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Monday, March 28, 2011

Quick and Easy From Scratch Sloppy Joes and Grandma Nancy's Hot German Potato Salad

Sloppy joes don't always have to mean opening a can of Manwich.  Now don't get me wrong, I think Manwich is delicious.  And it's definitely one of the best/easiest meals to make for your loved ones.  But you can wow you family with these from scratch sloppy joes when you want to do a little more than opening a can or when you want to control just what your family eats (aka reducing the use of those strange ingredients found in processed foods).  And let's face it, everyone loves a sloppy joe.  Kids love them.  Guys love them.  They're delicious.  And easy!

Oh and this isn't my recipe...  Another Rachel Ray recipe.  She's annoying.  Her recipes tend to rock.  Shoot me.

Super Sloppy Joes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (once around the pan)
1 & 1/4 cup ground beef sirloin (I just get one butcher package - they are generally around a pound and that will        
2 to 2 & 1/2 teaspoons steak seasoning blend (McCormick Montreal Seasonings work well but any will do)
1 shallot, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce (I happened to have 1 cup leftover jarred pizza sauce (Mids brand) from the night
     before and used that in conjunction with 1 cup tomato sauce and it worked very well)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 crusty rolls, split, lightly buttered and toasted
Garnishes of your choice (I like shredded cheddar, Rachel suggests tomato & pickle...  Whatever you ate growing up)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and beef to the pan, spreading it around the pan to break it up.  Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning, then add to skillet and combine with beef.  When meat has browned, add onion and red pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.  Add vinegar, stirring briefly to reduce, then add Worcestershire, tomato sauce and paste, stirring to combine.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook mixture 5 minutes longer.

I like to toast my buns (insert lewd joke here) on my electric griddle.  Preheat the thing to 350 degrees.  While your skillet is warming, melt 1/4 cup butter in the microwave.  Brush butter on buns and place face down on skillet about 5 minutes, or until brown.  You may have to press down areas in order to get toasty.

I made this recipe with Rachel's proposed Deviled Potato Salad, but I think next time I would serve with baked french fries or tweak the recipe.  They were good, but super heavy.  She also suggested serving Root Beer Floats which made my hubby super happy.  Seriously, when was the last time you had a root beer float???  Make this dinner for your family and score some huge points.  Hubby's response to my informing him we were having this meal was "I just came."  So truly, it's a crowd pleaser.  

A great side dish to serve with this (that can be made ahead of time) is my grandmother's Hot German Potato Salad.  I may have given this recipe before, but here it is again.

Grandma Nancy's Hot German Potato Salad


½ lb. Of bacon, cooked & crumbled  (I usually use about 9 slices...)
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup sliced onion
¼ cup bacon drippings
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon celery seed
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup water
1/3 cup vinegar
5 medium potatoes, cooked and cubed

Cook bacon until crisp; drain and crumble.  Saute celery and onion in bacon drippings.  Combine sugar, flour, and seasonings.  Stir into drippings. Add water and vinegar, stirring until smooth.  Bring to a boil; add potatoes and bacon.  Mix thoroughly.  Yield: 6 servings.

This is an old, classic recipe.  My hubby LOVES it every time I make it.  It smells so good on the stove.  If you want to make it ahead of time:
1. Cook bacon till crisp and save on paper towels until just before serving.  (I like to cut bacon prior to cooking in order to make it all  equally crisp).
2.  Cook dressing per recipe above, pour into microwavable dish and reserve until time to serve.
3.  Cut potatoes and store in saucepan under cold water until time to serve, up to a few hours.
4.  20 minutes prior to serving, turn on water under potatoes.  Boil potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.  Microwave sauce 2 minutes or until hot.  Mix drained potatoes with sauce and bacon and serve hot.

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