Thursday, February 1, 2007


I’ve decided that from time to time, I’m going to post a recipe. I love to cook. For some reason, I don’t say that a lot even though it’s true. In a playgroup I once belonged to, every other woman said she didn’t like to cook and avoided it whenever possible. I felt shy about saying that I do like to cook, but I’m saying it now: I like to cook. I like watching the Food Network and actually trying some of the recipes. I read cookbooks for fun. I covet everything in the Williams-Sonoma catalogue. But most of all, I love preparing something tasty, even if it’s far from gourmet, and bringing a smile to the faces of the people I love.

What I don’t love about cooking is the cleanup. If I were rich, I wouldn’t hire a cook; I’d hire someone to do the dishes. When my kids get old enough, this will be one of their mandatory chores. I think I’ve done my share of dishes.

All that said, this is one of our family’s favorite meals. My husband is always happy to hear that we’re having homemade sloppy joes. I didn’t even like sloppy joes (made from a can) until I tried this recipe. It’s easy and comes together in 30 minutes or less. I will confess, though: it’s Rachael Ray’s recipe and I didn’t do a thing to change it, because we like it exactly this way.

Super Sloppy Joes

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
¼ c. brown sugar
2 tsp—1 Tbsp. steak seasoning (such as McCormick or Emeril’s)
1 med. onion, chopped
1 sm. red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 c. tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 kaiser rolls (This is important—they are much better than hamburger buns)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add meat and stir it as it browns to break it up. Add brown sugar and steak seasoning; stir to combine. When the meat has browned, add onions and red peppers to the skillet. Reduce heat and add red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Cook mixture for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, split and butter (you can use lowfat margarine—I use I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter) the Kaiser rolls and toast under the broiler. This makes the dish! Spoon the meat on the buns and serve.

Serve with chips, oven fries, or potato salad. When you can get really good ripe tomatoes, a slice of tomato is excellent on these. (I can’t believe I’m saying that—I used to hate raw tomatoes.)

Oh, and an extra tip: I used to hate buying tomato paste and throwing away 2/3 of the can every time. Even though it’s only 50 cents or something, it bugged me. So I read about this and it works: Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and spoon out extra tomato paste in tablespoonfuls. Put in the freezer. Put the frozen paste in a freezer Ziploc and when you need a tablespoon of tomato paste, pop one of these into the pot straight from the freezer.

So that was Alison’s housewifely tip of the day. Don’t expect a post on how to keep your bathroom tile mold-free, though.

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