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Win This Big ‘Ole Applegate Weinervention Sweepstakes to Save Your Hot Dog Lovin’ Soul

This sweepstakes is done in partnership with Applegate, but is not sponsored. We were provided complimentary product for review, but were not obligated to enjoy the ever loving heck out of it. Since we did, they said we could share the love with you.

kacy applegate

Hot dogs. Bare feet. Summertime. It’s a perfect recipe for the best three months of the year.

Unfortunately, the recipe in most hot dogs looks more like the seedy bowels of a dark, cold winter. Who knows what is actually in those things?!

But the folks at Applegate get it right. Super right. It’s like they invented the hot dog. Sadly, they did not. They did, however, make them so much better. Like way better, better enough that you won’t cringe watching your kids bite in to them.

applegate hot dogs

“Looking more like strawberry frosting than blended meat and bone bits…” writes Treehugger about what’s actually inside the standard hot dog, “the country’s most beloved tube of meat.” There’s mechanically separated meat (or pink slime) from a few animals that could include cow, pig, chicken, or turkey. Don’t forget the corn syrup, flavor additives, tons of sodium, and a whole host of other preservatives and the like. Yuck.

Applegate Naturals Beef Hot Dogs are “cleaner weiners.” They have a super simple list of uncured beef, water, and six seasonings. That’s it! Even my four-year-old can digest this list (and so can her tummy!). They’re tasty and juicy, the way a hot dog should be. They also don’t have that typical gnarly hot dog smell, phew! We felt better eating these since they weren’t stocked with nasty junk.
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The Cleaner Wiener: Our Quintessential Applegate Recipe Collection

While we respect and often adhere to both vegetarian and vegan pursuits alike, we’re not afraid to celebrate our inner carnivore, too. Just as veggos demand the most sustainable and healthy ingredients for plant-based meals, we share the same mentality when it comes to our meats. This summer, we showcased healthful, meatful recipes, and a few of those dishes were among our most popular of the season. Some were variations on classics, others came from left field in a “did they really do that with a donut?” kind of way. But the one thing our favorite carnivorous dishes had in common was Applegate’s meats.

Their bacon is slow cooked, their chicken sausage is savory and well seasoned, and their deli meats are lean and low in sodium. Most of their meat is organic and natural, and the overwhelming majority of the Applegate product line is antibiotic-, nitrate- and nitrite-free. Applegate sources humanely-raised animals and even feature some gluten-free products, because, of course they do. Below, we’ve trotted out our quintessential Applegate themed recipe collection, all in the hopes that you too will open the gate and enjoy their clean meat. It’s why their current campaign talks about cleaner wieners!

Here are five recipes we created featuring Applegate’s more sustainable meat products.

bayou kabobs

Bayou Kabobs with Applegate Andouille Sausage

Channel Bayou vibes with these succulent Applegate Andouille sausage kabobs. Known for their “cleaner weiner” chicken sausages, Applegate is committed to sourcing organic, hormone-free, and humanely-raised animals. This means their meat is lean, low-fat, and nitrate- and nitrite-free. The Andouille sausage has the perfect amount of spicy bite, and the kabob only contains three other ingredients: plump shrimp, crisp bell peppers, and sweet yellow onions. Fire up the grill one last time and get your Cajun on.


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Donuts for Dinner! Try Our Hearty Blue Cornbread Donut Stuffed with Andouille Sausage and Peppers

Earlier this summer, I decided to challenge our very own recipe maven, DIR editor Brandi Koskie. It seemed she could take any decadent food of the moment or classic dish and make it healthy without sacrificing its original deliciousness. Anyone who can produce a healthy tailgate menu void of gut-busters is special, so I asked her to do the same thing with state fair food, and she delivered. First with an ooey-gooey bacon, egg, and cheese stuffed donut under 200 calories, and now this:

Andouille 1

Meet the Blue Cornbread Donut Stuffed with Andouille Sausage and Peppers. All the novelty and tastiness of the trending donut sandwich, but with a mere 186 calories per serving. Ours is five times healthier. The Dunkin’ Donuts ham, egg, and donut-for-buns sandwich has nearly twice the calories with 360. Starbucks offers a sausage sandwich too—albeit with traditional buns—but it still clocks in at 500 calories.

And then there’s the “Luther Burger,” more coloquially known as the Krispy Kreme Burger, that you’ve seen peddled at state fairs and on Paula Deen’s discontinued show. It’s a cheeseburger with two glazed donuts for buns and normally contains anywhere from 800 to 1,500 calories thanks to the burger and fried eggs. Our donut sammie has no glaze, but its got the sweetness. Let’s talk about the blue cornbread.
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The Ultimate Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Stuffed Doughnut for Awesome Mornings

Doughnuts have been stuffed with chocolate, jelly, and cream for as long as doughnuts have been baked. They’ve even been used as buns to hold burgers with bacon and fried eggs. None of those are really great for you. In fact, we named that 1500-calorie Krispy Kreme doughnut burger by Paula Deen one of the worst things she ever did to food.

bacon egg cheese stuffed doughnut

But we liked her innovative culinary spirit. We liked where her head was, and we also just like doughnuts like everyone else. We kept the eggs, bacon, and ditched the glaze and beef. What we whipped up, and can’t wait for you to try, is the ultimate in breakfast sandwiches – bacon, eggs, and cheese all stuffed inside our lighter cake doughnut.

It’s the Ultimate Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Stuffed Doughnut.

It’s awesome.

It’s savory. It’s salty. It’s a little sweet.

It’s also LESS than 200 calories. One whole doughnut weighs in at 194 calories.

It’s. Amazing.

cheese doughnut


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The Best Club Sandwich Ever is Made with Cleaner, Fresher Ingredients You Can Feel Good About

If I see a club sandwich on a menu, I’m ordering it. End of story. No matter how you stack it, I rarely find a sandwich that has a better combination of ingredients that meld so perfectly together. That first bite through the crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, sweet ham, and salty bacon sends the endorphin center of my brain to the realm of utter satisfaction.

best club sandwich

Eating these sandwiches at a restaurant is anyone’s gamble. It’s all pretty processed, and I know that. The salt is higher than it should be, the meat came from God knows where, and all in all it’s never quite as good as anything I make at home. So I try to take my own sandwich makings to the office to build my own for lunch. It’s always a far better option than what the corner deli is dishing up.

club sandwich cut

That better option, for me, is Applegate. I’ve been a long-time consumer and fan of their cleaner approach to meat products. How could anyone not be? They source humanely-raised animals to craft quality meat products that are organic and hormone free. The sandwich meats are tender,  juicy, and never overwhelmingly salty. For pre-cut sandwich meat, it’s truly as good as it gets.
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