It’s officially here. 

The air conditioner has been on for the last two days and my frizzy hair looks so bad I’ll be wearing a hat until September. 

The thought of turning on the oven makes me break out in a sweat. And, just like that my menu changes to a summer one. 

No more roasts, slow-cooked stews, or giant pots of Italian sauce that can be made into 4 different meals like lasagna. No more half-eaten bags of Cheetos or potato chips left open. I don’t even bother to make popcorn. Snack time turns into a race. Can I eat them fast enough before they go stale?

The most cooking I’ll do is boil tiny pasta rings so I can make a cold pasta salad or if I have to, I’ll bake a cake for someone’s birthday at their request. But it won’t happen without a lot of begging them to choose an ice cream cake instead.

Hello, grill. It’s been a while.

Since I saw a blog post about grilled hot dogs, I can’t stop thinking about them. The hot dogs were topped with the ingredients that would normally go on Mexican-style grilled corn. Think cotija cheese, mayo, and cayenne pepper—except they used flaming hot Cheetos instead of cayenne pepper. My gosh, these hot dogs are amazing. And I’m not a hotdog person—so that means a lot. 

You can skip the flaming hot Cheetos and use the regular ones, but these are a game-changer for my kids who like everything with a little zippity-do-da. Plus, I get to be the cool mom with frizzy hair who cooks with Flaming Hot Cheetos. 


Mexican Style Grilled Hot Dogs

adapted from Jessica Merchant

Serves 4 

4 good quality hot dogs like Nathan’s

4 hotdog buns

½ cup cotija cheese

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 cup crushed Flaming Hot Cheetos

¼ cup chives, sliced very thin


Heat gas or charcoal grill to hot. Grill hot dogs until golden brown and juices begin to bubble out of seared grill marks. 

Put each hotdog in a bun and top with a light coating of mayonnaise. Top with the cotija cheese, then with the crushed Flaming Hot Cheetos. Top with the chives and serve immediately. 


Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes by emailing her at

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