So it is not a party without Lit’l Smokies, right? I know here in St. Louis anything made with Lit’l Smokies seems to be a party food favorite. The folks at Hillshire Farm sent me some ideas and coupons to try them out. I played around with these the other night and wanted to share. I added in a few of my own ideas too. All of the recipes/instructions for the Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies Party Animals ideas are on their website. By the way, Hubby and T (and me) were very happy to have to eat the end results of this! Yum!
While these are great to put out as appetizers or hors d’oeuvres (Hubby pronounces that whose doovers by the way) at your holiday party or any event, think about them just for fun at home with the family too. It can be a little something different for movie night or family game night. Heck, serve them as the main course at dinner even. I remember having little smokies at breakfast even occasionally. It is nice to have a change of pace and some fun foods from time to time I think.
Since I was just playing around with different ideas I grabbed my cutting board, a pizza stone – I love baking things on the pizza stones – a package of refrigerator crescent roll dough, knife, a few other goodies, and of course a package of Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies.
So my creations did not always turn out like the pretty pictures the PR firm sent me. That’s okay though – it was still fun. This would be nice for the kiddos to help with and let them be involved. The end result is going to be pretty darn good no matter what it looks like.
First up – Reindog. The first image is the one they sent me, the next two are mine. While these look super cute in the photo they sent, they were honestly not very easy to do. You might be surprised at how hard it is to get a pretzel to break like you want it to for the antlers. Then sticking them in is not hard, but they do not want to stay. The instructions said to use mustard for eyes and ketchup for a nose – I did, but apparently my condiments just are not as pretty LOL.
Pig Tut is next. Ok, it is not holiday-ish to me (well maybe Halloween), but they were still cute. You just cut the crescent roll dough into strips and wrap it around. The directions called for egg wash and such too – but frankly that was too many steps for me. So my little Pig Tut’s are not fully covered and I did not even attempt the mustard eyes again, but for some reason they still look cute to me. Kind of like the Who’s in Whoville all tucked in bed in the Grinch Who Stole Christmas cartoon – don’t you think?
I love the name of this – Pig in Heaven! It is just Lit’l Smokies wrapped in bacon. I cut a slice of bacon in half lengthwise and then I in thirds for each of those lengths. What I found is that the bacon pieces that were more meaty – the darker color – did much better. Maybe save the fatter half of the bacon to render for another recipe or something. These took about 20 minutes at 350° F to get to this doneness, and frankly I think they could have gone a bit more. You could also add brown sugar over these for a sweet version – those are really good too and hold well on a hot plate at parties. The type of bacon you use will change the taste of these quite a bit. I think some peppered bacon might be a nice twist, but I did not have any in the house to try that.
Pigs in a Blanket Wreath – just make your regular Lit’l Smokies wrapped in a bit of crescent dough and place them in a circle. I just made a little one this night – but the bigger ones are better I think. I just wanted to give you the general idea of the wreath. You can put a small bowl of your favorite dipping sauce in the middle of the wring. I have seen folks make “bows” by cutting pieces of green and/or red bell pepper. Another option is to use fresh herbs as greenery around it – I think rosemary sprigs would be nice. And honestly, who doesn’t like a pig in a blanket? (ok – meat eaters at least). Bake them for about 11 minutes on 350°
Say Cheese! We had eaten tacos for dinner earlier this night and I had some shredded cheese leftover. Everything is better with cheese, right? So I just made a slit in the Lit’l Smokies and squished it open a bit and stuffed some of the cheese in there. They cooked about 11 minutes for it to melt and were yummy!
Some of the other ideas Hillshire Farm sent me include Pig in Bed which uses puff pastry to make a little pillow and blanket. Next is Pig in Mud which is just a splash of BBQ sauce (or any brownish colored sauce) on the bottom. The Grilled Pup is another cheesy option.
I thought the Lit’l Luau was really cute and would be tasty with sweet ‘n sour sauce but I know that would be some work considering pineapple rings are a lot larger than the Lit’l Smokies. You could try Corn Doggie and for sushi fans, the Pup-Omaki.
Required Entry: Leave a comment telling me your favorite way to eat Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies. Do you wrap them, bake them, have a favorite dipping sauce? (one entry only this method)
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Disclosure: I received free samples to try out and coupons to share with my readers. Opinions are my own.