SECTIONS
What would you like to know?
Share this Story
/

Take your bento box to the next level with 3 cute hot dog animals

Diana Johnson is a professional recipe developer, food photographer, freelance writer and cooking instructor. She's also a mother who believes that kids can love healthy food, and that no child should have to experience food insecurity. ...

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Making a fancy bento takes a lot of time, but you can easily turn a simple hot dog into a penguin, elephant or snail to add a special touch to your child's lunch box.

The best part of these little bento animals? They don't require any special tools, and each one can be created in five minutes or less. Each animal is made with a cooked hot dog of your choice. I prefer organic beef dogs, and I boil mine, as that keeps the hot dogs nice and plump.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

For the penguin, start by cutting a hot dog in half.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Cut a slightly concave triangle out of the bottom cut end to make the feet. Then cut 2 slits, 1 on each side, for the wings. You can do this to both halves.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Boil the penguins for about a minute. This will make the feet and wings curl out a bit. You can use scissors to clean them up if you need to.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Cut an oval of white cheese for the belly. I like to use mozzarella or Babybel, as both are soft and pliable. Use a little dab of cream cheese to stick it to the center of the penguin.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Poke a small slit above the oval, and insert a little triangular piece of carrot. Use scissors to cut out 2 tiny dots of seaweed for the eyes. They should stick to the hot dog on their own. You can repeat these steps with the other hot dog half to make 2 penguins.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

To make the elephant, start by cutting 1/3 off a hot dog. The small end will be the head.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Cut 2 slits from the center of the head down to the cut end. These will form the trunk.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Cut off the excess hot dog on the bottom half of the head.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Now slice 2 thin circles from your remaining 2/3 of hot dog. These will be the ears.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Then slice the end off the remaining 2/3 of hot dog. This will be the elephant's body.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Add detail to the elephant head by using 2 dots of cream cheese and 2 tiny circles of seaweed. I apply these with a toothpick and then use the toothpick to wipe up any cream cheese smears.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Break the ends off a toothpick, and use them to attach the ears to the back of the head.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Use a toothpick broken in half to attach the body to the head. Make sure to warn your child that they need to remove the toothpick before eating! You could also use a piece of uncooked spaghetti instead of a toothpick.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

For the snail, slice a hot dog in half.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Cut a 1/2-inch circle off one end. The circle will be used for the center of the snail shell.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Stand the remaining piece of that half on its cut end. Slice downward at an angle. This will be the body.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Slice the bottom off (lengthwise) from the other half of the hot dog.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Place it cut side down, and make slits about every 1/4 inch, making sure to not slice all the way through.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

The last cut before assembly is to slice the bottom third off the center piece for the snail shell so that it is a little more than a half circle.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

To assemble the snail, use a broken-off toothpick to attach the center of the shell to the body. Slide the toothpick in at an angle so it pokes into the wider part of the body.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Fan out the shell, and attach it to the center using broken pieces of toothpick. It works best to place a toothpick piece at each end and another in the middle. You might need to cut a segment or 2 off the shell to make it fit well. As with the elephant, warn your child to remove the toothpicks before eating.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Poke 2 little pieces of spaghetti into the the snail's head to make antennae.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

To make the eyes, use a toothpick to apply a dab of cream cheese and a small dot of seaweed. You can also use the toothpick to wipe off any cream cheese smears.

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Which hot dog animal is your favorite?

1. Bento hot dog penguin

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Makes 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 hot dog, boiled
  • 1 Babybel cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • 1 baby carrot
  • Seaweed

Instructions:

  1. Cut the hot dog in half.
  2. Slice a slightly concave triangle out of the bottom cut end to make the feet, and cut 2 slits, 1 on each side, for the wings. Repeat with the second half.
  3. Boil the penguins for about a minute. This will make the feet and wings curl out a bit.
  4. Cut ovals of white cheese for the belly, and use a little dab of cream cheese to stick them to the centers of the penguins.
  5. Poke a small slit above the oval, and insert a little triangular piece of carrot.
  6. Use scissors to cut out 2 tiny dots of seaweed for the eyes. They should stick to the hot dog on their own.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the other hot dog half to make 2 penguins.

2. Bento hot dog elephant

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Makes 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 hot dog, boiled
  • Cream cheese
  • Seaweed

Instructions:

  1. Cut 1/3 off the hot dog. The small end will be the head.
  2. Slice 2 slits from the center of the head down to the cut end. These will form the trunk.
  3. Cut off the excess hot dog on the bottom half of the head, being careful to leave the trunk intact.
  4. Slice 2 thin circles of hot dog from your remaining 2/3. These will be the ears.
  5. Cut the end off the remaining 2/3. This end will be the elephant's body.
  6. Use a toothpick to apply 2 dots of cream cheese and 2 tiny circles of seaweed for eyes.
  7. Break the ends off a toothpick, and use them to attach the ears to the back of the head.
  8. Use a toothpick broken in half to attach the body to the head.

3. Bento hot dog snail

Delight the kids with these adorable creatures you can make from hot dogs

Makes 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 hot dog, boiled
  • Cream cheese
  • Seaweed
  • 1 uncooked spaghetti noodle

Instructions:

  1. Slice the hot dog in half.
  2. Cut a 1/2-inch circle off one end. The circle will be for the center of the snail shell.
  3. Stand the remaining piece of that half on its cut end. Slice downward at an angle to form the body.
  4. Slice the bottom off (lengthwise) the other half of the hot dog.
  5. Place it cut side down, and make slits about every 1/4 inch, making sure to not slice all the way through.
  6. Slice the bottom third off the center piece for the snail shell so that it is a little more than a half circle.
  7. Use a broken-off toothpick to attach the center of the shell to the body. Slide the toothpick in at an angle so it pokes into the wider part of the body.
  8. Fan out the shell, and attach it to the center using broken pieces of toothpick, placing a toothpick piece at each end and another in the middle.
  9. Poke 2 little pieces of spaghetti into the the snail's head to make antennae.
  10. Use a toothpick to apply a dab of cream cheese and a small dot of seaweed for eyes on each side of the snail's head.

More creative lunch ideas

Crab sandwich
Tuna sushi hand roll
Fancy sandwich skewers

Comments
Hot
New in Food & Recipes
Close

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!