Monday, March 2, 2009

Home made Sloppy Joes

I think my mom used to make sloppy joes using ground beef and a can of manwich. But it makes me feel like a better mother when I create sloppy joes from scratch. This is from Rachel Ray's book, and it's always a hit with the family...

1 T olive oil
1 1/4 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. steak seasoning blend
1 medium onion
1 small red bell pepper (I've substituted carrots)
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 c. tomato sauce
2 T tomato paste

Heat oil in a large skillet, add beef and break it up. Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning, add the mix to the meat in the skillet. When the meat has browned, add onion and veggies. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Add vinegar, stirring to reduce, add Worcestershire tomato sauce and paste, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 5 more minutes.

The Split Pea Soup Experiment

I am vegetable challenged. I can't seem to figure out a way to get the green things into the kids on a regular basis. So, the other night, when my pal Alton Brown told me that split pea soup is a great way to sneak some peas into the unsuspecting little people, I thought I'd give it a shot.

Amazingly, it didn't go over quite as well here in the real world. Son #1 didn't even try it, daughter said it had a funky aftertaste, and son #2 said it was okay. Husband said it was good, but too thick. (I think he was just being nice). I, on the other hand, loved it (of course). I had some left over, and it does get thicker as it ages, to the point where I feel like I'm eating baby food for lunch. The other great thing about this recipe is that I got to use my groovy new emersion blender...

I think I've got to make it a few more times to get the kids on the right track. I'll torture them with vegetables.

Also, I realized I had to serve it with something they would eat, or they would all starve the night I made it -- so I made ham steaks and macaroni and cheese...

Here's the recipe:
Curried Split Pea Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
12 ounces dried green or yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
5 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon curry powder
Place the butter into a large (4 to 6-quart) saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and sweat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sweat for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, making certain not to allow onions or garlic to brown.

Add the peas, chicken broth and curry powder. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at a simmer until the peas are tender and not holding their shape any longer, approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Using care and a stick blender, puree the soup until the desired consistency. Watch out for hot splatters.