Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sloppy Joes


Betty Crocker Sassy Sloppy Joes


1
pound lean ground beef
1
medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/3
cup chopped celery stalk (can be omitted)
1/3
cup chopped green bell pepper (can use chopped carrots instead)
1/3
cup ketchup (can use tomato purée instead)
1/4
cup water (omit if using tomato purée)
1
tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2
teaspoon salt
1/8
teaspoon red pepper sauce (chipotle sauce can be used instead)
6
hamburger buns, split and toasted

To see the original recipe, click on the link above.

I read this fun article yesterday (making baking playful) where Heather of wordplayhouse talks about the way her mother taught her to be precise in her baking, whereas she had developed more creative, less conventional baking methods in her early years as a mother. I could totally relate. A little of this, a pinch of that, I'm out of this, so I'll substitute this for that... And always, making a small budget work by creatively using leftovers!

Last week we had hamburgers and there was some leftover ground beef and buns. I also had leftover carrots. At around 6pm, my wheels started spinning for dinner ideas and with a suddent spark of inspiration from the above mentioned "leftover" items, I turned my attention to my Betty Crocker cookbook.

I chopped 2 medium onions and started to sweat them in a little vegetable oil. I didn't have any celery and I didn't feel like using bell peppers, so I put my Gabriela to work to peel about 7 carrots (leftover from another meal). As she peeled them I put them through a food processor and added the diced carrots to the onions.

When the onions were transparent and the carrots starting to caramelize, I added the ground beef, breaking up the meat and stiring until the meat was brown. By the way, there was a lot more carrots than meat! I added a large can of tomato purée, the Worcestershire sauce, chipotle sauce and seasoned with salt and pepper. I put a lid on, turned down the heat to minimum and let it simmer while I helped the other kiddos with homework, finished cleaning the kitchen and got the rest of dinner ready.

I served the sloppy joe mixture on the "leftover" hamburger buns and the only one who didn't love it was Gabi, because of the carrots! Ironically, she is so good at peeling them! Look at her go!


Helpful Cooking Tips: 
  1. When you start substituing items in a tried and true recipe, start by changing out one item at a time. For example, using carrots instead of bell peppers in this recipe. If you change several items at a time, you might get some surprising (and sometimes unpleasant, okay disgusting) results! 
  2. When trying new recipes, limit yourself to one new recipe per meal. Since I was experimenting with this sloppy joe recipe, it would not have been the right time to try out a new hamburger bun recipe. 
  3. Expect to learn through trial and error. Some recipes your family will eat, some they will love and beg for more, and some will just plain be inedible, yep disgusting! Don't take it personally or as a sign that you're an awful cook! Just try again next time! You might be pleasantly surprised!
Happy cooking!

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