Phew, I’m so glad I can get back to thinking about food again! The semester hasn’t *quite* ended – I still have the final push these next few days – but I’ve had the time to thumb through a few cookbooks and make a grocery list in prep for Tuesday. Can you believe we haven’t been to the grocery store in nearly a month? Seriously, it got to the point where I only had time to eat things that came in convenient portable wrappers and my “breaks” meant simply changing work locations: from my office desk to home desk, to outdoor benches, to laptop in bed, to pillows on the floor…
I did manage to make one decent meal since I’ve last posted though and, believe it or not, it’s good enough to serve to others! My friend’s mother was up visiting from Colombia and in return for a lunch she had previously served me, I wanted to cook dinner for her and my friend. Asking what her mother liked, my friend simply replied “meat”…which – you probably know by now – isn’t really my strong point. I’m not a vegetarian, but I’m both picky with the meat I eat and also just pretty bad at preparing it. I’ve gotten better with chicken (bone-in dishes are foolproof!) but red meat not-so-much.
An additional challenge was that I wanted to make something stereotypically “American” for dinner and to do so without a grill is pretty tough. I finally decided to make Sloppy Joes: one of the first meals I ever learned to make for myself and have perfected to my taste without a recipe (gasp!). It filled the meat requirement and – if the mess, name, and portion size didn’t tip you off – is certainly American.
I’m always a bit apprehensive about sharing my personal recipes on this site just because, cooking beginner that I am, such recipes are always very simple. However, this is also a quick and easy dinner that my friend requested the recipe for so I figured I’d give it a shot. A quick note though: I make this the way I learned it: visually and with frequent taste-tests. I tried to gauge the amounts of ingredients the last time I made this so I could give you a better idea, but it really does just come down to preference…and a love for ketchup. 🙂
Beezer’s Sloppy Joes
* serves 4 hungry folks or 2 with plenty of leftovers *
1 lb. lean ground beef – preferably grass-fed
½ large white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 T unsalted butter
½ C ketchup (roughly)
3 T chili powder (roughly)
4 hamburger buns, well toasted
1 C shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, if desired
2) When the meat is no longer pink, add “first round” of ketchup and chili powder by roughly covering the surface area of the pan with both. Gently stir in the ketchup and spice completely and repeat. Do a taste-test after round #2 and see if you’d prefer another. I always add 3 rounds of ketchup and chili powder, but then again I really love ketchup.
3) Mound the meat mix on top of toasted buns (un-toasted buns will get soggy) and serve open-faced with shredded cheese on top. Serve immediately. Meat mix will keep in an airtight container for 3 days and also makes great closed sandwiches.
I’m very happy to say the American Sloppy Joe dinner was a success! My friend’s mom claimed she really liked it (not being able to speak Spanish, I’m going to believe her) and my friend asked for the recipe, so my humble variation on this classic kid’s meal must have been decent at least. I, for one, would eat this multiple times a week if it were any healthier, haha. I’m a big fan of ground turkey over ground beef in most cases, but I actually have yet to try it here. I guess the nostalgia of this dish makes me want to stick to beef. How about you, did you ever eat Sloppy Joes as a kid? Any unique family variations? …or have you forsaken it as yet another gross, heavy American meal? 😉
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥