Unless you are fortunate enough to have a son like one of our great nephews when he was young, you are going to end up with extra hot dog buns from time to time. When Nate was about nine, he stopped eating most things. Meat was especially out of the question and he had never liked vegetables anyway.
What he did like was hot dog buns covered with ketchup, and that’s what he ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He drank milk, so his diet included four of the five food groups: grain (flour), legumes (soybean oil), fruit (tomatoes) and milk. His parents took this dietary phase with equanimity, and after a year or two Nate one day decided to add white chicken to his list of acceptable foods which had already grown to include hamburger buns and plain white bread.
When I heard of this preference for white foods, I wondered if he had been mistakenly swapped with a Scandinavian baby when he was discharged from the nursery. If he had insisted on mayonnaise with the buns, that might have been the explanation, but his preference for ketchup ruled that out.
Anyway, Nate’s mother did not have to worry about what to do with leftover hot dog buns. With Nate around, there never were any leftover buns. He was a growing boy with a healthy appetite.
However, like many people we know, we often end up with extra hot dog buns. We usually buy three dogs at a meat market or one pound packages of hot dogs at the supermarket. The packages we buy today have two separate pouches with four dogs in each, so we can toss one in the freezer.
Buns, alas, are always sold in packages of eight or ten. One can freeze buns of course, but they take up lots of space in the freezer and are often forgotten by the husband who is sent out to buy hot dogs for supper. Contrary to what one might suppose, frozen hot dog buns do not last forever. They really are not very good even after only six or seven months.
Here is a quick way to turn those extra hot dog buns into a delicious appetizer that you and your friends will enjoy.
Hot dog buns
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350º and melt a tablespoon of butter.
Separate and brush the buns with the melted butter and put them on a plate or other work surface. Sprinkle them with garlic powder, basil, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with a little grated Parmesan cheese and finish with a light sprinkling of oregano.
Put the buns on a baking sheet and bake them for about twelve minutes or until the cheese begins to brown.
Serve the buns warm from the oven.
NOTES: You can substitute olive oil for the butter. There are of course other ways to use the extra buns. For instance, you can dry them and make bread crumbs to top your next casserole or add to the hamburger when you make a meatloaf, but you won’t have any leftovers if you make garlic buns.