26 December 2008

Piglets in a Blanket

We have returned home after a whirlwind of travel delays over the holiday. While we did get a little restless living out of a suitcase for nearly two weeks, we were fortunate to have the chance to spend so much time with our family and friends. One afternoon my mom and I made loads of fingerfoods to have on hand while a few dozen of family members came by to visit. We made a cheese plate with brie and blue, mini roast beef and cheddar sandwiches with horseradish and artichoke dip.

But knowing we'd have kids among the mix, I wanted to make sure there was something on the table they'd enjoy. I immediately thought of a favorite in our house, Pigs in a Blanket. It's a meal that, of course, isn't on the diet menu, but, wow, it's heavenly. I make biscuit dough and wrap it around a hot dog sliced down the center and stuffed with cheese. On a really good (or bad, depending on your perspective) day, I'll also make my mac' 'n' cheese to go alongside.

Of course mini-versions of everyday favorites are becoming poplar, perhaps thanks to this year's foodie fascination with all things Spanish, including tapas. It seems sliders, the cute name for mini burgers, have been the front runner even making it on to family chain restaurant menus.

I had a fabulous time making mini Pigs in a Blanket when I enlisted my 5-year-old niece, Lily, as my sous. We used the standby Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough instead of homemade biscuit dough. The taste is just as good, and it is actually much easier for little hands to work with. We served ours on a tray with small dishes of ketchup and mustard for dipping.

The only trouble was that I couldn't make enough. About 50 pieces disappeared shortly after the tray hit the buffet table. It turns out it wasn't just the kids who loved them!

Piglets in a Blanket

1 can Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough
1 12-ounce package mini sausages such as Lil' Smokies
Condiments for dipping

Unroll the Crescent roll dough on a lightly floured surface. Pinch together the pre-cut sections of dough to make one large, uncut piece. With a rolling pin, roll the dough slightly thinner. Using a knife or pizza cutter (the good option for kids), cut strips approximately one inch in length. Then, cut the inch-wide strips into pieces about 3 inches in length. Cut one test strip and wrap around a sausage to make sure the size is correct.

Continue cutting dough into strips. Wrap each sausage in the dough, leaving the ends uncovered. Place on cookie sheets, seam-side down.

Bake according to package directions, cutting the time down to account for the small pieces. Dough should be firm and slightly golden when done. Serve warm or room temperature.

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