Play with your food

Cheap, fun and entertaining


Kayne Gallegos

Hotdog Octopus

Kayne Gallegos, Times Staff

Play with your food

Cheap, fun and entertaining

By Kayne Gallegos

Times Staff

I grew up poor; not that I knew it until much later in my life. My mother was, and still is, an exceptionally strong woman. Any struggles she faced with my dad, with family finances, with her job, she never really let on. My siblings and I were content and happy.

As I grew older, I still think of some small things she would do to make life so fun. And one thing that stands out in my mind is how she would encourage us to have fun at dinner. One such way was a small classic: The Hotdog Octopus.

Making it is easy, as it is just making macaroni and cheese with a few extra steps. I personally use Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but whether it’s the best or just up to nostalgia is up for debate. Use whatever you prefer. This goes for all ingredients.


  •        Six cups of water
  •        A package of cheese (provided with the macaroni noodles)
  •        A box of macaroni
  •        A quarter cup of margarine or butter
  •        A quarter cup of milk
  •        A package of hotdogs
  •        A bottle of ketchup


  •        Two good sized pots (one for hotdogs and one for the Mac and Cheese)
  •        A cutting board
  •        Knife
  •        Stirring spoon
  •        Hot pads
  •        Fork
  •        Eating utensils
  •        Stove
  •        Colander
  •        A sink
  1.      Wash your hands: Hygiene and food safety are important!
  2.      Open the box of macaroni and separate the cheese packet from the noodles
  3.      Place one of your pots on the stovetop and fill it with the six cups of water, and turn on the stovetop to high.
  4.      Once the water is boiling, add the macaroni noodles and use your stirring spoon to stir the concoction for about six or seven minutes. When the noodles get soft, you know it is just about done.
  5.      Turn off the stovetop and place the colander in the sink, and then (using the Hot pads) take the boiling pot of macaroni and drain it, pouring it into the colander.
  6.      Place the pot back onto the stove, and add the cheese packet, milk, and butter/margin into the mix. Stir thoroughly.
  7.      Once the macaroni is done, add the other pot onto the stove, add some water, and turn it on.  Once boiling, add the hotdogs. Boil them for about 5 Min.
  8.      Grab the fork and put the hotdogs onto the cutting board.
  9.      Cut the hotdogs in only half way across horizontally: roll it half way around and do it again. Always cut away from your hand so you don’t cut yourself!
  10.  The hotdog should have four little “tentacles” that you can spread out to make them stand up Use ketchup to give them faces, then survey up the macaroni with the octopuses on top.


It is cheap, fast and just a little cheesy, but even now this kind of thing brings me joy.