Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A favorite dish from childhood - revisited & revised

I grew up in South Jersey, just 20 minutes from Philadelphia. Land of the steak sandwich (wiz or no wiz?), hoagie and definitely the "sloppy joe." I often remember sloppy joes being served in the cafeteria at school. I'm sure they used a commerical mix like Manwich. But this fantastic recipe is from Weight Watchers - and it might be the most delicious recipe in their whole cookbook. I lost my cookbook a while ago and wasn't able to recreate this recipe from memory. But thanks to another blogger (foodfashionista.blogspot.com) I found it again and made it the other night for my husband. This recipe contains a lot less sugar (sugar mainly from the ketchup) and a great deal more veggies. Next time I'm putting in diced carrots. Oh, and thank you to Food Fashionista for suggesting another way to eat this if I wanted to lay off the bread. She suggested stuffing a mixture of quinoa and sloppy joe mix into a red pepper and baking in the oven at 450 F for 15 minutes. The quinoa gets a little toasty and nutty and the red pepper shell bursts with flavor. I'm filing this meal under the "Passover" files, too.

2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion(s), chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
1 medium bell pepper(s), chopped
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
20 oz canned crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

Heat oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and bell pepper and sauté until tender, 3 minutes. Add turkey and sauté until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks, 5 minutes. Add chili powder, basil, salt, black pepper and cayenne; stir to coat. Add crushed tomatoes, ketchup and mustard; mix well. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Stir in corn and simmer 2 minutes to heat through.

  • In the past, I've made this dish with ground turkey meat. But a friend reminded me this week that eating red meat from time to time is a good idea. Just by looking at my fingernails, I can tell I'm low on zinc (white spots visible on the nail.) So, I went out and purchased organic, very lean ground beef (93%) for this recipe.
  • Again, I will tell you that the vegetable chopper I purchased from Williams Sonoma for $30 has dramatically changed my prep time. And it's fun! I chopped the onion, celery and pepper into tiny cubes, all exactly the same shape. This looks pretty, but also allows the veggies to cook evenly.
  • I used Birds Eye Sweet Corn in a bag and steam it. The corn is so crispy and delicious. Much better than any canned corn that I've purchased in the past.
  • Usually when we make sloppy joes, I'm always trying to think how to serve it. With whole wheat buns? Toasted oatmeal bread? In a spinach torilla? This time, I nixed all the bread products and made a side of quinoa. Quinoa needs to be rinsed in water first, then I made it with chicken broth. I usually don't love quinoa, but truth be told I haven't experimented with it much. But the sloppy joe and quinoa mix was a hit. My husband and I thought it was a fantastic way to enjoy the nutritional benefits of quinoa while savoring the flavors of this sloppy joe recipe. I highly recommend this combination.


Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home said...

That sounds like a great dish! Personally, we love quinoa, and I'm always excited to find interesting ways to add more of it to our diet. We'll be trying this soon!

Thanks for linking and sharing your recipe!


Josie said...

I just made a great quinoa salad and reviewed it on my blog. I do like the idea of mixing it with a ground meat dish in the future... thanks for suggesting! (I feel like quinoa can be a little bland sometimes so I like mixing it with stronger flavors)

Cate said...

Mmm, sloppy joes is a great go-to throw-together meal. I love mine on a toasted bun with melty cheese. Will definitely try your version.