut in half and scored diagonally
- Preheat the oven to 375*F. Butter a shallow 1 quart baking dish. Set aside.
- Put the onions into a small microwave safe bowl along with the knob of butter. Cover with cling film and cook on high for about a minute.
- Dump the potatoes into a bowl. Season lightly with salt and black pepper.
- Add the cooked onion, soup, yogurt and about 3/4 of the cheese. Spread this mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Cover with the remaining cheese.
- Place the scored frankfurters evenly over top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until the frankfurters are golden brown, and the casserole is bubbling around the edges and heated through.
- Allow to stand for 10 minutes prior to serving.
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.